Jewellery in India and among Indian women has been a point of pride as well as necessity. To keep up with the evolving generations, even Jewellery market has evolved. Long back there used to be small shops selling jewellery. Then there came the Mughals and other empires that developed the art of Jewellery making in their empire. All sorts of jewellery were made gold, silver, pearls, kundan and soon. But these were the days when only real metals were old. Nobody at that time had heard about the word artificial. Then came the Young India and with it came the word artificial. Almost everything could be imitated and made artificial and so these too were sold along the real ones.
To take a leap further, with the advent of Smart phones and high speed internet connectivity, Indian women became internet savvy, and so jewellery got introduced on online portals. People are becoming accustomed to browsing and shopping just on a click, clothes electronics goods, and now they have lowered their inhibitions for online jewellery shopping as well. Of course, these online stores had to offer best service and other incentives to divert attention of buyers from local stores to online stores.
Today, these online portals have expertise in solitaires, studded jewellery, gold bangles and coins, offer best customer service to keep the customers satisfied as well as offer incentive in form of discounts or gifts. As most of these stores do not have to maintain an infrastructure, the cost saved on rental and operations is converted into discounts and gifts for their customers. Apart from discounts, one more factor which attracts buyers to online vendors is diversity in the designs offered.
Online jewellery stores also offer a wide variety of designs, more than retailers, they claim. Reason: Online jewellers work on virtual inventory, whereas a retail outlet faces limitations in terms of stocking. And, many update the virtual inventory every hour. It is called virtual inventory because online jewellers do not store jewellery. As a result, they display most designs their dealers offer. When an order is placed, the delivery boy picks it up from the dealer and ships it to the customer. “When it comes to diamond jewellery priced below Rs 25,000, the choice is very restrictive at retail stores. Most stores invariably have an inventory of 50 solitaires. We offer 1 lakh solitaires at any given point of time,” says Mithun Sacheti, CEO of Caratlane.com.
Not every purchase is perfect. Sometimes, due to mismatch in size or color of gems, a customer is not entirely satisfied with the jewellery. In such case, the product is replaced within 7 days. With most of the online vendors, jewellery can be resold to the online stores for 85-90 per cent of the purchase price. The option of cash back is possible only if the jewellery is resold within a month.
Unlike, driving all the way to the jewellery stores, one can shop for jewellery from their couch or office cubicle. The basic requirement is online registration with the online portals. To avoid complications with such transactions, certifications are provided, just as any regular retail store.
According to experts in the industry, the customers have accepted online jewellery shopping with open arms. Branded jewellers say they are seeing sales of items priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 online. Says Sandeep Kulhalli, Vice-President, Marketing at Tanishq, “We are seeing traction for small ticket-size jewellery like finger rings, ear rings and pendants.” When asked the customers, Lai Durve, VP of Mumbai-based Reiki India Research Centre, “I make a clean saving of Rs 6,000-7000 on each piece of jewellery compared to what is sold in the stores. The level of service and customization is a big draw for me,” she says.
People who wish to buy online may get it 15 to 35% cheaper depending on the price points. These days people are comfortable spending Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 through an online space,” says Rajiv Mehta MD of Surat Diamond Jewellery, an online retailer.