BANGALORE: Young customers are swarming online portals to grab a good bargain on their jewellery purchases. Many of them are beating the Akshaya Tritiya rush at retail stores by shopping for jewellery on the web. A host of web stores – Caratlane, Bluestone, Jewelskart.com, JewelsNext.com and Johareez.com – are pricing it attractively.
Jewelskart.com, for instance, is giving a free silver note with gold jewellery for Akshaya Tritiya and offers a 60% discount on its range of spiritual jewellery.
Even branded players like Tanishq, C Krishniah Chetty and Gili have an online presence.
Though a nascent channel for jewellery sales, online buying succeeds in scenarios where the customer can define her requirement. Online stores deliver the same at a cost advantage over retail. These online retailers are wooing buyers by offering hefty discounts of up to 25% compared to physical stores.
“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.
Lai Durve, VP of Mumbai-based Reiki India Research Centre, belongs to the new breed of shoppers who prefer to buy diamonds online. “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.
Retailers are able to pass on discounts to customers by cutting down on high street rentals and other operational expenses. Since they don’t operate physical stores, the running cost of managing retail stores doesn’t exist.
“We don’t hold inventory like retailers do. We partner with vendors to manufacture jewellery as per our specification. Hence, don’t incur overheads,” says Vidya Nataraj, co-founder of Bluestone.com, which recently received venture funding of $5 million from Accel Partners and Silicon Valley Bank.Sacheti says they are able to scale up by reducing the number of intermediaries between the customer and the diamond manufacturer. “We enjoy the benefits of lower cost overheads that all online businesses enjoy.”
These websites handhold customers through the process of purchase. Caratlane, for instance, has an intuitive diamond-election engine that allows the customer to find diamond jewellery matching her specification. They also have a pairing module that allows the customer to buy matching pairs of diamonds and get them set on earrings.
Many of these sites allow customers to return the jewellery within a specified timeframe ranging from a week to 30 days. Some even offer a lifetime exchange programme. Jewellery sold online is hallmarked. When it comes to diamonds, it’s certified by International laboratories GIA, AGS, IGI and HRD, giving customers the assurance they are paying for genuine jewellery with proprietary designs. These jewellers also offer a host of payment options from netbanking to cash on delivery and easy instalment options.