It’s a known fact that sellers all over the world are some among the worst-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The jewellery industry has been a traditionally strong-standing industry, with businesses staying unaffected for a good part of the last century. However, here we are now, in the midst of a global pandemic that brought with it, unprecedented circumstances.
The performance of the jewellery industry started off optimistically at the beginning of the year, but sales began to drastically drop as months passed by. Of course, it’s safe to say that nobody expected this to hit them. So here’s a look into the revival strategy for one of the most lucrative industries in the country. Let’s begin!
COVID-19 impact on jewellery sales
Following the coronavirus outbreak, the gems and jewellery sector in the country has come to a standstill with retailers managing to do only 20-25 per cent business due to fewer footfalls amid fear of the virus’s spread, according to an industry body.
“There are virtually no footfalls in jewellery stores and retailers are doing only 20-25 per cent business across the country,” All India Gem And Jewellery Domestic Council chairman Anantha Padmanaban told PTI here.
Also, demand in the world’s second-biggest gold consumer, India, has already tumbled, slammed by record-high domestic prices and as the economy heads for the slowest pace of growth in 11 years. Total purchases are estimated to plummet 30% in 2020 from the 690 tons last year. That would make it the smallest annual purchase since the 477 tons bought in 1995, according to Bloomberg.
This can be largely accounted for by the nationwide lockdown in effect since March 2020 and the prohibition of social gatherings being held in any case.
The reason behind the high impact
The major reason why the gems and jewels industry has been among the worst impacted is due to the shutdown of physical retail stores all over the country. However, over the last few weeks, there has been a surge in hope after the government has announced a list of relaxations.
From the removal of the ban on transportation of non-essential items and the reopening of all non-essential stores (outside malls and shopping complexes) in districts that are showing a reduction in positive cases, small business owners in the jewellery industry can expect a slight increase in sales after the terrible slump.
The reason for the high impact can also be attributed to the large number of traditional businesses that have been offline for their entire lifecycle. This can especially be said for businesses in Tier 3 and 4 cities in India, where retail sellers had no reason to take their business online.
However, the COVID-19 situation has brought to light the urgency of digitization and how businesses will suffer due to the lack of it. We can expect sales innovation to take an interesting turn in order to survive during these difficult times– after all, desperate times call for desperate decisions.
Making the best use of the lockdown period
The coronavirus pandemic has brought all of us some time for some serious re-evaluation of business as we know it. Although it may seem like things are bad, it’s crucial to remember that this too, shall pass.
The pandemic has forced us to think differently in order to survive and that can be a good thing! During this ‘free’ time, business owners are now constantly cooking up new ways to have an edge over their competition in the post-lockdown time period.
Here are a few ideas that you can implement for your business revival during this time:
Building your social media presence: This is the perfect time to build your business’s social profile from scratch. This can be a great chance to re-introduce your branding language.
Empathy: Brands all over the world have come together to display a great deal of courage and empathy during these testing times. Keep the spokes of hope running by doing your bit for society. Generously donate to charities to feed the hungry during this time.
Collaboration: The pandemic is also bringing together like-minded people whose businesses are going through similar situations. Make use of this opportunity to collaborate with other brands on ideas that will drive traction in the future.
Online events: The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought in massive traction to the online events industry. As we’re approaching a brief, yet severe contactless future, this may be your best shot at organizing events and connecting with potential customers and partners. (Also read: Actionable Ways to Organise A Webinar During COVID-19)
Time to go digital
If the demonetization move wasn’t motivational enough for traditional businesses to their business online, the COVID-19 pandemic surely is. This is the perfect opportunity for traditional jewellers to make a smooth transition to the digital world by introducing a user-friendly website, a trustworthy payment system and a smooth feedback loop with the customer.
We can, however, expect a few good things to happen after this lockdown period is over. Segments across e-commerce are helping ease peoples’ anxieties by helping bring solutions both virtually as well as to your doorstep. These testing times are bringing to fore the accelerated adoption of online services, according to The Economic Times.
The post-lockdown time period can also mean a high-risk period for the jewellery industry. With the intervention of online jewellery sales in the future, we can expect a high influx of orders from tier 2 and 3 cities. it’s important that sellers stay prepared for the future with effective fraud prevention tools to keep your risky orders in check. Read more about why fraud prevention is crucial post-lockdown.
The role of sanitization in the future
There is no doubt that with phased releases of lockdown, our nation and its economy can make a planned recovery from this situation. As people will be exposed to normal life sometime in the future, we can expect a new, changed way of life to take the forefront.
As retail sellers all over the world brace to open up their physical stores in the near future, it’s essential to stay prepared by following the appropriate sanitization procedures. After all, we can expect sanitization levels to make a direct impact on trust.
Make sure to take all necessary precautions and safety measures to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being, including those of your employees, partners and customers. Regular sanitation, contactless delivery, PPEs for employees, etc. are some ways in which you can be sure to ensure 100% safety.
Akshaya Tritiya- A time for hope
Some good news for the industry is that jewellers are witnessing a surge of encouraging responses from customers on their digital platforms for Akshaya Tritiya! Customers have also made token purchases of gold to celebrate this auspicious day on Hindu calendar.
“We have had close to 1+ million visitors/browsers on our website indicating a lot of customer interest! further, this ticket size online has jumped 2.5 to 3 times the usual online avg. ticket size, implying many new customers have come online.
“As we gear up for a post COVID world, this e- Akshaya Tritiya has been an opportunity to develop and strengthen our digital and omnichannel play. Many initiatives we have taken will serve us well as customers get used to new digital-driven behaviour. Both, tradition and the investment value of gold continue to be key drivers for an optimistic response, and we believe this theme will continue for the next 6-9 months this year. Thereby making jewellery a valuable investment amidst so much economic uncertainty.”, stated Mr Ajoy Chawla, CEO, Jewellery Division at Titan Company
Online jewellery sellers have also come up with the following ways in order to say afloat during these times of high demand:
- Video calling feature to enable face-to-face interaction with the salesperson
- Live-assisted chats on the website
- Remote war room to resolve customer queries
- Transparent payment process
- Contactless delivery
As we always say, the sense of hope and the spirit of togetherness are two of the major factors that will play a role in the industry revival. In the meanwhile, it’s worth remembering that all of us are in this together and optimism will help us travel better during murky times.
We at Razorpay Thirdwatch are helping e-commerce companies understand how to deal with this situation and ways out of it. Get in touch with a Thirdwatch expert today to see how we can add value to your business!