Buy­ers Gauge Jew­ellers’ Cal­i­bre By Their Web Pres­ence

In­de­pen­dent jew­ellers are grap­pling with the e- com­merce chal­lenge and won­der­ing how to in­te­grate their on­line op­er­a­tions with phys­i­cal stores. Raj Jew­els, an In­dian jew­eller based in New Jersey, USA, has suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented an omni- chan­nel re­tail s

Solitaire - - CONTENTS - ANIL PRABHAKAR

On May 27th 2018, I was in New Jersey and I spend a day win­dow-shop­ping at the Oak Tree Road. Iselin is the area in New Jersey that is known as ‘Lit­tle In­dia’ as 25% of the pop­u­la­tion here com­prises Asian In­di­ans. Once a des­o­late and run­down neigh­bour­hood, Oak Tree Road is to­day a boom­ing busi­ness district. As many as 30 jew­ellery stores com­pete with each other on Oak Tree Road that runs about 5km in Cen­tral Jersey.

I hap­pened to en­ter Raj Jew­els, where the store was full of cus­tomers en­grossed in se­lect­ing jew­ellery. I met Bobby Bansal, the owner of Raj Jew­els, who in­formed that theirs was one of the first jew­ellery re­tail show­rooms to set up a busi­ness in New Jersey 31 years ago.

I was also in­tro­duced to Ja­gruti Bansal, the mar­ket­ing and e-com­merce di­rec­tor of Raj Jew­els Bansal Group, who ini­ti­ated the e-com­merce busi­ness for the brand and has a li­on­ess’s share in the growth of the com­pany’s busi­ness. She pro­vides the tech­no­log­i­cal and brand­ing edge and man­ages the web­site op­er­a­tions, search mar­ket­ing, so­cial me­dia chan­nels and on­line cus­tomer ser­vice net­work. Here’s what she had to share:

Most of the In­dian jew­ellers that I have met in the US have pre­dom­i­nantly an In­dian cus­tomer base. What steps have you taken to at­tract cus­tomers of other na­tion­al­i­ties?

Our web­site is de­signed to cater to an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence – right from the de­sign, look and in­ter­ac­tion with the web­site. The prod­uct cat­e­gories and ap­proach with the clients is also very mul­ti­cul­tural. We have po­si­tioned our­selves as “the Tif­fany of the South Asian seg­ment” and we have the same ap­proach when mar­ket­ing our prod­ucts, whether it is on so­cial me­dia or any other chan­nel. We don’t want to be the typ­i­cal In­dian jew­eller. Hence, we launched the video blog and the top­ics are tar­geted to­wards the Amer­i­can au­di­ence.

Our prod­uct de­signs also range from tra­di­tional to mod­ern and tran­si­tional. We work with de­sign­ers from Europe, the Mid­dle East, the Far East Asia and across the world be­cause we want to cater to ev­ery taste.

What changes have you wit­nessed in the last five years?

To­day’s cus­tomer is more ed­u­cated and has more re­sources to dis­cover prod­ucts, ser­vices and re­tail­ers. They don’t want brands to find them but they want to find the brands them­selves. And that’s where on­line search has made a lot of dif­fer­ence. It is the #1 source that most cus­tomers turn to. They judge the jew­eller’s qual­ity by their web pres­ence. They do not walk into a store be­fore check­ing its web­site. They con­firm the jew­eller’s au­then­tic­ity by look­ing up Google re­views and their rat­ings. That is the sec­ond point of ver­i­fi­ca­tion. E-com­merce shop­ping has made dis­tance ir­rel­e­vant.

An­other most trusted source is the so­cial me­dia re­fer­ral net­work. And as YouTube has be­come the big­gest search en­gine now, it’s giv­ing tele­vi­sion a tough com­pe­ti­tion. And with IGTV be­ing launched by Instagram, in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing is go­ing to be a ma­jor re­source in the world of web shop­ping. It is go­ing to change the ap­proach to reach­ing out to the tar­get au­di­ence com­pletely. Con­tent is king to­day and not ag­gres­sive sales push.

What per­cent­age of your sales comes from e-com­merce? Is off­line re­tail un­der pres­sure?

On­line has been the great­est sup­port to re­tail for us. Since we have a strong good­will in New Jersey, word-of-mouth pub­lic­ity has helped us built our clien­tele. The on­line store that was launched al­most four years ago has to­day, added an ad­di­tional 40-45% of sales to the brick­sand-mor­tar store. We have seen a strong growth year after year.

Do you man­u­fac­ture your own jew­ellery? And do you have an in-house de­sign team?

We usu­ally work with ven­dors and de­sign­ers glob­ally, but yes, we have an in-house de­sign team in In­dia and Dubai.

We have 20+ em­ploy­ees in the USA and 10 in In­dia. We treat our em­ploy­ees like fam­ily and give them the ben­e­fits they de­serve based on their con­tri­bu­tion and ten­ure with the com­pany.

How do you ac­quire new cus­tomers? Please give us an idea of your above-the-line (in­clud­ing dig­i­tal) and be­low-the-line ac­tiv­i­ties.

Our on­line ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude web­site de­sign up­da­tion, Search En­gine Op­ti­mi­sa­tion, so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing and email mar­ket­ing. We also do print ad­ver­tis­ing; ra­dio is our #1 sales booster fol­lowed by TV in the tra­di­tional me­dia. We are soon launch­ing a store in Raleigh, North Carolina.

JA­GRUTI BANSAL Mar­ket­ing and e-com­merce di­rec­tor, Raj Jew­els Bansal Group

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