The final session of the Retail Jeweller India Forum 2017 explored the growth drivers of modern retail. Panellists representing independent family jewellers, as well as regional and national chain jewellers, focused on consumption growth driven by rising population and urbanisation — specifically, how it presents new opportunities to those who are able to define their market and position themselves effectively. They shared their positioning strategies and how it is allowing them to increase their market share.

Saurabh Gadgil, CMD, PNG Jewellers, a fast-expanding retail chain from Pune with stores across Maharashtra, laid out, against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, how middle-class Indians with surplus money are seeking more fashion and value from jewellery.

Gadgil used to be known as a quintessential Maharashtrian jeweller. At RJIF he said that “Community-based buying is on the decline. Our inventory is a mix of what an urban middle class consumer may fancy. We have positioned ourselves very clearly. It is a big segment that promises volume business and de-risks us as we expand into new markets.”

To gain a larger share of this segment, he said, “we are penetrating deeper into the families of our existing customers”.
Anand Jewellers of Indore, MP, has claimed a whopping 1 tonne of gold jewellery sold in 2016. “All of this without any discount strategy,” said Gaurav Anand, its managing director.

“Modern retailing is about creating relevant products and transparency,” he said. “Jewellers need to view the business from a customer’s perspective. As per our market survey, trust remains the biggest deterrent to growth in this industry. We overcame that in our case with robust, consumer-friendly policies.”

The market has potential, said Anand, but consumers are not spending much of their disposable income on jewellery because of the lack of trust in jewellers. “If we are able to establish trust we will be able to capture the market.”
“We have taken a larger perspective of the market and positioned ourselves as an aspirational brand selling diamond jewellery,” said Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra, a national chain. “Fifty per cent of our sales come from diamond jewellery.” He admitted there was a tradeoff in terms of reduced footfall, but “There is a certain kind of customer that you capture, by way of taking this position on products.”

Notwithstanding Orra’s focus on diamonds, Jain pointed out that the brand is aspirational yet affordable. “Customers get very high design value and a superior buying experience at each of our stores. They can buy diamond jewellery for as little as Rs1 lakh and still feel gratified at the idea of owning a brand.” The message? Aspiration is no longer associated solely with high price.

 


Taking his point further, Jain said that brands need to look at the entire lifecycle of their customer. Orra, he said, has introduced Denim diamonds for the younger segment and solitaires as a category apart from all their other diamond jewellery. “Knowing that retailers cannot be everything to everybody, they need to segment the market, acquire customers and then partner them through the life stages.”

Ramesh Narang, director, Hazoorilal Legacy, the foremost aspirational brand in North India, certainly knows what it takes to position a brand in the premium segment. “We do not sell one design more than two or three times,” he said, whereas “a brand positioned for the masses does not have to make that kind of design effort. With minor variations, the same designs can continue for years.”

Even in his rarefied orbit, “The competition is definitely increasing. Besides products, one has to invest in all aspects of the brand.” For example, “with smaller items, we sometimes make no profit, because the cost of the packaging far exceeds the cost of the product. But that’s what we do to build the experience of Hazoorilal.”

The takeaways for the audience from this session were not the specific details but how every strategic choice in each of these very different cases reflects the clarity, audacity and insight of not just the businessperson but also the brand.