Debraj Gupta, Manager, New Business Sales, Google

What is that one idea that will transform your business? What particular moonshot will help you grow 10 times?’ Challenge yourself by setting targets that defy your usual projections, said Debraj Gupta of the Internet search giant at RJIF 2016. In his presentation, ‘Build Your Business with Google’, he described Google’s origins as a moonshot by two young visionaries of the 1990s. Larry Page and Sergey Brin raised their operations from merely an information exchange network for universities, to a revolutionary worldwide phenomenon.

Mnumbers released just this January, from a joint survey by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Boston Consulting Group, say that India’s retail market is likely to double in size from $630b in 2015 to $1.1–1.2tr in 2020. Jewellery as a category, valued at $37b in 2015, was the fastest-growing retail sector during 2005–2015. The CII–BCG survey results suggest that jewellery retail could be a $60b business by 2020.

“Is that enough?” asked Debraj Gupta, manager, new business sales, Google, of his audience at the Retail Jeweller India Forum 2016. “Can we think beyond that — by asking ourselves, why not $100b?” Those estimates, he said, do not take into account the immense possibilities of the Internet for jewellery retail.

He offered as part of his evidence the findings of the IMRB I-Cube 2015 report, which concluded that India has overtaken the US and now has the world’s second-largest Internet user base, with 375m internet users as of October 2015. (China leads, with over 700m users.) Of those Indian users, 55m have shopped online — a number that excludes travel-related ecommerce.

The number of online shoppers in India is also expected to grow six times during 2014–20, from 40m to 240m. This is mainly a result of superior connectivity and higher Internet penetration. “Are we prepared to seize such a huge opportunity?” Gupta asked.
While the gender ratio among Internet users is still skewed towards males — the male:female user ratio is 62:38 in urban areas, 88:12 in rural — it is encouraging that, in urban areas, the number of female Internet users is growing at 43 per cent. This is significantly higher than the growth rate for male users, 34 percent.

The immense growth in the Internet sector, Gupta said, shows that there is substantial room for growth in jewellery retail online. He offered some relevant statistics. In Tier-1 cities, he said, women outspend men online. Of urban Indian Internet users, 74 per cent are in the top eight metro cities. Seventy-eight per cent of urban female Internet users are in the age bracket of 15–35 years. Eighty-four per cent of urban female users use the Internet for communication and social media. Text chat, video chat, networking and gaming are their top online activities. Sixty-five per cent of urban Internet users shop online; apparel, footwear, jewellery and watches are among the top purchased products online.

“So, the question is how we can leverage this opportunity by building the buyers’ confidence and trust, and giving them an unforgettable shopping experience online,” said Gupta. “Opportunities always come with challenges, and jewellers need to accept both.”

According to Google, jewellery-related searches — gold, diamond, precious, semi-precious, etc. — are growing at 20 per cent per year. The industry should tap this large audience. “Jewellers need to convert Internet users’ interest in jewellery into intent, by adopting best practices and making their online presence more effective,” said Gupta.
An online presence, he cautioned his audience of leading jewellers, should not be directed only at making sales; it is also about making oneself accessible. A jeweller’s website, he said, should be designed in such a way that browsing and making a purchase are effortless and pleasurable. “Making it simple always helps users discover your website fast and, eventually, purchase faster.”

Jewellers can earn online buyers’ trust, he said, by showing certifications, offering flexible customer service and a high-quality product, and ensuring timely delivery. “Convenience is key.” For instance: “Instead of telephone chat, jewellers can think of introducing video-chat.”
“Be found,” Gupta urged, meaning, have a visible and impactful online presence. He recommended Google Ads’ tools for building visibility. “Even searches as innocuous as ‘gold jewellery price’ often have dormant buying intent,” he said, “and that can be leveraged by [Google Ads’ profiling algorithms, which can present] your website’s link alongside the search results.”

Being found doesn’t mean staying found. To remain relevant it is important for a jeweller to select every element of the promotional matrix carefully. Consumer demographics, device, media vehicle, language, geographical footprint — any or all of these elements can play a key role in achieving better results and return on investment.