Technology for wider reach
As you expand your business or build complexities, either you require a mind that remembers everything or technology-driven processes. For most jewellers, one of the biggest challenges involved in expansion is that of setting up these processes and automation. It is quite apparent that companies who don’t adapt to new technology, or innovate in terms of technology, end up dying. Nikita Peer
Kodak, for instance, was a darling of photographers with a 70 per cent market share and stock prices doing phenomenally well in 1990s. In fact, the whole city of Rochester in New York state, USA, was supported by this big chemical company. The company’s leaders, however, did not realise the threat posed by digital cameras — they thought they were too big to lose. But in the end Japan’s Fuji turned out to be a winner, and Kodak went bankrupt.
What this teaches us is that jewellers should not be so fragile.
Jewellers can start adapting to technology one service at a time. “It is advisable to start with basic tech products that help manage inventory, basic accounts and purchases,” said Minesh Shah, founder, Effission Software.
Once all the information about your company is stored on a software, it can be used for analytics and to generate business intelligence. “This can be done by bisecting and trisecting information,” Shah explained. “You can gather some intelligent data-points on what inventory is ageing or what is selling the most, for you to get more business. These [stocking-related] problems increase exponentially when the number of your stores multiply.”
Today, software can even tell a retailer which salesperson can better manage what kind of inventory. The data can be delivered in graphical form to make it easier to understand such things as which stock needs replenishing.
Manish Pethani, partner, M Suresh Group and CEO, Adora Jewellery, has been using technology to manage his many stores. “Sitting in my office I can monitor what’s happening in my all stores — minute to minute! It’s like sitting in the driver’s seat and monitoring a dashboard.”
Some tech services, which automatically wish customers on their anniversary and birthday occasions, or on special festivals, can help jewellers retain consumer mindspace. Routine but crucial tasks such as filtering special-events invitations based on the value of customers’ purchases are also made much easier.
The average age of Indians is now 37, which makes us one of the youngest nations in the world. This fact also tells us that we as an industry have to be tech-savvy. “Everything is sold online. Jewellery, furniture, baby products, fashion, grocery and health,” said Shah. “It’s not just small items — BlueStone has sold a jewellery set worth ₹10 lakh online. There is no way that we can ignore e-tail.” He reminded the gathering that Alibaba’s valuation, post-IPO, stands at $173 billion, which is a great validation of its model.
“It’s a multi-channel world,” Shah concluded. “Having a Web address is just like having a telephone number. Considerable presence on social networks and mobiles is a must. Your competition is no more the neighbourhood store, because consumers can easily reach out to any jeweller, across the globe.”