The company focuses on gaining customer trust and satisfaction to meet the challenges at a time when the online jewellery segment is like a tiny dot in the overall jewellery market in India
Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | Jun 6, 2016
The digital space is slowly conquering the shopping style and pattern of the people in India but the online jewellery segment accounts for only 0.5 per cent of the total jewellery market. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as Indians still prefer buying from their family jewellers or reputed offline stores such as Tanishq and PC Jewellers, due to the touch and feel benefit.
The overall jewellery market is growing at 12-14 per cent while the online segment is growing at more than 100 per cent (YoY). This shows how people are opening up to buying jewellery online. The players in the market include Caratlane (launched in 2008), Bluestone (2011), Jewelsouk and others. Caratlane and Bluestone are the major players but Bluestone has ‘arguably’ been the most communicative in the segment.
In such a scenario, entering the online jewellery market is a double-sided game with both scope and challenges. In order to understand the segment in an in-depth manner, BestMediaInfo caught up with Pushkar Jain, Chief Marketing Officer of Bluestone.
Bluestone was launched in 2011 by Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, a former IIT-Delhi graduate -- his second start-up. Kushwaha sensed the need for lightweight jewellery that was emerging in the market and noticed a significant gap in the kind of stuff available with the offline jewellers.
The company has grown almost 2.5 times in the last five months and plans to grow at the same rate in the current fiscal year, with almost 5,000 transactions in a month.
The investors in the company are Accel Partners, Saama Capital, Kalaari Capital, IvyCap Ventures, Dragoneer, Ratan Tata and Meena Ganesh (CEO of Portea). The company received about $30 million(USD) over three rounds of funding.
What is attracting customers to online jewellery shopping?
Online jewellery is all about unlimited browsing. It has a different kind of design philosophy, which includes lighter, everyday wear modern and diamond-based designs, typically tough to find at traditional retailers. They offer more of traditional designs or wedding-centric heavy designs, primarily gold-based. We have superiority on the kinds of design and the reach on that. We have a range of modern everyday designs available at any ticket size. If you go to offline retailers, you will find very few designs available at lower ticket sizes.
Availability of a clear price break-up on the website is another great advantage of buying jewellery online, along with the 30-day return policy that we offer. Returning a product to an offline jeweller will cost a chunk of money, which does not happen with the website.
Recently, Myntra partnered with Tanishq to sell jewellery online. Flipkart, Amazon and others have also been selling jewellery online, which definitely throws competition. What is the key while dealing with horizontal online fashion websites entering the jewellery segment?
Flipkart and Amazon are selling jewellery online for years now. But the fundamental reasons that these horizontals are unable to crack is the kind of experience that is available on our websites than these. The quality of product imagery available with us is fundamentally different, the clarity of pricing and certification also make us stand out from the clutter. It is more about getting the right consumer experience. In this particular category, it is difficult for the horizontals to make a mark versus a specialist like us.
How do you define the target audience of Bluestone?
The company mostly focusses on the woman of today who is ready to experiment with modern designs and would love to experience unlimited browsing of designs. That makes a very strong reason for online jewellery to become an alternative to offline. Bluestone mostly focusses on women but men also visit the website often to buy gifts.
We tend to look at consumers with a more progressive mind. We look at women who are independent, not just working but also the ones who know what they want and have a high shopping confidence. Therefore, we tend to look at consumers on the basis their mindset, rather than dividing them into masses and classes.
We leave no stone unturned in customer satisfaction. That creates advocacy and word-of-mouth is a key driver for us.
Bluestone has had some wonderful television commercials highlighting a couple’s relationship and telling people to buy jewellery without an occasion. Recently, the Mother’s Day ad also got good response on social media. Please tell us something about the marketing initiatives and strategy of Bluestone?
We promote heavily on television and on digital, through content marketing. We also offer ‘home try on services’, where consumers can select design pieces from the website and can look and feel the product at their homes.
We are very clear and focussed on being the design destination for the consumers. We focus on getting the right kind of merchandise, a high velocity of design changes. Therefore, we focus on innovations. This is the biggest pillar of our strategy.
The designs available with the company are made in-house. The company has a full-stack model, which is a kind of business model that doesn’t require to keep stock. We prepare designs that are available on the website and manufacture jewellery in house after getting the orders. This adds to the benefit of the consumer as they can customise the jewellery they want to buy. 60 per cent of deliveries are also made by the Bluestone team.
The TVCs made by Bluestone: