Jewellery retailers should embrace digitalisation alongside omnichannel initiatives and other technology-based solutions to sustain business in a coronavirus-stricken environment.
This was the main takeaway from two timely webinars organised by JNA and JNA Awards on the Asian retail scene. Both events featured seasoned jewellery trade experts and leading retailers as panelists.
The Return & Recovery - Retail Strategies in a Covid-19 World webinar, held on October 5, had as speakers Tanya Alissia, group creative director of Indonesia’s Central Mega Kencana; Angelina Lau, general manager for international operations of Singapore’s SK Jewellery Group; Lawrence Ma, CEO of Hong Kong-based Lee Heng Diamond Group; and Prida Tiasuwan, chairman of Thailand’s Pranda Group.
Discussions centred on retail initiatives that companies had to adopt amid coronavirus-led lockdowns and restrictions. According to the speakers, the move towards digital is unavoidable – made clear by the Covid-19 experience. A clear omnichannel strategy is also needed.
For Tiasuwan, customer experience takes precedence and retailers must find a way to connect and communicate with consumers effectively through social media platforms, and online or in-store activities that are relevant to the customer. He also suggested cross-sector collaborations and turning the brick-and-mortar store into a destination, and not just a point of sales.
In terms of demand, gold products continue to sell, thanks to their investment value. Customers meanwhile are more comfortable buying lower-ticket items online.
Alissia for her part highlighted the rising importance of “meaningful” jewellery in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Return & Recovery - The Asian Retail Market webinar, held on October 12, meanwhile focused on the Asian jewellery buyer and what companies are doing to engage with clients in key Asia-Pacific regions.
Speakers were Amit Dhamani, managing director of Dhamani Jewels from the United Arab Emirates; Shreyansh Kapoor, vice president and partner at Kashi Jewellers of India; Le Tri Thong, CEO of Vietnam’s Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ); and Bobby Liu, executive director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd of Hong Kong.
According to Amit, retailers had to re-align business models to address challenges brought about by months-long lockdowns. To effectively re-engage with buyers, the company focused on two key aspects: Market trend and consumer preference.
Dhamani Jewels’ trendy jewellery brand – Dusoul – saw strong online sales at the height of the pandemic, with affordable luxury products finding favour among millennial customers. Classic pieces however experienced a slowdown, with buyers shying away from big-ticket items. Dhamani is also actively exploring omnichannel initiatives to connect with clients.
Kapoor of India’s Kashi Jewellers highlighted the need to balance digitalisation with the high-tactile and personal nature of jewellery retail. Kashi is also investing on an integrated retail space with pop-up areas for collaborations with other industries such as fashion.
Le of PNJ underscored the significance of finding innovative ways to connect with buyers by rethinking business strategies and focusing on markets that still have disposable income. PNJ is also exploring digital platforms such as TikTok and livestreaming to attract younger consumers.
Chow Tai Fook’s Liu talked about the group’s wide-ranging omnichannel strategies, which proved critical amid the Covid-19 pandemic. These include D-One, a jewellery customisation online platform that allows customers to create their own jewellery by choosing diamonds and settings online; Art2Charm, which transforms customers’ drawing or photos into 18-karat gold charms; and O2O channels such as Cloud Kiosks and CloudSales 365 WeChat mini-programme.
“As retailers, we need to think of how to stay agile and to respond to market needs through omnichannel, customer-centric experiences,” noted Liu.
Both sessions were moderated by Olivia Quiniquini, associate publisher and editor-in-chief of JNA. These webinars are part of the Jewellery & Gem Knowledge Community education-based programme.
Full story in JNA Nov-Dec 2020