Published April 24, 2012
BANGALORE: Young customers are swarming online portals to grab a good bargain on their jewellery purchases. Many of them are beating the Akshaya Tritiya rush at retail stores by shopping for jewellery on the web. A host of web stores - Caratlane, Bluestone, Jewelskart.com, JewelsNext.com and Johareez.com - are pricing it attractively.
Jewelskart.com, for instance, is giving a free silver note with gold jewellery for Akshaya Tritiya and offers a 60% discount on its range of spiritual jewellery.
Even branded players like Tanishq, C Krishniah Chetty and Gili have an online presence.
Though a nascent channel for jewellery sales, online buying succeeds in scenarios where the customer can define her requirement. Online stores deliver the same at a cost advantage over retail. These online retailers are wooing buyers by offering hefty discounts of up to 25% compared to physical stores.
"When it comes to diamond jewellery priced below Rs 25,000, the choice is very restrictive at retail stores. Most stores invariably have an inventory of 50 solitaires. We offer 1 lakh solitaires at any given point of time," says Mithun Sacheti, CEO of Caratlane.com.
Lai Durve, VP of Mumbai-based Reiki India Research Centre, belongs to the new breed of shoppers who prefer to buy diamonds online. "I make a clean saving of Rs 6,000-7000 on each piece of jewellery compared to what is sold in the stores. The level of service and customization is a big draw for me," she says.
Retailers are able to pass on discounts to customers by cutting down on high street rentals and other operational expenses. Since they don't operate physical stores, the running cost of managing retail stores doesn't exist.
"We don't hold inventory like retailers do. We partner with vendors to manufacture jewellery as per our specification. Hence, don't incur overheads," says Vidya Nataraj, co-founder of Bluestone.com, which recently received venture funding of $5 million from Accel Partners and Silicon Valley Bank.Sacheti says they are able to scale up by reducing the number of intermediaries between the customer and the diamond manufacturer. "We enjoy the benefits of lower cost overheads that all online businesses enjoy."
These websites handhold customers through the process of purchase. Caratlane, for instance, has an intuitive diamond-election engine that allows the customer to find diamond jewellery matching her specification. They also have a pairing module that allows the customer to buy matching pairs of diamonds and get them set on earrings.
Many of these sites allow customers to return the jewellery within a specified timeframe ranging from a week to 30 days. Some even offer a lifetime exchange programme. Jewellery sold online is hallmarked. When it comes to diamonds, it's certified by International laboratories GIA, AGS, IGI and HRD, giving customers the assurance they are paying for genuine jewellery with proprietary designs. These jewellers also offer a host of payment options from netbanking to cash on delivery and easy instalment options.
Published April 24, 2012
Akshay Tritiya, the auspicious day to buy gold, is here. You can beat the rush at the gold store by logging on to the virtual world and get heavy discounts.
While site owners' claim discounts can go up to as high as 50%, the big discounts are for less expensive products such as imitation jewellery. The discounts for high-end products generally range from 5% to 20%. Sites such as www.caratlane.com, www.johareez.com and www.jewelsnext.com sell jewellery online.
"The online space for buying jewellery is substantially growing.
People who wish to buy online may get it 15 to 35% cheaper depending on the price points. These days people are comfortable spending Rs2,000 to Rs10,000 through an online space," says Rajiv Mehta MD of Surat Diamond Jewellery, an online retailer.
Retailers say on special days such as Akshay Tritiya, Valentines Day and Dhanteras, there is a noticeable spurt in demand. And to lure customers, shops give an additional discount ranging from 10% to 20%. The online stores offer huge discounts as marketing and distribution costs are minimal and they don't have to set up swanky outlets.
But don't fall for deals if they look too good to be true. Also at the top of your checklist should be the company's return policy. Most websites offer a 15 to 30-day return policy. Start by making small purchases. You can customise the jewellery as per your needs.
Recurring deposits are believed to be an efficient way to achieve small goals. But unlike recurring deposits, you will not earn interest in the scheme. But if you pay the full tenure (generally 11 or 24 months), then the jeweller pays the instalment for the last month. "The demand for the scheme continues to be high," says Mehul Choksi, chairman and MD, Gitanjali group.
However, remember that you cannot buy gold coins or bar with this money. So if you are looking at it purely from an investment point of view, then it may not be for you.
Published April 24, 2012
Akshaya Tritiya is here, finally! The festival of 'gold rush', as it has come to be known, has become more widespread in the recent past.
Nowadays, one does not need to frequent jewellery outlets to buy, but can order jewellery online through various websites and online portals designed for this very purpose.
The comfort and efficiency of e-shopping for jewellery has made it a success with the working class women and youngsters of the city.
Says Smruthi, a Hyderabad based fashion designer, "I am very busy with my work as this is also a season for marriages.
"With household work and my job, shopping online is the fastest way to purchase jewellery.
These transactions are very secure nowadays and I have no worries about it." Gold sales have picked up after the 21-day strike and this year has seen a dramatic upsurge in the online sales of gold and diamond jewellery across the country.
"Indians are in love with jewellery.
There were a few minor hiccups due to the this year's budget, but sales have picked up and look as healthy as ever," says Rajiv Mehta, managing director of suratdiamond.com, an online jewellery store.
He also reported a 40 per cent increase in the online sales this Akshaya Tritiya from last year's.
Shashi Natani, CMO at johareez.com, another such online portal, also voiced similar sentiments and said that the budget restraints are a thing of the past.
Initially, the Indian consumer market was skeptical about buying jewellery online due to a rich history of physical inspection and predominance of various outlets.
However, the trend looks to be changing due to various offers and policies of the online stores.
Gaurav Issar, CEO and co-founder of jewelsnext.com calls his website an 'online mall' which is a platform for shopping from various different brands.
"The pre-bookings have been in full force this year and we have recorded an increase of 500 per cent compared to last year's festive period," he says.
Customers have been assured of authenticity of the products with certificates being provided for every purchase.
Many online portals also provide the customers with a full refund within a specified period of time after the delivery.
The merchandise, if found unsatisfactory, can be shipped back, the expenses of which are covered by the merchant.
Various portals also offer a lifetime buyback on the jewellery up to 80 per cent of the initial cost.
Besides these bonuses, online gold shopping has another added advantage.
Explains Vidya Nataraj of bluestone.com, "These sites provide access to not only Indian but also international designs, making the collection more contemporary.
While touch and feel are regarded necessary, most sites have very generous return policies, making the process that less intimidating." Evolution, as some might say, is inevitable and the inception of online gold shopping, which is a world in itself, looks to grab the customers by the scruff as gold is something which Indians hold dear.
This is a ground breaking progress in the advent of online gold sale as it is more patient than an average merchant and definitely more user friendly.
Published April 10, 2012
When I can buy a Rs 40,000 Dior bag or a Rs 28,000 smartphone online, why can't I get a pair of earrings from Tanishq.com for Rs 40,000?" argued 32-year-old Delhi-based interior designer, Risha Kapoor, with her mother. The senior Mrs Kapoor didn't buy that argument. "Do you think a leather bag or a cellphone mean the same as precious jewellery?" she shot back. "How can you buy earrings without trying them on, without seeing the cut and clarity of diamonds with your own eyes and without feeling the smoothness of its surface?" she asked.
That may exactly be the argument most Indian women would get into when it comes to buying jewellery online. But in spite of the pervasive sentiment, the past few months have seen a spate of online jewellery stores and marts such as Johareez.com, Ansjewelry.com, Jewelskart.com and Caratlane.com, with even popular jewellers such as Tanishq and Mehrasons following suit. So who's their target consumer if not the typical Indian auntyji who buys jewellery for weddings, festivals, special occasions and even as an investment?
Gaurav S Issar, CEO of Jewelsnext.com, an online jewellery mart that started six months ago, with names such as Mehrasons, Jetha Bhai Zaveri, Cygnus, Thia, Brijwasi Diamonds and Talwar Jewellers on board, explains the strategy. "We are targetting the young, working woman with disposable income, and also men, who otherwise find it confusing to walk into the neighbourhood goldsmith's shop to buy gifts for their wives, mothers and daughters," he says.
Seconds Vidya Nataraj, co-founder of Bangalore-based Bluestones.com, a two-month-old jewellery brand that exclusively sells online. "Our customer base mostly comprises the working population who wants funky jewellery, not those who are looking to buy chunky jewellery for weddings and festivals," she says.
So what are the items that sell the most online? "Our sales are mostly centred around rings, pendants and small bracelets, with an average spend of around Rs 20,000," says Issar, adding, "We are getting around 15-20 customers a day."
Are there any special incentives to make the purchase more attractive? After all, it may not appeal to many to buy precious stuff by simply logging in and clicking a few buttons. Nataraj says, "To give customers a fair idea of what we are selling, we offer hi-resolution images and pictures of models wearing the jewellery. Plus, there's a drop-down menu for selecting your size, and the order can even be customised a bit in terms of gold and gems colours."
However, she admits that it's not enough. "An online jewellery store doesn't work without an unconditional return policy in place," she says. "If online sold at market price, no one would buy. So, discounts, promotions and money-back options make a jewellery website work," says Issar.
However, for the jewellers who have a brick and mortar store, going online may not exactly mean the same thing. As Karamdeep S Kapany, Area Manager - North India, Tanishq, says, "Online, for us, is a supplementary presence where we showcase our new range to the customers. But mostly, our sales happen offline. At the moment, we are not depending on online sales."
Published January 23, 2012
You can now buy cheaper jewellery through the Internet, with sellers claiming discounts of up to 30%. While it offers convenience, make sure you know how to shop without being taken for a ride.
It's old news that the e-mart is booming; what's new is the gilt edge it is acquiring. As buyers become more comfortable with the click-buy-pay process, they have inched up the purchase ladder, from booking railway tickets or recharging prepaid mobile phones, to picking up more expensive items such as jewellery.
While various branded jewellers have been selling their wares online for some years, a new segment is now emerging-online jewellers, who only sell via the Internet and have no retail stores. This means that they can cut down on high rental costs and operational expenses to offer hefty discounts to buyers.
In fact, some of these online sellers claim to give discounts of up to 30% compared with the prices being offered in physical stores.
Most of these sites, such as Johareez (johareez.com) and JewelsNext (jewelsnext.com), sell across various categories, from silver anklets to diamond solitaires. However, some like CaratLane (caratlane.com), which sells only diamond jewellery, stick to one category.
Rajiv Mehta, managing director of Surat Diamonds (suratdiamonds.com), says, "We have shipped our products to 45 countries and the demand is increasing. There is a wide spectrum of items and prices, ranging from Rs 300 for fashion jewellery to Rs 7 lakh in case of diamond sets."
THE ADVANTAGES One reason for the growing popularity of online jewellers is that they can offer significant discounts. Says Shashi Nathani, chief marketing officer of Johareez: "Most of the manufacturers who have set up online stores cut out the physical retailer, so the discount is passed on to the customers."
The e-commerce companies' savings come from the expenses they shave off on the operational and running costs that go into renting and managing a swanky retail store. These discounts are in addition to the regular ones offered during festive and wedding seasons.
Another advantage of shopping online is that these sellers have more variety compared with that in physical stores. This is because a retail outlet faces limitations in terms of stocking the inventory. Online jewellers also offer customisation options. For instance, CaratLane allows you to choose the type of diamond you want to buy depending on its cut, carat, colour and clarity, even your budget. Once you have picked the stone of your choice, you can choose the setting as well as the size (in case of rings or bangles).
Buying from these sites is as easy as that from any other online shop. You need to register and provide your address and contact number. After you select a product, you can have it delivered to the same address or gift it to someone by providing a different shipping address.
Published June 30, 2009
Jaipur - 30th June 2009 - CNBC AWAAZ interviewed Mr. Arvind Gupta, MD of Johareez.com in their special episode of "Smart Shopping" featuring online jewellery portals in India. CNBC Awaaz rated Johareez.com as one of the best leading jewellery portals in India. Features such as online auctions & direct purchase options were presented to audience and specific reasoning was mentioned as to why consumers should choose Johareez.com for their online shopping.
Mr. Gupta gave insights of many ongoing current promotions and services which are available on the site. He also elaborated on key points such as issuance of authenticity certifications, Re. 1 no reserve auctions, cash on delivery facility to customers and their 7 day return policy.
Johareez.com features a vast collection of .925 sterling silver, 10k & 14k gold jewellery with Colored Gemstones, Cubic Zirconia & Diamonds.