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How to be 100% Ready to open your Jewellery shop post COVID - 19 Lockdown?

29 May 2020

The Lockdown Pause in Jewellery Business

Retailing in the jewellery market has been a flourishing business in India. What started as family-owned and single shop operations as gold jewellers (70%) or diamond jewellers (30%), today includes some of the biggest names in the organized sector like Titan, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ), PC Jeweller, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, Joyalukkas, etc. whose contribution has grown from 5% in 2005 to 32% in 2020. The gems and jewellery industry in India have close to 500,000 retail outlets operating in distant corners of India. The industry employs approximately 60 lakh people directly and over 2 crore people indirectly. In 2019, the industry was reeling under pressure due to a 20% increase in gold prices that caused a 9% dip in sales. From 760.4 tonnes in 2018 the figures dropped to 690.4 tonnes in 2019. Hardly, did the situation improve when on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) originating in Wuhan, China as a health emergency. By February 2020, the ripples began to be felt in India, and on March 25, with a nationwide lockdown declared by PM Narendra Modi, every business activity except for essentials came to a grinding halt. All jewellery stores in India were shut for business. Now after 43 days of total nationwide lockdown in India, as the restrictions ease, are you 100% ready with new COVID-19 safety measures to re-open your jewellery shop?

During the Lockdown Period

We are on the cusp of change. Coronavirus (COVID-1) will surely bring about a major shift in how business is conducted. The jewellery business in India has stepped forward to prepare itself to face a new set of challenges. Few actions that jewelers have taken during the lockdown include -

  • Caring of migrant craftsmen in workshops

Many jewellers have taken upon themselves to arrange for a continued supply of food for the craftsmen (babus) who have been stranded in their workshops and could not reach their hometowns.

  • Online training

The larger companies have used this time to impart online training to their staff. There have also been numerous online courses conducted by India’s premier gemmological institutes that include the most opted jewellery designing course, e.g. Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ), Mumbai, received a healthy response for its short term CAD jewellery design course.

  • Morale boosting

In this uncertain time, larger manufacturers and exporters of gems and jewellery, have resorted to digital communication through WhatsApp groups, etc. to continue to stay in touch with the staff members to offer assistance, boost morale, and primarily to assure the staff of their jobs.

  • Branding

Jewellers have turned to Social Media to send responsible social messages. With this, they have not only created a trust but also simultaneously created a high recall value for the brand.

  • Educating the jewellers

The Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ), Mumbai is actively conducting webinars and courses to educate the trade on the changes in the jewellery sector and how to cope with the new way of doing business. Various jewellery associations on local levels are also closely monitoring the situation and offering every assistance to the jewellers to get back on their feet.

Reopening the Jewellery Business after 40 days of lockdown

With jewellery retailers starting to re-open their shops in green zones with permissions from the local governments, the gems and jewellery industry is slowly resuming business. In the last few days since May 10, the retailers have only had about 20-25% sales but with the wedding season in the fourth quarter, jewellers hope to see a growth in revenues.

Titan Co., the nation’s biggest jeweller by market value and owner of the brand Tanishq, re-opened its first 50 stores on May 10 while it is still awaiting to open the remaining 278 stores in phases across India. Likewise, Kalyan Jewellers opened 10 outlets in Odisha, Assam, Puducherry and Karnataka, and Senco Gold and Diamonds re-opened their jewellery store branches in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Karnataka.

How to be ready to ready to open your jewellery store post-COVID19 lockdown?

The coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak has impacted consumer demand for luxury goods and especially the purchase of gems and jewellery in India. Furthermore, every retailer in India’s jewellery trade will need to comply with rules and regulations related to post-COVID-19 lockdown, while reopening and resuming operations. How to be 100% Ready to open your Jewellery Store post-COVID19 Lockdown includes new measures that include –

  • Online contact-less deliveries

Several large jewellers are already digital and many others will begin to have a digital presence in the coming days. Buying silver jewellery and gift items have already begun online. Gold and diamond jewellery is still traditionally preferred to be purchased across the counter but post-corona pandemic alternative ways of conducting business will soon emerge.

  • Digital payments

The future of India is ‘cashless India’. In 2015, PM Narendra Modi, launched the Digital India program with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society. Since then, digital payments are also being encouraged. Cashless transactions through banking credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, internet banking, and mobile banking are on the rise. Smaller jewellery shops that relied on cash sales over-the-counter, will have to take digital payments.

  • Promoting e-commerce platform

Senco is providing e-catalogues on its website for potential jewellery buyers to shortlist a selection of items, before visiting the store. This will reduce the time spent by a potential buyer in a jewellery store, helping stores to follow the social distancing directive.

  • Following Government directives

Jewellery stores like Tanishq are making it mandatory for customers to wear disposable gloves and masks. They are also allowing customers in their stores only after thermal screening. Further as per government directives, they will register the details of every customer in their database.  Also setting up prior appointments for shoppers willing to visit its stores will be a pre-condition to maintain social distance.

  • Sanitization

Few jewellers are taking extra precautions. They intend to sanitize the piece of jewellery after every showing. The latest UV equipment will be used for this excessive precaution.

Conclusion -

The lockdown is only a pause and not an end of the jewellery trade in India. Jewellery has been woven into the Indian culture for centuries. It has been a symbol of wealth and socio-economic status. Gold, silver, diamonds and coloured gemstones are used for gifting in weddings, bought on auspicious days or worn for astrological purpose. Indians also have a culture bias investing in gold believing it to be a financial asset. Innovations and advances in the jewellery trade are constant. So, the jewellery trade will continue. The need of the hour is that the jewellery shop owners adapt to the millennial consumers to stay relevant, and adopt government directives post-coronavirus pandemic. The retail shops are watching the big players and are getting ready to follow in their footsteps. It’s going to be a new day and a new way of doing business. Yes, with directives from apex bodies like GJEPC, every jeweller in India is getting 100% ready to re-open the jewellery store post-COVID19 lockdown!

About Rukshana-

Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.