Enhanced customer outreach, innovation and inclusive development
By Ahammed MP, Chairman, Malabar Gold & Diamonds
On the back of strong demand recovery fuelled by positive consumer sentiment, pent-up demand as well as robust festive and wedding season demand, the jewellery retail industry is gradually regaining its momentum. Gold jewellery is, in fact, playing a vital role in the recovery of retail trade momentum thanks to its cultural, traditional and festive significance. Putting the pandemic wave impact during Q1FY21-22 firmly behind, the trade sentiment is now upbeat thanks to increasing footfalls and robust demand. The latest report of World Gold Council (WGC) titled “the drivers of Indian gold demand” has pointed out the fact that the economic growth and pent-up demand will signal a phase of strong gold demand in 2022. The upbeat consumer sentiment will eventually rub off on to other precious jewellery categories such as diamond, platinum and precious gemstones. However, to leverage that broad spectrum of retail opportunities, the jewellery retail industry needs to be more formalised, organised, innovative and transparent.
Being the leading jewellery retail chain of the country, we have been maintaining transparency of the highest level in pricing, quality and customer service. The ‘One India One Gold Rate’ initiative offers gold jewellery at a uniform price across the country. The 10 promises to our customers have also set up a stronger foundation for building customer trust. The commitments such as transparent price tags indicating the exact manufacturing cost, stone weight, net weight and stone charge of the jewellery, assured lifetime maintenance for the jewellery, 100 percent value for gold when reselling old gold jewellery and zero deduction on exchange, 100 percent BIS hallmarking certifying the purity of gold, IGI and GIA certified diamonds ensuring 28-point quality check of global standards, buyback guarantee, responsible sourcing and fair labour practices have transformed the jewellery retail narrative of the country.
During our more than two-decade old existence, we have been continuously raising the bar for the jewellery retail trade in segments such as product, customer services experience, pricing, etc. In 2022, the retail dynamics will evolve further driven by new customer expectations and aspirations. The focus will gradually shift from trade fundamentals to trade excellence. Here are five aspects we’ll be focussing on during 2022.
Expansion: Expansion is an integral part of our strategy to increase our outreach across the world in terms of both showroom count and turnover. We have plans to launch 56 stores globally with 40 across India and 16 internationally in FY21-22 and. As per our expansion strategy, we’ll be strengthening our retail presence in those markets where we already have a presence apart from venturing into new markets with our exquisite services and product offerings. In 2022, we would like to go several steps further to grow our retail network.
Product innovation: The majority of the Indian population is young. As per the WCG report, the average age of the people across the country is 27 and is expected to remain in that range for the next 10 years. Therefore, the jewellery should reflect the exuberance and vibrancy of the youth of the country. Our product strategy, going forward, will work towards making our offerings more inclusive. For our Everafter wedding band collection, our key target audience is youth and millennials. We’ll continue with our product innovation drive to appeal to all age groups. We recently organised an Artistry show in Kolkata to encourage jewellery buyers to explore new design innovations. We’ll continue to further enhance our craftsmanship, going forward.
Marketing innovation: Customers now want the brands to reflect their aspirations in their communication narratives and product offerings. For instance, new-age brides are now asserting their presence with their individuality and choices during wedding. Hence, going beyond the conventional bridal jewellery advertising, the 2021 edition of our popular Brides of India campaign launched a special wedding anthem #MakeWayForTheBride. Themed on the grand entry of new-age brides to the wedding arena, the wedding anthem managed to appeal to the brides with evolved sensibilities. As mentioned earlier, our exceptional wedding band collection campaign #Everafter is also based on consumer insights. In 2022, we’ll continue to come up with more marketing innovations to break the clutter.
Putting customer interest first: Keeping up with our tradition of safeguarding customer interest by introducing BIS hallmarking, unique barcodes providing information on gold content, weight of stones or gems used and making charges, we’ll continue to focus on ways to put customer interest first.
Employment generation to fuel collaborative growth and inclusive development: We are continuing with our process to create more job opportunities and planning to increase our staff strength by 16,000 to 17,000 in 3-4 years. Going forward, we’ll carry on with our mission to transform our talented workforce into a team of professional managers. Being an equal-opportunity employer, we’ll continue to enhance women representation and provide opportunities to qualified female students.
If there is no significant disruption and uncertainties, the jewellery retail trade will scale a new growth trajectory in 2022.