“Change is inevitable,” said famous British PM Benjamin Disraeli and this is true of businesses too. Business enterprises are compelled to change to survive in the highly competitive market and to avoid being left behind. This change calls for continuous improvement of their thought processes, methods of functioning, technological upgrades, system updates and so on.
Among all businesses, the jewellery market is a dynamic one with heavy competition, daily price fluctuations, high-priced offerings, and variable margins. Retail jewellers have to improve themselves continuously to maximize profits and minimize inventory, thus optimizing their efficiency. Here is a valuable insight from an Expert Retail Consultant on why and how continuous improvement is a must for the jewellery business.
Why is continuous improvement necessary for the jewellery market?
Heavy competition is here to stay
The Indian jewellery market consists of 300,000 players and valued at $60 billion in 2017 (source:IBEF). To gain an edge over the competition, every jewellery retailer must take efforts to improve his trade practices. Be it stock management, price fixation, promotion, marketing or even infrastructure, the jewellery retailer must consistently upgrade his skills and approach towards the market and customers.
Branded jewellery is increasing market share
The Indian Jewellery market is primarily local but is also seeing a steady increase in the number of “organised and better-managed brands”. Starting off with Tanishq as a major early success of branded jewellery, many a local traditional family store has turned into a local brand. Every city or town or village has its own local brand or a regional brand or a national brand. Branded jewellery will soon become the call of the day by 2020 says McKinsey.
To compete with world standards, the hesitant Indian jeweller has to upgrade his quality, polish, cut and shine. This requires constant innovation and improvement.
Customer expectations are changing
Today’s age is that of information. Every many a customer who enters the jewellery shop knows all there is about KDM, Hallmark, 916, Carat and many other jewellery terms. If you wish to convert the customer, you must possess extra information to convince her that you know something more whether it is the latest design trend or the manufacturing specialty of the product, the history of the product, the design inspiration or some other insight that can satisfy the customer. It could even be how a particular jewellery matches the dress or the occasion for the wearer. This requires the Indian jeweller to update his knowledge bank and be one step ahead.
Changing market dynamics
Gone are the days of climbing up and down the stairs of multiple “brick-and-mortar” jewellery stores to purchase ornaments. Now consumers check out jewellery stores online either on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, shortlist the stores they want to visit. They may even visit the store’s website to check what else is being highlighted there. They will check the Google for customer feedback. Good presence on social media is now a necessary requirement for the jeweller to compete in the market.
Pricing for 24 carats and 22-carat gold are easy to find out even before stepping into the store! Standard designs and their approximate making charges are again quite easily known to customers. This makes it easy for customers to compare the pricing details and choose among the jewellers. Here the marketing skills of the jeweller come into play to get them into the store and having trained staff to convert the knowledgeable “walk in person” into a customer .
Payment methodologies also have transformed to moving beyond cash to other available options like Credit or Debit cards, Bank transfers, even digital wallets Paytm etc. The jewellery retailer must support all these payment options to give the customer a user-friendly shopping experience.
Lean Concept of continuous improvement
Management gurus have propounded a number of theories to help organizations enhance productivity. One such concept is the “Lean concept” which has made a major turnaround on maximizing the efficiency of processes through the implementation of its principles.
The Lean Concept focuses on minimization of “waste” at all levels. This can be particularly important for a jewellery retailer in maximizing his efficiency and profits.
The Waste can be eliminated by the application of the Lean concept at 3 stages
- Design stage– Eliminating unwanted or unproductive practices proactively at this stage helps save a lot of effort.
- Planning stage– Precise planning, scheduling inventory, timing campaigns etc can save time, money and effort
- Operations stage– Execution of process may also have wasteful practices like duplication, negligence, overshoot etc. which can be avoided to optimize operations.
This is just a “bird’s eye view” of how the Lean concept of continuous improvement can help a jeweller retailer. For the more in-depth understanding of this priceless concept, enroll in the “Vitamin Money Program for Progressive retailers” and watch your jewellery business shine some more!