By Monika Pal Sood, Co-Founder, Youshine
Youshine is an online boutique for artificial jewelry and fashion accessories. It is a one-of-a-kind specialty retail concept that promises to change the way Indian women look at Fashion Jewellery and Accessories.
The kind of headway that the e-Commerce industry has made in India needs little re-emphasis. In categories such as apparel, books and electronic goods, shopping online has become the primary mode of transaction. However, the trend took time to sweep the market over just like any other novel phenomenon. Many naysayers had predicted that online shopping couldn’t replace the emotional appeal of walking into a huge bookstore or the importance of checking the size of a dress one is buying for that big event. However, they were proved wrong and shoppers embraced the convenience of virtual retail to an unanticipated extent. The same tendency is now being seen in the category of jewellery and accessories and the industry’s boom on virtual platforms is certain.
In India, buying jewellery has traditionally been synonymous with sitting for hours with the trusted family jeweller and picking out designs at leisure. However, things are changing and not too many women, who comprise the primary target market for this segment, have the time these days to travel to far-away markets and hop shops to find the perfect neckpiece. This is where jewellery shopping via e-commerce comes in.
While not too many people may still be comfortable making their big-ticket purchases online, as far as fashion jewellery and accessories are concerned, online shopping is catching up faster than a forest fire. This is also because in jewellery, one doesn’t necessarily need to try a piece on before buying it. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets generally come in standardized sizes so the issues of fitting and comfort etc. don’t apply here. Additionally, if one is buying from a trusted e-retailer, one also has the assurance that the product will be exactly as it is shown on the website, contributing to the propensity to click on the checkout tab. The other significant virtues of e-Commerce apply to the success of the jewellery category as well. Costs of buying online are typically lesser, it is easier to navigate through a wide variety of options across sites, one doesn’t have to buy on the first visit for the sake of appearances and the unparalleled comfort of shopping from home or office can simply not be replaced by offline retail.
In order to drive sales further and grab a meatier chunk of the customers’ wallets, jewellery businesses need to have a few basics in order. The primary one of course is variety. Consumers enter the virtual space to shop with a motive of finding the most stellar, differentiated and exquisite designs. Pricing is the next biggest driving factor. When buying virtually, a consumer expects to find products that are priced more competitively than their counterparts in the physical space. The content on the website or mobile app is also essential to tempt the buyer into making the purchase. Each SKU must be accompanied by pictures and text that give a true and comprehensive picture of the jewellery item. Quick shipping, home trials, easy returns and no-questions-asked refunds are other pivotal points that every e-commerce site has to deliver for a superior customer experience.
Going forward, this industry is only going to gain more traction. Hybrid formats where an online retailer also has limited but easily-accessible physical presence has really been working, especially in cases where the jewellery items being sold are real and not imitation. In fact, many offline retailers are now tying up with established e-Commerce platforms to leverage the benefits, wide reach and rising popularity of virtual retail. This is a clear demonstration of the potential of online selling in this category.
Another manifestation of the potential that industry leaders see in e-retail for jewellery is the kind of investment various ventures in this space have received. With angel and institutional investors from across the world bringing in huge capital inflow to the workings of online platforms in this space, there is certainly tremendous growth, evolution and scaling up to look forward to.
As internet penetration amongst women in India improves, the size of the e-commerce market in general expands and online shopping becomes a household phenomenon across geographies, the rapid escalation of the jewellery segment in this domain is definite. With saved costs on logistics and inventory storage, businesses are getting online through web and mobile in the most unprecedented manner ever. Add to this, the Indian love for jewellery, both ethnic and western and the promising outlook for the industry becomes clearly undisputable.