Now that e-commerce has become the order of the day, jewellers are giving it all they have to leverage this medium and establish communication with their customers to sell gems and jewellery. But what jewellers do not realise is that the online audience is not the same as those who walk into their stores. Their needs, approach, buying behaviour, and outlook are way different – they are the digital natives – younger millennials (32 years to 24 years) and the Gen Z (23 years to 8 years).
What makes them all the more important in today’s context is that 30 per cent of India’s population is Gen Z and if it is combined with the older and younger millennials, it amounts to 64 per cent. As the biggest population with more spending power than the older generation, this audience segment will represent almost two-thirds of the total gems and jewellery demand value in the near future. Even before the Corona crisis befell, this audience would go online to buy small items and now too, they are loading their shopping cart and who knows, they may set out for shopping once things get back to normal.
According to Sweta Ranka, the Head of Online Education IGI, New Delhi, a lot of these people will do stress shopping to make themselves feel in control of their life, post-pandemic. “This is the time for the jewellers to connect with this set of people and assure them that we are with you and life will get back to normal,” she informed. Before we delve deeper, let’s understand how these new-age buyers think, behave and interact.
Future Jewellery Buyers
The new-age buyer’s focus is on earning and saving not for the future but to fulfill their aspirations. Unlike the older generations who look at luxury goods as a status symbol, for them luxury goods are more about experiences. So, when they buy gems and jewellery, it is neither for investment nor to show off. They buy it as a lifestyle.
And when it comes to making a purchase, they make an informed decision. “They do not buy any product instantly. Since they are born with the internet, they first research it online, find the best price for it, and decide to buy the product after analysing the pros and cons. They are interested in shopping haul videos. They may also go to the store, try colours and sizes, and then come back and buy them online at a better price. They also spend time reading buyers’ reviews. Although they are financially savvy, this does not mean that they understand finance,” she described.
Sweta also went on to reveal a crucial difference between the previous and the current generation of buyers. “The previous generation would feel guilty when they would switching brands. They are of the view that if they buy from another jeweller, the first one will feel bad. The young millennials and Gen Z do not think that way. Their connection with a brand is as long as they are in sync with them,” she added.
New-age Wedding Jewellery
Fret not, wedding jewellery is here to stay. This generation very much believes in the institution of marriage. They also value traditions and see jewellery as an integral part of their weddings and religious ceremonies. This means the future of wedding jewellery is secure. But yes, what and how they will buy jewellery for weddings will change. “They will buy lesser but of more value. Instead of the entire family deciding on the number of jewellery sets to buy like before, now they will take a call on that basis the use and preferences,” she opined.
According to her, the beams tilts more towards the contemporary designs that go with their attire and lifestyle. “You see lots of women-folks these days teaming Polki jewellery with western outfits. You will also spot married ladies wearing sleek Mangalsutra and some of them, even flaunting this marital symbol on their wrist as bracelets. Even Ring Mangasultra has become quite a rage amongst them,” she updated.
Yet she feels there is absolutely no need to change the inventory. “Just revise the perceived value of the existing jewellery collections. Tell them about the traditional relevance and design processes of these jewels to the young buyers in their language. Also, shed some light on the history of the particular style of jewellery and present it as an art, a culture. If you sell it to them as a story and not as a product, they will definitely want to buy it,” she guided.
Citing the example of traditional saree sellers on various social media platforms, she explained how talking about the products history, relevance, and handiwork help attract millennials and Gen Z. “When the tradition is presented with full information, the new generation buyer accepts it. This approach will enable your current collections to connect with the new-age buyers,” she added.
Post-COVID Marketing Approach
COVID-19 has brought about various radical changes in the way we look at life. Our mindset has evolved. Suddenly, for everybody, security and family are more important. Especially this generation of buyers have become more socially and environmentally aware. Plus, they are now more conscious of their value sets and feel compassionate towards others.
Sweta believes that in line with their newfound outlook, jewellers will have to strategies their branding activities. For instance, jewellers can highlight their eco-friendly ways of sourcing raw material – could be recycling gold to make jewellery. They can also let these new-age buyers know about their CSR activities or any charity work they do for society’s welfare. Even conveying how they care about their staff and providing the best working environment will go a long way in earning their loyalty.
“Even if they are not your customers, they will still take in the information and if they relate to you, they may come to the next time. In a nutshell, the transformation from ‘what you wear’ to ‘who you are’ within conscious luxury consumers will be of prime importance,” she pointed out.
Since this generation prefers spending on travel and leisure for experience and that due to the COVID scare, there is no such scene for some time, turning jewellery shopping into a virtual experience for them through augmented reality can be a great idea. “It will have twin benefits. While enabling contactless shopping, it will excite buyers for this all-new experience of shopping jewellery. Using your website, social media, or app allows them to try your jewellery through a virtual feature. So, even if they are not buying it right now, they would want to experience it,” she added.
Moreover, instead of checking 10,000 designs on a cluttered counter, they will be more than happy to go through just a few good ones with full details and transparency and find that desired piece.
In terms of designs, any kind of innovation, be it a unique designing technique or product technicalities, or branding will excite the young millennials and Gen Z. Moreover, even though they read up a lot online, note that their attention span is very short. “Do not bombard them with too much information. More than text communicate with them through images or videos,” she insisted.
Moreover, brands with larger-than-life images do not work for them. Instead, they prefer the ones that speak their language. “There is a huge section of the younger generation who are luxury consumers already. More than what they want to wear, what suits them to what is the latest trend, their attitude of what I am will have to be reflected more in your communications. So, brands that connect with this attitude will work more,” she added.
How to Leverage the Digital Space?
Since this audience is digitally active, jewellers should increase their online presence through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They need to start putting out blogs to given information about their jewellery.
“If you can interact with them through online messages, blogs, and videos, nothing like it. Also, post ads through social media, Google Ads, etc. But keep evolving, as it does not take long for this audience to move from one social media platform to another. You can also approach influencers and bloggers to promote your brand and collections on their platforms. It is equally important to communicate to your buyers about your company’s ethics and values through documentaries, videos, or blogs. “If they like your videos or blogs, they will share it on their timeline which will further boost your reach,” she added.
Given that you have to sell the story and not just a product, you can narrate the design process through videos, blogs, pictures, or short messages. You can also go for native promotions. “Here you can highlight the design process, how you sources the raw material, and yes, design inspirations behind each piece. Such stories get more attention like how enthusiasts look at paintings. Sell your gems and jewellery to the digital natives like art and that will distinguish jewellery from other luxury products,” she recommended.
Of all, one quality on which the whole industry can count on for its immediate, as well as later future, is that this generation of buyers are hopeful and believe that soon everything will come back to normal.
Every jewellery has a story. It is the essence of a moment. It captures your emotions. It is essentially an expression - of the maker, of the wearer, of the onlooker. Jewelpedia® narrates these untold stories from the glittering world of gems and jewellery.