Ravi noticed her face glowing as she eyeballed the phone screen. “Beta, Avanti”- He called out. She remained fixed with her thumb constantly motioned on the screen. Ravi took a few steps towards her and in a higher pitched voice called out again, “Avanti!” “Huh?” she replied, as though she had woken up from a beautiful dream.
Ravi owns a local jewellery store in a bustling lane in Kalbadevi, Mumbai. The store is named after his beloved daughter – Avanti Jewels. Avanti is a beautiful young girl with an inquisitive mind. She is passionate about fashion and keeps up with the world of entertainment. Ravi’s desire is to enable her to help him in growing his retail business. However, he is a supportive father who encourages her interest in fashion.
“What is it that’s keeping you from paying attention to your father, beta?”
“I’m sorry, I was checking out some of the latest apparels being released for sale on this new website!” She tilts the phone towards him, nudging him to take a look. “And guess what! These are designer-made and they take custom orders too.” Her eyes glistened with joy as she expressed her excitement.
Ravi couldn’t understand the extent of her emotions. He simply offered a faint smile and said, “Okay, but will you please help me rearrange the shelves? Tomorrow is Saturday, and we’re likely to have more customers. In fact, the customers might barge in this evening itself.”
Avanti began to help him out with rearranging jewellery sets, cleaning the shelves, dusting the shop, and placing some chairs neatly in front of the display counter for customers. In the midst of it all, Ravi noticed his daughter keeping a tab of time by repeatedly looking up to the ticking clock hanging on the wall.
“What’s the matter, beta?” Ravi was curious. “Do you have other commitments? I notice you’re in a hurry.”
“Papa, remember the new website I was talking about? There’s a limited period off on their website. The sale starts at 4 PM and the first 10 lucky customers can avail custom designs from designers of their choice!!!”
“Interesting!” Witnessing her fascination, Ravi wanted to know more. He patiently waited for Avanti to speak.
“I want to be one among the 10. I have so many design ideas. Can’t wait to be a part of this!”
“Free custom designer wear for 10? The store is surely going to hit losses!” Ravi chuckled. “Anyway, I think I can do the rest by myself. It’s 10 minutes to 4, you may go participate! I really hope you win.”
“Thanks, Papa! I’ll be right back.” Avanti heads out of the store.
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Meanwhile, Chintu, a 19 year old boy from town helped Ravi deck up his store. Chintu has never been educated formally. But in his younger years, he sold different handmade bags and accessories for a living. While he possesses raw knowledge of art, he is a master in sales. Chintu knows how to connect with customers. He’s great at convincing people and persuading them to make a purchase.
Ravi is really fond of Chintu and therefore, he employed him as a salesperson at Avanti Jewels.
The store was sparkly clean! Ravi and Chintu sat back as they were all set to invite and serve customers. Meanwhile, Avanti walks into the store. Ravi and Chintu were overjoyed to witness her smile from ear to ear.
“Share with us the good news!” Ravi exclaimed.
“I couldn’t really make it among the first 10 but I won a discount coupon! I get 40% off on my next order.”
“Arey wah!” Chintu encouraged her. “Discount, offers, sale – these are like keys to unlock the customers’ heart,” he continued.
“Chintu, these online websites have a wider audience. There were thousands of people waiting patiently to be among the top 10. Within seconds, the website made incredible sales!”
“This is great! Technology truly demands businessmen to be on their toes.” Chintu smiles looking towards his mobile phone, “I am still figuring out how to add another person on a call!”
Avanti nods her head. “I will teach you. This is not rocket science. In fact, technology is made to ease our lives. Then why do you stress about using it?”
“Ease our lives? No, no. We’re happy running our physical store. Look at how wonderful this store looks! Just like our wonderful Avanti. We don’t want anything else,” said Ravi.
“Indeed this store is precious! But Papa, the world of business is dynamic. Especially the jewellery business! Have you known how competitive the world of gems and jewellery is on the internet?”
“Beta, it’s risky business. Venturing into a digital business place is like walking into a hollow space. There will be no walls, no physical touch, just images on a screen!”
“At least then we don’t have to worry about dusting the place!” Chintu laughs.
“Haha! There’s tremendous potential and opportunities in growing a business online. After all, the world resides on the internet. We can attract many more lp]customers and start expanding our business. What do you think?” Avanti said.
Ravi didn’t seem convinced. “Beta, online business is only for the big players. Small jewellers like me cannot afford to risk it online.”
“The internet has space for all. In fact, even beginners can start businesses online easily with the help of a few tools. A jeweller’s online interactions can lead to increased sales. One can build an audience online and lead them to the store. Moreover, omnichannel businesses are more likely to succeed. It’s all about branding nowadays.”
“Branding? What is that?” Chintu questioned.
“When I say toothpaste, what is the first name that pops in your mind?”
Chintu immediately replied, “Colgate!”
“Good! That’s branding –
The process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products or services in the customer’s mind. By using a combination of elements as logo, design, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications- be it a physical store or an online ecommerce store.” Avanti continued, “Also! These brands have a solid presence on social media. Businesses are targeting customers on social media using demographics and psychographics.”
“Slow down! Help me understand these terms you’ve been using.” Ravi was gradually developing an interest in understanding the concept of ecommerce.
“Customer data is available on the web. When people interact on social media sites, their data is stored. The web knows what the particular user likes, dislikes, or prefers. On the basis of this information, brands and businesses target customers.”
Ravi said, “That is incredible! If I want to push the sale of wedding rings, how shall I target potential customers?”
“Super easy! You can send out ads on social media feeds of single youth with an age bracket – say 23 to 30?”
Chintu seemed super impressed.
Avanti added, “When a person types a query on Google, the search engine understands that the person ‘needs’ that product/service. For instance, when a person looks for ‘best jewellery store in Mumbai’, Google starts sending jewellery store ads wherever they go- on third party websites, social media sites, etc. So, when Avanti Jewels bids for the same keyword on Google or other search engines, our ads can follow the customers everywhere.”
“I wish I could do that too!” Chintu giggled. “I can only follow them until they leave this door.”
Ravi seemed to buy the idea of expansion. However, he had his share of doubts.
“Avanti, what about this store then? Will our physical business come to an end?”
“Never! Retail stores exude an experience which no other platform could possibly offer. Sales through retail jewellery stores will seldom cease. However, expansion of business and embracing an omnichannel model for our business could be a total game changer. In fact, we could promote our stores through influencers on social media. Influencer marketing has multiplied opportunities for online and offline businesses too. As jewellers, we can target local influencers to increase footfalls. I cannot begin to imagine the potential of this business,” Avanti had passion in her eyes as she said these words. “Our wonderful Avanti Jewels will continue to flourish and prosper even as we explore newer markets and digital platforms for business.”
“I love this idea of expansion. But I guess I might have to look for another alternative. Ecommerce stores don’t need salespersons like me,” Chintu said.
“Chintu’s sales tactics need to be incorporated on a new platform! Marketing and sales on the internet is a whole new world. Only a skilled salesperson like Chintu will be able to help us ace the digital marketing game!”
A bright smile occurred on Chintu’s face. Ravi’s heart was overwhelmed with pride and hope, but he still wasn’t convinced. Maybe Avanti’s passion for style and fashion combined with a keen business outlook is the perfect recipe for the success of Avanti Jewels. Maybe not.
Only time will tell what eventually happens to this father daughter conversation and where it is headed. Many of today’s generation have been having the same conversations with their parents. But when the conversation has started, execution will eventually follow. Family based jewellery businesses are here to stay and here to thrive as long as they adapt.