Online retailers adopting offline routes with stores, trial rooms
If major retail chains in India are going online, the online retailers like Bluestone.com and others are also trying to establish an offline presence by setting up stores and trial rooms as they seek to build greater brand awareness.
Time is changing rapidly so are the ways of branding. Sometime back, creating an online presence was the line to tow. However, things are changing at a rapid space. Today, the renowned online retailers like Bluestone.com and others are rooting for creating their own store points to generate greater brand awareness.
Online jewellery store Bluestone recently opened guide stores in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi, where it displays prototypes of jewellery designs available on its website. “Jewellery is still considered a category where people want to touch and feel the product before making the purchase,” chief executive officer (CEO) Gaurav Singh Kushwaha said.
Earlier Chennai-based jewels and gems e-tailer CaratLane.com had also opened its first ‘Solitaire Experience Lounge’ in New Delhi and later at Hyderabad. This was the first such initiative in the Indian e-commerce landscape and helps customers to get a first-hand feel of the brand. The current upcoming trend is in complete contrast to the model of offline retailers such as Tanishq opening up their online store on the back of a large physical presence.
The Solitaire Experience Lounge is an on-ground extension of the CaratLane online store and aims to educate customers about diamonds and diamond buying. The Lounge will also help facilitate transactions by handholding customers through the entire buying process. The actual purchase of diamonds and other precious jewellery, however, can be made online at CaratLane.com or at the Experience Lounge.
The initiative is targeted at customers who are increasingly tuned to the idea of making high value purchases online, as also others who want to reach out to the traditional diamond and solitaire buyer who requires high personal attention due to the nature of the category. The basic idea is to bridge the online-offline gap between the consumers. Velvetcase.com, new e-tailer to enter the market in 2011 also believes in same. In fact, they have their own set-up in Mumbai, where consumers can see, touch and feel the product before actually going through the buying experience.
Other companies operating in the jewels e-tailing category are JewelsKart and BlueStone, with others such as Johareez, ANS Jewellery, Surat Diamond, following a slightly different model. Such stores will help online retailers gain more visibility and build a market presence rather than spend on customer acquisition.