LKS is one of the leading Gold retailers who have been in the sector for close to 100 years in India, and other parts of the world. Sarfaraz Syed Ahamed, Managing Partner, LKS Gold Haven represents the fourth generation from the family business.
Speaking to CMR, on the ways the COVID-19 has impacted the jewelry business he says, “The major impact is the dwindling walk-ins. This is understandable as I myself have not stepped out of my home unless it is absolutely necessary. Lower walk-ins translate to lower top line and bottom line. I opine that this will continue until the pandemic comes under control and people feel safe to move around.”
Echoing the fact that COVID-19 has revealed glaringly is that businesses can no longer ignore the importance of digitization. Gold jewelry being a very sentimental and a high end product may not be sold largely online but the processes leading to the sales at the store are now highly influenced by Digital Mediums. The line between online and offline has narrowed so much that it now looks like a dot.
“If someone had told me few months ago that this was possible in a family jewelry store I would have scoffed at them but today it happened. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Our flexibility and our fluidity to incorporate such things, which are the need of the hour, will determine the growth of our company.”Sarfaraz says.
Speaking on the ‘sentiments’ associated with Gold purchase in a store, he says that Gold jewelry purchase is, was and will always be seen as an investment. “Gold jewelry is the only asset that appreciates with time and usage. During the lockdown period gold prices have gone up by 20%.”, he says and further said many worry that this price increase may stop people from buying gold jewelry but he firmly believes consumers will stop buying gold jewelry if gold prices do not surge, as it does not add the value of investment / hedge against inflation.
Asked about the entry of smaller neighborhood stores, which brings a sentiments and proximity to the consumer and how organized trade can survive, he said. “It is not just many new small jewelers many big jewelers are also entering markets and expanding their presence nationally. I believe competition is healthy for a business. It keeps me on the vigil and helps me to try new things and come up with interesting ideas to improve my business. I stay concerned about my competition but I don’t let them consume me.”,
An important fact is every new player entering the market will bring along with them a new set of new walk-ins to the market. How I stand out of the crowd and make the customer notice me is the key to translate this market walk-in to my walk-in. Also being in the market longer than the new players gives me relatability (sentiment) with the customer which is a strong walk-in puller. “Whilst doing all this I also keep my existing customers in tact by communicating with regularly keeping them abreast with whatever new initiatives I am trying at my store and inviting them to be a part of it. , he said.
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