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Planning for the new financial year, a jeweller’s guide to 23-24!

The world of fine jewellery is going to see many changes over the next one year, given the dynamism and uncertainty global markets are going through at the moment. As we sit back and look at what we have achieved over the last one year, we must also plan for the year ahead. A wise business leader plans for today and tomorrow alike.

Goal setting: Setting the right goals for your business is at the intersection between the ambitious and the realistic. Find that balance. It will help create the path for the entire organization to move forward in. Goal setting is always the first step. This can be achieved by studying the financial performance of the year gone by, the hits and the misses. What products worked, what markets worked, what are the gaps in the current business, everything comes to the fore with only a little bit of digging and financial reading. Giving this exercise its due will also help you create your budgets and streamline processes that are inefficient as well as costly.

Customer Data: Know your customer better! What their likes are, what their dislikes are, their fashion preferences, occasions they love to celebrate, their surfing habits, what they purchase and how frequently. Having a finger on the pulse of the customer will help you streamline your merchandise at stores and overall inventory levels. It will also help design the right collections and prepare the sales teams to sell those collections. Knowing your customer deeply helps create a marketing plan that speaks to them directly. One can also fine tune loyalty programs because of the deep insight in customer behavior and choices.

Hedging: Hedging is an exceptionally valuable strategy for jewellers in times of uncertainty and price fluctuations. Jewellers must manage risk to ensure financial stability, protect their profit margins, increase customer trust due to consistent and stable pricing and remain competitive in the market! Some common hedging instruments that jewellers can use to hedge against gold price fluctuations include gold futures, options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These financial instruments allow jewellers to take positions that can offset potential losses resulting from changes in gold prices. However, it's crucial to understand the risks involved in hedging and work with financial experts to develop a suitable strategy tailored to the your specific needs and risk tolerance.

Design Research and trend Analysis: Customer tastes are forever evolving. Today, India enjoys the benefits of a young populace that is not only tech savvy but also has its own choices, more driven by their own personality than traditions or the culture of where they come from. Customers are well read and well researched, they know what they want and earning their brand loyalty doesn’t come easy. Brands must conduct deep research in design and international fashion trends to stay up to date with the market and create offerings that wow customers of different demographics. Meeting customer expectations on the product side is half the battle won. By being among the first to offer new, on-trend designs, jewellers can set themselves apart from competitors and attract customers looking for the latest styles. Developing a culture of innovation within the company is the product of having a focused design research and trend analysis effort. It ensures high competitiveness as well as a highly optimized inventory. Back this by creating targeted marketing campaigns will not only help drive sales but also boost brand image!

To conduct effective design research and trend analysis, jewellers can utilize various sources, including fashion magazines, industry reports, trade shows, social media, and consumer behaviour studies. By staying informed and adapting to the ever-changing preferences of our customers, we can ensure the continued success and growth of the business. In a consumer driven market, longevity of a brand is created in the research wing!

Technology: Today, rapid investments in upgrading your business’s technological support system will define if you can keep up with the rest of the world. India is a highly adaptable country when it comes to technology and jewellers must invest in tech. From UPI payment mechanisms to AI, from data extrapolation softwares to strengthening your ecommerce tech, from collaborative tools to digital marketing tools, jewellers must focus on moving from age old ways of processing business to fast and accurate technology products. Embracing technology can help jewellers stay competitive, innovate, and thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Employer Branding: India has seen a huge uptick in gig workers! We are partly a gig economy today after the pandemic. Bringing in and retaining the right talent Is the single biggest challenge that businesses face today. Talent can be anywhere, but attracting it, training it and aligning it with company goals is the biggest area of focus for 23-24! A great team can move mountains and achieve financial results beyond goals set. Hence, employer branding is the next big thing to look at for the upcoming year. To thrive in this competitive market, real estate companies must embrace the power of employer branding and create a winning strategy that resonates with the workforce. Branding awareness and effort can no longer remain customer facing. It must also incorporate communication that speaks with potential employees. A compelling narrative will always catch the eye of that one talented person that the team could be better with, allowing us to find the figurative needle in a haystack! A positive employer brand can enhance a jeweller's overall brand image, as it signals that the company values its employees and is committed to their well-being. This can resonate with customers, who may view the jeweller as more ethical and responsible player, leading to increased trust and loyalty.

I Hope this article serves as a guide and road map to my industry peers and colleagues, especially young jewellers in the industry! Wishing everyone a fantastic new financial year!

Dr. Saurabh Gadgil, Chairman and Managing Director, PNG Jewellers

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