Mumbai-based Ejohri is on-boarding jewellers from metros and small towns on a single platform that functions as an online marketplace and as an offline retailers’ discovery platform.
Twenty years ago, two brothers from Ahmedabad realised their dream to become diamond merchants, with a fully equipped factory and a team of skilled craftsmen in Mumbai. Shailen Mehta, 47, and Jignesh Mehta, 44, created their own brand of solitaire diamonds, Divine Solitaires, in 1998. Today, their brand is available in140 stores across 73 cities.
Cut to two decades later, when ecommerce had become mainstream even outside metro cities. Shailen and Jignesh decided to enter the world of ecommerce and go beyond diamonds. Deciding to be an online marketplace, they launched Ejohri, which translates to e-jeweller, in 2015.
Precious jewellery is not like any other segment in retail. Customers are particular about the touch-and-feel factor for this high-ticket item. Experienced in the business, Shailen knew omni-channel would be the right route to take. After due research, Ejohri started melding the traditional jewellery market with modern technology in 2017.
Aiming to bring together the entire spectrum of jewellers in the country on a single platform, Ejohri is an ecommerce marketplace as well as an offline retailers’ discovery platform.
The jewellery offered on Ejohri includes gold, diamond, gemstones, cubic zirconia, polki, platinum, solitaire, silver, Kundan, and Temple in the form of rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces, sets, nose pins, bangles, bracelets, and chains. The other offerings include tanmania, mangalsutras, gold watches, spectacles, pens, and cufflinks. Prices vary from Rs 250 to Rs 33 lakh.
Offline meets online
Ejohri showcases products from the jewellers they have on-boarded. You can buy products online, or go to the store (mentioned with each product) and check them out before buying offline. The company has on-boarded 54 jewellers from 24 cities, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Indore, Kanpur, and Kolhapur among others.
Ejohri claims that they have grown from 2,500 products in March 2017 to 14,000 products now.
Shailen says, “We bring on-board any jeweller who has an offline outlet and is known in the area for a long time. Well-known ones include Waman Hari Pethe (Mumbai), Ranka Jewellers (Pune), Adgaonkar Saraf (Nashik), Ghanasingh Mahesh (Mumbai), IBJA Gold (Mumbai), and Shree Balkrishna Jewellers (Jamnagar).”
He believes that with the advent of ecommerce even bigger players like Tanishq and Kalyan Jewellers will have to join the online bandwagon.
“Putting up billboards and hoardings in cities is expensive and reaches only a limited audience. But if the sellers spend 10 percent of their marketing budget online, they can reach a much larger customer base. We aim to be the technology partner for these sellers,” Shailen says.
According to him, with better technology, which Ejohri is now building, consumer behaviour and buying patterns can be studied, enabling sellers to keep inventory according to demand. Their four-member tech team is now incorporating machine learning into their technology for a better consumer experience.
Targeting a large customer base
Ejohri’s customers are mostly men and women above the age of 25 years. They have access to the internet and plan to buy jewellery for occasions like proposals, wedding, anniversary, and gifting, as well as formal and informal wear.
According to Shailen, there are gaps in the buying and selling experience in the jewellery space. For instance, there are double income households where family members are always short of time and find it tough to go to different stores to shop for jewellery.
“Due to our associations with more than 50 renowned jewellery brands, customers who are loyal to their favourite jewellers (because of quality, payment systems, or comfort with their jeweller’s guidance) can get the same products at Ejohri,” he adds.
There are also people, from other cities in India and abroad, keen to buy from their favourite jewellers in their hometown. Ejohri also helps them by delivering to 50 countries, including the US, UK, and Singapore.
Customers in Tier III and IV towns, who usually make day trips to bigger cities to purchase jewellery for occasions, are also Ejohri’s target as the online jeweller believes it can help them save time and energy.
Their average ticket size in India for online sales is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000, for international orders, the ticket size is above Rs 50,000.
On the right track
Established online jewellers Caratlane and Bluestone are brands that manufacture and sell their own products, unlike Ejohri which is a marketplace. While those two are fighting offline retailers for customers and market share, Ejohri is all about embracing retailers.
Shailen says Ejohri has the advantage of more designs than both, which is significant for customers who want unique designs (unlike in standardised commodities like mobile phones).
Another online jewellery marketplace VelvetCase offers its own designs along with those from sellers on its platform. But Ejohri does not have a private label. Wouldn’t a private label be better for making profit?
Shailen says, “If we get 250 jewellers on board, we will be profitable in two years. With better technology, we can charge higher commissions for different subscription packages. Also, we charge 4 percent extra for online sale of gold jewellery.”
Ejohri receives three or four online orders per day. The online jewellery marketplace carries out the logistics on its own, by collaborating with top logistics companies.
“We have a team that coordinates with our logistics partners, who manage the VAL (valuable) cargo and ensure timely and quick delivery. Companies like FedEx even provide armed men/bodyguards in the van while delivering goods worth lakhs of rupees,” Shailen says.
Ejohri claims that their platform has enabled 260 store visits to date and purchases worth Rs 34 lakh. Since September 2017, they have made Rs 2 crore in GMV, with Rs 50 lakh online and the rest coming from discovery on their platform and purchase at offline stores. Ejohri takes no commission for offline sales. They follow a subscription-based revenue model, charging each seller an annual fee of Rs 50,000.
Building the business
By the end of 2018, Ejohri hopes to achieve Rs 5 crore in GMV (online and offline together) by on-boarding more than 200 jewellers and listing more than 50,000 products. Currently, they have around 20,000 registered customers.
Shailen says Ejohri will be profitable by 2020, and aims to expand to Canada and Australia soon.
According to IBEF data, India's gems and jewellery exports rose 11 percent annually to $6.78 billion in April-May 2017, and the market is home to more than 5,00,000 players, with the majority being small players. This provides a large opportunity to Ejohri, even if 1 percent of jewellery retail comes online.
In fact, Shailen says that by 2020 he foresees the Indian jewellery market to be approximately Rs 3.5 lakh crore, out of which Rs 50,000 crore will be online sales.
“We aim to enable 20 percent of online and 10 percent of offline sales via Ejohri,” he says.