Amazon India grows 150 pc in a category which Flipkart is yet to build onAthira Nair
Amazon Fashion has launched Prime selection for gold coins to be delivered within two to four days in select cities.
Homegrown e-commerce player Flipkart has claimed to have 70 percent market share in online fashion along with its sister companies Myntra and Jabong. Since fashion is the highest margin category and offers high repeat purchase rates, its rival Amazon India has also been building on the category especially over the last 12 months. Now, the US-based titan has said that ‘precious jewellery’ – under Amazon Fashion – has grown by 150 percent in the past one year, amply supported by more than 100 brands providing more than a lakh styles.
Reports have stated that Flipkart is also planning to tie up with precious jewellery brands to build on this category. Curiously, these developments in both parties follow leading online jewellery brand CaratLane quitting both platforms citing very low sales.
However, Amazon India claims that the growth has been massive. Arun Sirdesmukh, Head of Amazon Fashion, says that this growth shows how Indian online shoppers are maturing. “Early adopters of e-commerce have grown from handbags and shoes to higher ticket items such as precious jewellery, because of the trust we have gained over the years. We launched this category only in Q3 of this fiscal. We have seen fast adoption.”
Currently, top selling sub categories within Amazon’s precious jewellery category are pendants, earrings, gold chains, and nose pins. Most popular products are Tushi Necklaces, Gold Chains, 22K Gold Bangles, 22K Gold Necklaces, Diamond Earrings, and Diamond Nose Pins.
Solving a pain-point
Precious jewellery is not an easy category to crack in e-commerce. But Amazon, with more than two decades of e-tail experience and a thorough understanding of the Indian market, has innovated for the consumer who might be sceptical of buying gold and diamonds online. For instance, they provide price breakup similar to offline retailers (including making charges, gold weight, precious stones). Since gold prices are dynamic, Amazon does real-time tracking, and prices are updated by sellers accordingly.
Returns in precious jewellery, Arun says, are mostly due to size-related issues. In such cases, an exchange request is registered automatically, and pick-up is processed without any hassle of email or calls. Arun adds that size chart adoption is high. “Brands have been educated for that. Customer reviews on the fit also helps,” he says.
Amazon has also collaborations with many brands for introducing their latest collections exclusively on their platform – ‘First on Amazon’.
Even delivery is done through special carriers meant for fulfilment – sealed in water proof packages. Road is the only mode of transfer for entire transport. Amazon Fashion has also launched Prime selection for gold coins to offer deliveries within two to four days in select cities.
The demand for diamond jewellery is well spread across tier I, II, and III cities. Diamonds/gemstones set in 14KT jewellery are also gaining popularity as they are lighter on the pocket.
Game of brands
Amazon Fashion claims to have not just the largest selection of 22K gold jewellery and diamond jewellery, but also the largest selection of gold coins with brands such as Joyalukkas, Malabar Gold & Diamonds, Senco Gold, MMTC-PAMP, Kundan, Bangalore Refinery, IBJA Gold, RSBL, etc.
Since most jewellery retailers start off as regional players, Amazon Fashion says they have helped them (regional brands) get national reach. For example, a jeweller based out of Kolkata known for designs peculiar to the East, has over 70 percent of their business coming from outside the state. Similarly, a brand known for its strong presence in the South, has over 40 percent of its business from the Northern and Western India.
Even for established brands, e-commerce has opened up new venues. Suvankar Sen, Executive Director, Senco Gold and Diamonds, says, “As an 80-year-old company which has always thought progressively of new ideas and initiatives, we have seen huge synergy with Amazon India and its philosophy to reach out to customers and give them customer-centric service. Not only has our brand awareness increased across India through the platform but we have also been able to sell our handcrafted gold jewellery to customers across India.” He adds that Amazon India has helped them understand what the modern customers of India want, and they now sell lightweight collections in pendants, earrings and rings in addition to 22K Gold Jewellery.
Online sales for precious jewellery tends to spike at the same time when the offline sales do – for occasions like Akshaya Tritiya, Valentine’s Day, Dhanteras, Raksha Bandhan, etc. Amazon is partnering with its top brands for Akshaya Tritiya 2018 for fresh selection. They aim to have 300 brands by next fiscal year.