This SaaS startup helps unorganised jewellery retailers go digital, free of cost
The jewellery market in India is dominated by small and medium jewellery stores, many of whom have been left behind in the post-pandemic race for digitisation. As with everything else, the pandemic also changed how people shopped for jewellery, and this shift in shopping behaviour means customers now prefer to browse a store’s app or website or both.
Helping jewellery stores go online is Bengaluru-headquartered, a startup that aims to facilitate the digitisation process of unorganised jewellery retailers in a seamless manner.
Founded by Vikas Verma and Anuj Sachdev in 2021, the startup has unveiled a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for the jewellery industry, where stores, particularly small-sized ones, are able to provide multiple online services like showcasing their products, buying digital gold, making payments etc.
The founders of Goldsetu come from differing backgrounds. Vikas has spent more than a decade in the venture capital and private equity industry while Anuj, a technologist, has successfully exited from his two previous ventures as an entrepreneur.
Both Vikas and Anuj wanted to enter an entrepreneurial space which was large in value, but relatively untouched by technology. They looked at agriculture and jewellery spaces, and zeroed in on the latter.
“We saw that the jewellery industry in India was on the cusp of a digitisation wave and we wanted to create an operating system for this large value chain,” says Vikas.
The value of jewellery market in India has grown from Rs 3,437 billion in 2016 to Rs 6,180 billion in 2021, according to Statista. This industry has over three lakh players contributing around 7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and is projected to touch a size of $100 billion by 2023.
However, here lies the challenge as despite these huge estimates, the industry has got very few branded or national players with access to all the latest technologies for a strong online presence. The sector is dominated by a large number of small jewellery shop owners who struggle to get the right digital platform.
Preventing them going online are many factors, chief of them all being cost. Small and medium store owners find it difficult to design and run a full-fledged website, and find it even harder to keep up the maintenance.
Goldsetu wants to solve this problem by providing these small jewellery shops with a platform to have a digital storefront, free of cost, to showcase their products online. The SaaS startup also provides them with market analytics on how their products are being viewed online by the customers.
As Vikas notes, “Larger players are able to provide that continuous engagement for the customers, but not small-scale jewellers.”
The digital platform is Goldsetu’s first and most basic offering for small players in the segment, but its SaaS platform offers other services like making payments, buying digital gold, taking an insurance cover, procuring gold loan, gold schemes etc. These services are charged at a nominal cost or on transaction-based commissions.
While the services provided by Goldsetu are front-end related, involving customer interactions, the startup also wants to digitise the stores’ backend operations.
This would include digitising the process of buying gold from suppliers or having access to a wide variety of jewellery designs, areas that largely fall under the ambit of inventory management.
According to Vikas, large jewellery brands have the resources to have their own in-house design team, but this is not always the case with smaller retail outlets. “We can give them a design bank, and if a customer likes it, then the procurement is done,” he notes.
Goldsetu introduced its services in February this year, and has already onboarded nearly 350 jewellery stores - from metros and non-metros. The founders of the startup have met all their customers.
“While on the one side we have removed the customer engagement gap, on the other side, we have streamlined the processes of procurement,” says Vikas.
Goldsetu follows an asset light model, which means its clients, the jewellery stores, are not burdened with making any kind of investments in buying any hardware or software. The startup’s offerings are available as an app for the store owners.
With a first-mover advantage, Goldsetu does not have much direct competition per se, but do face rivalry in other niche segments like gold loan, insurance etc, from other startups such as Bikayi, Dukaan, Ruptok, and Rupeek among others.
Vikas says unlike other players that enable the creation of a digital storefront, Goldsetu is more specific to the jewellery industry with its products tailored for the sector.
“Our advantage is the platform that we have built, where the jewellery store not only gets more customers but also makes higher revenue.”
Goldsetu has already raised $1.2 million in seed round from the likes of Village Global, Better Capital, Titan Capital and other angel investors. This startup is now a 20-member team.
On future plans, Vikas says, “We want to be the operating system where Goldsetu is the largest jeweller without actually touching the gold.”