For business inquiries contact Kashyap Mehta at +91 22 2387 6838 or kmehta[at]dtspoint.com
Oct 2008 – This is the first part of an on-going series of articles focusing on Online Diamond and Jewellery Trading by Indian companies. This article will focus on how selling online can help Diamond companies and their customers.
There are several options available to help Diamond Traders to sell online such as B2B Diamond Portals (IdexOnline, Polygon, RapNet), B2B Trade Portals (TradeKey, Alibaba) and B2C Trade Portals (eBay, Rediff). However, this article will focus on having your own E-Commerce enabled website which has several advantages to using 3rd party websites.
Future articles will cover several topics including ‘How to adapt your business to the Dot-Com world’, ‘Current Online Ventures by Indian Diamond companies’, ‘Online Jewellery Sales in India’, ‘Using B2B Portals to List your Inventory’ and ‘Aligning Business Processes to go Online’.
Why Sell Online?
The Indian Diamond and Jewellery industry has been relatively slow in adapting to the Dot-Com world. While companies such as Venus Jewels have clearly demonstrated the power of innovation in this space, the opportunities presented by the Internet have been largely untapped by Diamond trading and manufacturing companies in India.
An E-Commerce enabled website can provide your company with a Virtual Office that has an Automated Sales Force that does order processing, billing and even payment processing. It allows companies to keep a real-time inventory of diamonds and prices that can be dynamically calculated based on updated Rap pricelists.
Advanced Diamond E-Commerce Platforms not only allow Solitaires and Pairs but also allow selling of Parcels / Lots. Smaller and uncertified diamonds draw larger subjectivity into the valuation process making them harder to sell online and are still sold predominantly in brick-and-mortar settings. However, strict in-house grading methods and strong organizational policies, may arguably so, help customers gain confidence in buying diamonds through online methods.
Increased Market Reach
The Internet has allowed businesses to overcome geographical barriers and be accessible to customers in any part of the world. It can help you to reach smaller traders in little towns that may not be able to afford regular trips to buy diamonds from bigger trading centers such as Mumbai, Antwerp and New York. There are also diamond traders and jewellery manufacturers in developing countries in South America and Eastern Europe that do not have access to manufacturers in India.
E-Commerce has opened up new avenues that allow Indian Diamond manufacturers to skip the extra middlemen and reach out directly to diamond traders and jewellery manufacturers in smaller towns and developing countries.
More Customers Driven to Existing Channels
The Internet can help your company’s overall marketing strategy in bringing more customers to existing sales offices. There are several diamond traders who are tech-savvy and familiar with the internet, but are still not comfortable with buying stones online without looking at them personally. Even in such scenarios, your E-Commerce website may help reach out to such customers who can look at your inventory / pricelist online and then schedule an appointment to come in and look at the stones at one of your brick-and-mortar offices.
Enhanced Market Research
Tracking Customers on your website can also provide valuable insight into their preferences, ideas and attitudes. Information about what products customers are spending more time looking at, what customers are buying and not buying can provide more valuable insight than face-to-face interactions. Your E-Commerce website can also provide market research tools through the use of online surveys, chat groups, and discussion forums that can give you a live platform to share information
Improved Customer Service
By offering convenience to your customer of being able to Order from Anywhere – 24 hours a day – 7 days a week, with instant quotations and invoices, will ultimately add value to the company’s offerings and higher levels of customer satisfaction. It may also help in keeping customers informed by sending them inventory updates, allowing them to track their Shipments or sending auto-reminders about their Pending Payments.
Branch Office and Salesman Support
For larger organizations that have offices in several locations around the globe, maintaining and sharing inventory lists between different offices may become a time-consuming and error-prone task. An E-Commerce system is helpful for all Branch offices to keep a common inventory that can be accessed globally. This may also allow Marketing and Sales Executives to prepare Quotations and Invoices while on the move.
An E-Commerce Platform provides you with a Virtual Office, which for all practical purposes, is an additional sales office with No Inventory Cost, No Overheads and No Employee Costs. Setting up your own E-Commerce enabled website has now been made simple by readily available software that does not require any additional hardware to be bought. It is however, important that your everyday business practices are realigned to coexist with an E-Commerce Business model where inventory is regularly updated and online inquiries / orders are immediately attended to.