The online jewellery segment seems to be heating up with rise in demand and online players eager to please customers with options. Testimony to this is Bluestone’s effort to raise $25 million in a fresh round of funding, to support its plans for expansion and growth.
The company hopes to triple its current turnover of Rs 100 crore; plans are also underway to increase employment to 400 or more.
“We will be profitable by 2017-18 despite our continued investments in growing our business. Ours is not an inventory-led business model. We make and deliver after we receive orders from customers unlike offline jewellery stores that store large inventory,” said Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, founder and CEO, BlueStone.com.
“We launch two jewellery collections a month and 20 collections a year compared to large offline players that launch three collections over three years. Most important, our range of 3,500 unique designs is easily double that of any offline store today and we plan to enhance it to 30,000 unique designs in the next 2 years,” he added.
How has Bluestone’s growth been?
The sales numbers indicate that around 50,000 people have shopped from Bluestone from all over the country so far. While average selling price was Rs 12,000 initially, it has shown a steady increase to be Rs 20,000 now. The company expects this figure to rise upward going forward.
Although jewellery is available in the affordable range now, most people prefer to see the pieces before investing in them. To gain customers’ trust, Bluestone has taken various steps:
- Opened experience/display centres in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
- Home-try service was launched a year ago, which has a traction of 150-200 customers every month and around 70 percent conversions.
“Typically, customers who want to buy high value jewellery like bangles and necklaces opt for the home try-on service, which has been very successful for us,” said Kushwaha.
Strategically, Bluestone targets customers in the age group of 25-35 as they are the ones tied up with work schedules in today’s fast world.
Bluestone’s model of operation
Unlike physical shops that store inventory, Bluestone has its own factory in Mumbai where orders are manufactured once customers place them. This ensures there is no dead stock and only the ones that are needed by customers are made.
Also, 80% of their workforce is people from the jewellery sector who knows and understands the nuances of jewellery. Only 20% is ecommerce skilled to handle the online retailing operations.
While the fine jewellery segment is valued at $60 billion, online jewllery accounts for only about $50-100 million of it. It would be interesting to see how much of this increases with Bluestone’s efforts to capitalize on the popularity of online jewellery shopping.