Rupesh Jain, Founder and CEO, Candere by Kalyan Jewellers

Enterprises in the retail sector have started deploying various new-age technologies and solutions to streamline their operations and enhance business efficiency. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and robotics are being used to provide a personalised experience to customers and offer customised products and services. Industry leaders share their views on how information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming the retail sector, the opportunities and challenges that it presents, and the way forward…

What are the key technology trends dominating the retail sector and how has the adoption of next-generation technologies such as AI, IoT, robotics and AR/VR been going?

Recently, the retail industry has seen significant changes, with retailers adopting business strategies that make them resilient, adaptable and agile in the face of challenges. The retail narrative has shifted from “Caveat Emptor” to “Caveat Ven­ditor”, to protect and enforce the rights of consumers. As online retail grows, providing an immersive and personalised virtual experience becomes increasingly im­por­tant. Jewellery brands are also leveraging real-time data analytics to learn about key performance indicators, such as customer engagement, loyalty, purchases, product returns, repeat purchases and customer retention.

AI integration has raised the bar for je­wellery creation by skillfully recreating and incorporating detailed patterns into a wider range of fine jewellery items. AI to­ols also offer enormous possibilities for personalised jewellery design based on consumer preferences. With advanced technologies such as AR/VR, it is now possible to bring offline experiences into online settings. Jewellery brands are increasingly using AR to connect with customers. Besides, IoT in jewellery allows businesses to optimise their profit potential by adjusting their marketing methods and content. Jewellery brands are also experimenting with virtual jewellery consultations. Leveraging AI-powered analytics and customisation to understand the numerous client touchpoints hel­ps create a personalised and unique consumer experience.

What are the key technologies being adopted by your organisation? What are the challenges faced while deploying these solutions?

Candere has embraced and deployed multiple technologies to ease customer transition to the digital world. For example, our AI-driven chatbot, Alia, provides 24×7 as­sistance for support queries. We have also included voice search since internet usage has shifted from desktop to mobile. The difficulty in its implementation was getting multiple systems to communicate with each other and achieving results that were closer to 100 per cent.

What new opportunities have opened up with the digitalisation of the sector? How are you tapping them?

India’s jewellery sector is rapidly transforming because of increased internet and smartphone adoption across the consumer spectrum. As income levels rise and more reliable payment and logistics networks for e-commerce are developed, digitally co­nnected shoppers in India are becoming more familiar and comfortable with purchasing jewellery online. Candere is revolutionising the online jewellery purchasing experience by catering to the needs of 20,000 odd domestic pin codes due to the rapid digitalisation of Tier-II and Tier-III cities and robust delivery for consumers.

Going forward, what technological trends are expected to shape the sector?

Jewellery companies are using technology-driven methods to meet the evolving de­ma­nds of consumers. AR, for example, pro­vi­des immersive digital surroundings with di­gitally created information or images. Ma­rketing campaigns incorporating 3D models of the jewellery items, try-on applications and AR display devices that allow buyers to examine jewellery pie­ces up close are just a few ways to implement AR in your jewellery business. As customer expectations and visual preferences evolve, jewellery brands are also ad­ding 360-degree product views. As we live in an era with mo­re data and information than ever, brands must provide customers with trustworthy and credible information that embodies relevance and accessibility. Jewellery brands can offer a seamless shopping experience to their customers by implementing an omni-channel marketing strategy.