Jewellery major ORRA was launched in 2004 and leveraging its rich heritage, quickly rose to become one of the most-trusted diamond brands in the country. Over the years, ORRA has conducted an in-depth study of the international markets to map a journey of both diamond consumption as well as brands in this space. It has invested heavily in technology and e-commerce. In an exclusive interaction with Surabhi Khosla, Vijay Jain, CEO and Director, ORRA talks about why the company concentrates on retailing diamond jewellery in a gold-dominated market.
Please give us a brief background of ORRA’s history. When did you start retail operations?
ORRA’s journey began in 2004 through the reinvention of a family jewellery brand which was then called Inter Gold Gems and was largely run as a gifting brand in terms of smaller pieces of jewellery. In a gold dominated market, the company had very high aspirations and wanted to build a ‘diamond’ centric consumer business at a ‘national’ level. This meant not only building a scalable organization through an addition of people, technology, organizational structure, design focus and supply chain but also conceptualizing and launching a new brand.
What is your reach in terms of the total number of cities and outlets?
ORRA has a presence of 32 stores across 21 cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, and Pune amongst others. We have multiple stores in larger cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore.
How big is the market for the organized diamond jewellery retailing in India and what is the growth rate?
The diamond jewellery market in India has witnessed a healthy double-digit growth over the last few years. The gems and jewellery sector in India is vibrant with GDP growth and there is a direct co-relation between GDP and growth. In India, gold is the largest market, consisting of around 85 percent of the market, but over the last decade we have seen a very healthy growth in the diamond segment as well. Growing affluence amongst consumers will lead to an increased preference for diamonds and a larger recall in the mind of the consumer.
What are the factors propelling the diamond industry’s growth in India? Which compelling trends have you witnessed in India in this industry over the last few years?
Increasing disposable income of consumers, mobility of labour and the rise of nuclear families are the main factors responsible for growth of the diamond industry in the country.
The Indian woman today is more conscious about who she is as well as her appearance, which is another factor propelling growth. Contrary to popular belief, women are wearing more jewellery than earlier and have different pieces of jewellery for different occasions. However, the most significant shift has been from ‘locker’ jewellery to lightweight jewellery.
This, combined with higher disposal income, mobility of labour, and nuclear families, has added to growth.
What is your market positioning and customer profile?
ORRA is a premium diamond jewellery brand with an unparalleled diamond heritage of over 125 years, catering to an astute group of consumers. Our target audience are primarily women in the age group of 25 to 45 years, who have a discerning and uncompromising sense of style and aesthetics. These women are their own decision-makers. They are conscious of quality as well as know what value their money should buy them, which is why they invest their money in branded jewellery that exudes trust and assures them of fantastic quality.
What is the category split in terms of products currently available at your stores and their price range? Which price band is the most popular? Do you plan on category expansion?
ORRA is present across three categories – diamond, platinum and gold jewellery. Going forward, the focus will largely be on the patented ORRA Crown Star diamond – ORRA Crown Star diamond, a patented design with 73 facets vs. the regular 57 faceted diamond – apart from the regular diamond and platinum jewellery.
Unlike other categories in jewellery, it is possible to cater and own the consumer for their whole life-cycle tapestry. Therefore, going forward there will be a sharper focus on product offerings which can help in customer acquisition, such as ORRA Platinum Couples (his and her engagement bands), career carats for the bridal segment, spiritual themed collections for the consumer segment who is more spiritually inclined etc.
What is the location strategy for your stores – malls or high street – and why?
ORRA clearly focuses on standalone stores and not the shop-in-shop format. Historically, ORRA has been present in high street stores, but in the recent past has also been focusing on mall stores.
High street stores for ORRA have been traditionally larger and we tend to have higher value stock, and are largely dependent on the brand pull. In the malls, on the other hand, while the stores are smaller they have the advantage of the mall footfall and higher browsing by customers as well.
What is your marketing strategy? Which have been your most successful strategies to date? What impact do these have on your business?
We have been a firm believer in creating experiential marketing, thereby building trust and a long-term relationship with customers. Any communication or promotion is made robust with our integrated 360-degree approach. Keeping in tune with the changing media habits of our customers the brand has a renewed focus on new-age media like social media, brand & marketplace websites. We have a strong presence across popular social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
We engage our customers through value added content as well as transactional benefits through periodical exclusive offers. Usually, such promotional offers are in sync to the regional and national festive fervor. Our customers look forward to such ORRA sponsored celebration for the very fact that they find value in it and it adds to their festivities.
Tell us about your expansion strategy. Will you look at franchise stores in the future?
We are looking to open 8 to 10 new stores in Tier I and Tier II cities. We are looking to strengthen our national presence and are therefore setting up stores across India. We hope to build stores in a cluster i.e. multiple stores in a city. We already have cluster stores in Mumbai or expanding in regions like Delhi.
ORRA is also looking to franchise the business now. Since jewellers come with a particular mindset, we therefore prefer our partners to be people without a jewellery background. We spend a substantial amount of time, effort and energy in imparting knowledge to our franchise partners.
How focused are you on e-commerce and what revenues currently come from online sales? Do you have an online strategy? What are your e-commerce revenue targets for the future?
E-commerce has become too big to ignore in last few years. Coupled with this is the behavior of the Indian consumer, which has evolved from being hesitant to ‘hooked to online purchasing’. The entire concept of window shopping, discovery and information gathering part of the sales funnel has moved online. Consumers are very sure of what they want.
Despite this, since jewellery is a very high involvement and high value purchase, the ‘touch and feel factor’ is still important. We’ve noticed that our customers enjoy browsing the online interface at their leisure before they walk-in to a store – burgeoning with information – to see the final product for themselves and then make a purchase. Embracing this behavioural transformation, we have made e-commerce an integral part of our overall business strategy. It has become a great business enabler in last couple of years.
By being able to showcase our products to a larger audience we have also been able to increase brand awareness and with a real-time feedback mechanism, also happen to get a broader understanding of the changing tastes and preferences of the consumer. Such an exploration has helped us witness double-digit growth since we began our e-commerce venture.
Over the next few years, we aim to expand our reach further within India in association with e-marketplaces and also cater to international markets.
What has the impact of GST been on the jewellery retail business in India?
From a consumer point of view, GST at 3 percent has been well accepted. However, the biggest benefit we see is the tax arbitrage the unorganized sector enjoyed. This will be gone for the first time, and it will put the organized players at the same level playing field as the unorganized players. So, we believe that GST will bring about a structural change in the industry and extremely positive for the organized players.
What were the key milestones for the company?ORRA has won several Indian as well as international accolades and awards since its inception including the prestigious DeBeers International Award, Forevermark Awards, Retail Jeweller Awards and GJTF Awards amongst others. One of the most memorable moments for the brand however, has been hosting the Prince and Princess of Belgium and unveiling a Million Dollar Diamond Bustier at the event. It was matter for great pride for us when his Royal Highness, Prince Philippe of Belgium came back once again to launch the ORRA Crown Star.
Superiority in craftsmanship and consistency in premium product offerings and experience have won ORRA several awards including Best Jewellery Retail Chain of the Year 2007, The Most Innovative Jewellery of the Year – Retail Jeweller Awards 2008, Retail Transformation Award – Retail Jeweller Awards (2009), Best Platinum Jewellery of the Year – Retail Jeweller India Award (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015), Best Platinum Jewellery – GJTF Awards (2014), Best Shopping Experience – Forevermark Awards (2007), Most Trusted Brand in the Diamond Jewellery category by IBC Infomedia (2015 and 2016), Best Earring Designs of the Year – National Jewellery Awards 2015-16 and Blogger’s Choice Award – Diamond Jewellery of the Year (non-vivaha) – Retail Jeweller India Award (2016), Accessory Jewellery of the year at JJS-IJ Jewellers’ Choice Design Awards 2016 and Precious Color Gemstone Jewellery of the year, at Retail Jeweller India Awards 2017 amongst others. Additionally, ORRA was also voted among the Top 3 Most Trusted Jewellery brands in India by the Brand Trust Report in 2012.