On May 23, 2020, Titan Company Limited opened the flagship store of their luxury jewellery brand Zoya, on the prestigious Vittal Mallya Road in Bengaluru. The Garden City store is the brand’s fourth store after its two stores in Mumbai and one in Delhi. The positive response to the brand encouraged Titan to expand its operational footprint beyond Mumbai and Delhi into Bengaluru, marking the brand’s expansion for the first time in the South Indian market. However, the original plan was for the store to be opened in March and the launch was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. Speaking about the current situation, Ajoy Chawla, CEO - Jewellery Division, Titan Company Limited says, “Like most retail businesses, the COVID-19 crisis has impacted our expansion plans, but I am sure once the economy recovers, we will return to the growth path we were on. The luxury market has been steadily growing in India and the brand’s fundamentals and proposition are very strong.”
THE BRAND ZOYA JOURNEY
Launched in 2010, Zoya has built a distinctive reputation over the last decade on the artistry and craftsmanship of its products, says Chawla. “With its heart in India and an eye on the world, Zoya is redefining the way fine jewellery is created and marketed in India. There is an unwavering focus on delivering an exquisite product. Each Zoya collection is carefully crafted, taking as long as nine months to a year to create. Combined with a highly personalised and exclusive sales process, Zoya is steadily shifting consumer perception of fine jewellery from being mainly a store of value towards aesthetics and pride in ownership in a Zoya product,” he adds.
The Zoya woman is typically well-heeled, well-travelled and seeks exclusivity. On targeting the aesthetically astute Zoya consumer, Chawla says, “At Zoya, our constant effort is to engage customers with strategic and engaging events and innovative PR that embodies luxury, tells brand stories, and creates meaningful experiences. We will continue to support this with unconventional advertising in Print and on Digital.”
With Zoya, Titan is redefining the way fine jewellery is marketed in India. Chawla explains, “We build on our reputation of offering an exceptionally crafted product with an international design language. There is great attention to the quality and cut of stones and use of the latest technology to deliver on never-been-made-before designs. Traditional art gets contemporary form with international appeal at Zoya. We extend our bespoke services with elite designers at each store to individual collectors who wish to design customised products. Owning a Zoya is akin to owning a work of art that is beautiful, rare and truly worthy of being cherished. This focus on aesthetics, above all, is creating a whole new category.” He continues, “Secondly, our strategy revolves around offering an unparalleled retail experience. From luxurious store interiors and refined customer service by trained staff, opulent in-store hospitality to private viewing areas that are designed to delight, every aspect is thoughtfully curated to elevate the customers’ experience and engagement with Zoya. This care and attention is seamlessly extended to the customer touch-points in our digital universe as well. The personalisation and exclusivity of Zoya’s service, are a key element of our core strategy.” The personalisation experience also includes Zoya sending select jewellery pieces to the homes of their regular customers.
THE DIGITAL STORY
As Zoya’s sales process is highly personalised, the goal is to recreate the exclusivity and responsiveness of the offline experience on the online platforms. Chawla says, “We are able to give a personally tailored response to each customer with a very short turnaround time and also ensure that these queries are answered by a sales executive in the boutique closest to where the query was generated.”
Zoya’s digital brand strategy is based on the two pillars of story-telling and driving engagement. Story-telling communicates Zoya’s philosophy, inspiration, design and craftsmanship. “We seek to drive engagement across different platforms through carefully curated content that is relevant and meaningful to our customers. Brand stories are shared coherently across channels such as our main website, micro-sites, and social media accounts, creating a seamless experiential pathway for customers,” says Chawla.
With stories and content being a key part of Zoya’s strategy, the jewellery brand has tied up with many women achievers, with these women being featured as ‘Zoya Muse’ as part of ‘Finely Crafted Journeys’ series. These achievers talk about the development of their own career and journey.
Says Chawla, “With 24 women from various walks of life, including Shereen Bhan, Jayasri Burman, Myleeta Aga, Mallika Sarabhai and Pallavi Shroff, the column was a wonderfully subtle endorsement of Zoya’s core positioning. Zoya’s series has found great resonance with our audience. Through this difficult period of the lockdown, many of these women have shared ‘Sparkling Affirmations’, in the form of messages of positivity and hope to motivate the Zoya community.”
With customer safety and peace of mind paramount for the ateliers at Zoya, the brand has crafted a meticulous protocol of #SafetyinEighty steps that is being implemented at all Zoya boutiques as they re-open and welcome back customers. This detailed, daily protocol addresses over 80 safety check-points and includes an hourly cleaning of the boutique as well as sanitization after each customer visit to ensure that everyone who walks into the boutique can do so with comfort and ease. From appointment-based visits to minimum boutique staff and a specialized jewellery sanitization process, Zoya ensures a safe shopping environment with stringent application of social distancing norms.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Looking at the immediate future, Chawla says that it’s still too early to predict market sentiment post lockdown. It is possible that consumer sentiment may shift from large consumption for personal celebrations to something more toned down, which could mean they would consider more products at lower price points. He says, “Digital engagement tools like video-selling will become more important. And we are looking to strongly engage our community of women on our social media platforms through relevant content and promotions. Zoya has always delivered a personalised experience for its customers and we are expecting the share of one-on-one sales through home-shopping to gain a bigger share this year.”
The company is also looking at expanding the business by opening more doors in various cities in order to tap rising demand. Says Chawla, “We are waiting for the current crisis to tide over and then look forward to resuming activities strongly. We hope to progress this brand to select cities, such as Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai, over the next 18-24 months.