THE TALK: New Methods to Ease the Trade

Mehmet Diribaş, Zen Diamond Board Member and Head of Export Operations about the digital acceleration process and the Turkish market

How much of your business depends on the digital processes? Online marketing tools shall have an important place for every single industry. Therefore, the essentiality of the digital platforms will be more important for every company. As a consequence of this, we have to use every potential platform in order to reach to the customers, and it doesn't matter if we are marking B2C or B2B business. We need to create the possible marketing platforms to not loose the connection between our customers. 

How much is this Covid-19 emergency changing the way your business is going forward? Each market reacted differently to Covid-19 but of course there are some common points for all. First of all, people are afraid of the pandemic. The affects on the health of each individual and affects on the health system, are huge. Plus there are many economical and political consequences of the pandemic. Therefore everybody is more careful to spend their income. It means that they are trying to focus on their basic life expenses. So the luxury markets like diamond jewelry industry has been affected a lot. Thus we are faced with a fall on our sales figures in every market and we don't expect any leap about the sales this year. There will be a period of normalisation in each market. During this period, the business owners also need to create new methods to ease the trade. We should understand that these times are difficult for everybody. We are wasted in terms of moral. It has been hard to follow the news each day about people getting infected or loosing their lifes. 

How much is your client willing to spend for a diamond jewel through ecommerce, in comparison with a purchase through a physical point of sale? At the new stage of the business after pandemic, the sales figures of the stores are 50% less than before pandemic. By the time, the security concerns of the people and the security precautions in the stores and malls could reduce this, the rate is up to 70%. However, on the hand we have all seen that, people could access to purchase their needs by online. By this fact, in a short period during the pandemic, we rapidly catched the sales figures which we though maybe we could reach after ten years. As a consequence of this fact, the terms like online marketing, online sales and digital platforms takes their places in the business world and are stronger than before. Plus, online sales took some of the retail sales shares. However, we can not say that the only sales tool of the future could be online sales. Because when most of the people go shopping online, they define a budget and they make their shopping according to this budget. But when we talk about retail sales, people could buy more than their defined budget by the affects of the salesman. The salesman could lead the customer to purchase extra items by his sales skills. So we can say that retail sales have bigger purchasing volume for one item  than online sales.

Can you give us a general picture of the Turkish market? What is the overall situation and what, in your opinion does it need to re-start?
As you know, people travel less nowadays, so everybody makes less sales in the stores and this will affect sales figures of the stores. On the other hand, people canalised themselves to online purchasing. Therefore we are always in contact with our customers to introduce our new designs which are compatible for online platforms. We will invite our customers to İstanbul more than before, because in the future, we believe that the events will be less than before due to changes of people’s travelling habits. Maybe we could organize small events in our city for our customers with other jewelers of Turkey. On the other hand, as we are all aware of the slow business, it requires us to focus on new markets to create new collaborations with potential customers.

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