Monday, 15 June 2020

THE TALK: The future is digitized

THE TALK: The future is digitized

Two months ago, we left off with a preview of the “virtual path” Gismondi 1754 had undertaken. At what point are we?
This is an extremely important moment for us to re-program the future and review industrial plans. Bringing e-commerce forward by a year in respect of what we had decided at the beginning of the year is a decision born from what we have experienced in these last few months. Covid has permanently changed the way of doing business by speeding up our digitization strategy.

What does your recovery plan involve?
The recovery plan foresees implementing several things. One of these refers precisely to the need to speed up the digitization process and establishing on-line sales with platforms of reference, such as Moda Operandi. The agreement signed with the American giant foresees a precise strategy with the brand’s official presentation through the trunk show formula in order to reach a targeted clientele and introduce the brand in a prime position.
Added to this operation is the launching of our e-commerce, a project we developed within a month, considerably cutting the time we had initially given ourselves (the launch was originally planned for 2021).

What line did you start with for your e-commerce?
The product we inserted, and that we are still progressively inserting, is linked to a children’s charity initiative to highlight how caring for others has always been the focus of our way of doing business. A commitment and attention towards the customer and people in general. Having so very many items, by the summer we will gradually have inserted other product lines because we want our customer to be constantly surprised. We don’t like to reveal everything immediately. Our aim is to display what we will be adding to the platform bit by bit.

Even if you are only at the beginning of this road, can you already trace a digital customer profile?
It is still too early. To define the profile, you need a significant history but I can already say that we have noted an important element which we were partially aware of: the product that sells itself, independently, comes within a price range of between 5 and 6,000 Euros. But for products in the higher bracket with a price of around 20,000 Euros, for which e-commerce has always been a fantasy, we have launched virtual rooms, in other words, digital meetings organized directly with our customers. We guarantee maximum assistance for this type of virtual sale, accompanying the customer through the entire process with constant follow-ups and a bespoke service, tailor-made to our more demanding clientele who want either a digital or personal meeting. It is a new frontier that we firmly believe in, a more modern version of e-commerce.

How important are social channels for reaching customers?
The social media is now the strongest means. Our image can easily be correlated to a memory. We can get inside homes with Instagram to tell people who we are, communicate our message, which rotates around Made in Italy, describe our riviera, our coast. I don’t deny the fact that we have projects in the pipeline involving new social media that will allow us to approach younger customers so that they grow with the brand and will be ready when they have sufficient means of their own to buy jewelry.

Does that mean that Gismondi 1754 is already thinking about the customer of tomorrow?
We want a product that speaks the language of the youngsters, something that is extremely easy-to-wear, has a contemporary style, is made of new materials and combines diamonds with new titanium-type alloys. It is a different concept to high jewelry, one that is exceptionally innovative and new while still involving diamonds which, I repeat, are to be combined with innovative materials, such as ceramics. Thinking about tomorrow’s customers means talking their language which, stylistically-speaking, means using fluorescent enamels, for example, and lines that focus on single earrings and piercing, as we are already doing. We have to give our future customers something to remember by changing the way of communicating and the way we approach them while they are still very young. We are heading in this direction in order to be in tune with them, otherwise we will not be able to reach them. If we start to speak their language, they will be interested, remember the brand and associate it to a way of communicating. Nobody in our segment is taking this step.

Let’s speak about markets. You just sealed an agreement with Moda Operandi and you have considerable presence in the Middle East...
Moda Operandi has an extremely innovative way of doing e-commerce, in line with our mentality even in terms of involving customers. To introduce and promote the brand, they use the trunk show formula which lasts for several days during which customers are invited to participate. They totally manage the sales, thanks also to the brand’s storytelling capacity which contributes to giving further value to the sale. We have various dealers in the Middle East and we have signed an agreement with Al Farden in Doha while we still have to open in China, but we want to do that slowly.

Where should Italian jewelry re-start and what is missing?
We have to start from our history and our Italianness, which is the strength of Italian SMEs that are the true custodians of Made in Italy and craftsmanship. In the 1980s and ‘90s, we exported all our know-how and decentralized production. We have to return to the past regarding product and the customer approach and to what we were before the great commercial revolution. We have to go back to thinking that we are good at what we do and re-start by recreating companies that produce Made in Italy jewelry, made by Italians. Without making compromises. And communication is the basis of everything that a company is built on. If you communicate well, you cannot fail and many companies that have not produced but know how to communicate have proved it. Therefore, go back to the old way of thinking about jewelry and customer relations, which must be absolutely sincere. Take the big companies that have created something global, starting from the bottom, with relations and sincere interest in what is the customer deems important, without compromising product quality and development.

This phase has been defined as phygital. What do you think?
If I think about trade shows, I can say that, in general, you have to give your customers an experience. A trade show cannot be a means unto itself where encounters are organized and nothing else. The customer needs to be pampered, creating synergies so that those days are unforgettable. Interaction between the physical and digital trade show will always have to bear in mind the value of relations because, for a new company like ours that still has to make a name for itself, physical contact is fundamental and trade shows play an essential role. But I think that, once the initial years have been overcome, the trade show should be something more and become a unique service experience. Relations are the result of our work and the more you play at high levels, the more they will be fundamental. For companies that want to grow and be recognized on a global scale, the union between digital and personal relations will be strategic. But experience is the base. We sell a non-essential asset and, in order to sell it, you need to know how to create expectation.

Interview by Federica Frosini, Editor in Chief VO+
Interview by Lorenza Scalisi, Senior Editor VO+
Interview by Antonella Reina, Editor VO+

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