Entrepreneur

Major Physical Jewellery Stores In M'sia Have Now Turned To FB Live To Sell Gold & Gems

Author’s Blurb: I’ll admit that I have practically no interest in jewellery, be it gold or diamonds. My only experiences with jewellery buying were in my childhood, when I would follow my mother or grandmother to our local jeweller in town to peruse all the shiny pendants, necklaces and bracelets.

Jewellery buying is still a major part of our culture, particularly amongst the older generation, I believe.

Under the CMCO, jewellery stores are now allowed to open with 100% staff capacity between the hours of 10AM to 8PM, and there’s no doubt that some patrons will already have frequented them to make some purchases for Raya.

Now, some popular jewellers with physical stores like Wah Chan Gold & Jewellery, Chiang Heng Jewellery, and Kedai Emas Merchant9, and more, have taken to Facebook Live to showcase their jewellery and attract buyers.

I reached out to them for more information on this move, but failed to get answers. Nonetheless, I had my own hypotheses.

Firstly, the CMCO’s restrictions will still have an impact on how many in-store customers they can entertain in a day.

Going on Facebook Live enables these businesses to reach potentially thousands in a shorter amount of time, something which they would have had to hold expensive expos to achieve in the past.

With the number of fans that they already have on Facebook, holding a livestream immediately grants them an accessible audience, and they don’t have to repeat the same information on a piece of jewellery to each individual.

There are customers who are still visiting these physical stores, but for the more wary ones, getting to see the display of products from their couches and making their purchases via WhatsApp are welcome solutions.

Customers still shopping for jewellery during CMCO / Image Credit: Kedai Emas Merchant9

Catering To Demand

Wah Chan Gold & Jewellery livestreams about 3 times a day, from noon to night, and this is done daily. By doing this, they’re able to showcase more jewellery in a day as well as cater to fans who may have missed the earlier livestreams.

Each session, a new host will come in to show off the jewellery along with their details and prices, and they have dedicated hosts who speak either Mandarin or Bahasa Melayu (BM) to cater to the relevant crowds.

One of Wah Chan Gold & Jewellery’s hosts who spoke in Mandarin

The way they communicate with the audience mimics the usual in-store experience from my memory, just through a screen this time.

Throughout the hour or two of livestreaming that they do, they’ll receive a non-stop stream of comments, mainly in Mandarin or BM, depending on who the host is, up until the end of the video.

As the hosts speak, they also show off the jewellery on their own wrists and necks, or place them on a model so viewers can have a proper gauge of the sizes.

Showing off what the jewellery would look like on someone’s wrist

Chiang Heng Jewellery does all the above too, although they’re clearly catering more to the Mandarin-speaking crowd with their livestreams.

Getting The Right Crowd

What I found interesting though was the fact that while Wah Chan Gold & Jewellery (239k fans) and Chiang Heng Jewellery (191k fans) have more followers than Kedai Emas Merchant9 (146k fans), Kedai Emas Merchant9 gets more viewers on their livestreams.

The former two get about 3k to 7k per video, and I believe it depends on the hosts and time of streaming, but the latter gets 8k to 10k views per livestream, which keep increasing per week. In their latest full-length livestream, the viewership jumped up to 38k.

A huge difference in viewership, even though Wah Chan Gold & Jewellery has more page fans

I’m inclined to believe that this is because Kedai Emas Merchant9 caters heavily to the Malay crowd, and these are the people who are most interested in purchasing jewellery for Raya at the moment.

Regardless of viewership, however, the shares for each jewellery store’s livestream usually hovered around 100 to 150.

Most likely, those who were sharing Kedai Emas Merchant9’s livestreams were reaching people within the same demographic (Malays jewellery shopping for Raya) as well.

They would click in to watch regardless of whether they were a page fan or not, hence the average share rate but disproportionate views across the different brands.

But Did This All Translate To Sales?

We couldn’t get confirmation from any of the stores we reached out to, but there were still a few things that we observed which might point to the fact that yes, there were interested buyers.

Firstly, as I watched several of the Facebook Lives, I could see some real-time comments enquiring about the details of certain pieces, asking if there were more in stock, or clarifying the price of a piece.

Some also asked how to go about buying them, to which the host would quickly point to a WhatsApp number on-screen.

Based on what I could observe when I took a look at (read: stalked) some of the commenters’ profiles, they were mostly middle aged women, and there was a mix of working mothers and housewives.

Now you might be thinking, with all the economic uncertainty, people might be hesitant to spend on non-essential items like jewellery.

However, we learnt from the long pawnshop queues that happened the moment the CMCO was announced that people were redeeming their pawned jewellery to wear for Raya, so I’m not surprised if people were actively purchasing jewellery from stores as well.

A long queue outside a Johor pawnshop during the CMOC / Image Credit: Ben Tan

Those customers who expressed interest in purchasing during the FB Live were also probably either a lot more well-off, had bought jewellery from the stores this way before and were happy with their past experiences, or had simply saved up enough to purchase something non-essential as a treat for themselves or someone they love.

When I contacted the admins of these jewellery stores’ Facebooks and their WhatsApp numbers, they were slow to reply to me (to tell me to reach out to their marketing team), so that might indicate that they were busy entertaining customers who had come from the FB Lives too.

Personally, I wouldn’t make a purchase after just watching a video. While the hosts were helpful and detailed, I’d still prefer to see the piece in-person, touch it and examine it on my own before buying.

But one thing to keep in mind is that the mentioned brands have been operating their physical stores for years now and have gained brand trust. Their customers will assume that no matter how their jewellery is being sold to them, there will be product authenticity.

For someone like me who’s never visited these stores myself, I’d be more wary with my precious purchases.

Bottom Line: The MCO has really made me realise just how much I actually value in-person experiences. They can’t be beat, not when it comes to clarity of expression and interaction, something which is somehow more tiring to achieve through technology.

  • You can read more about what we’ve written on jewellery here.

Also Read: 3 Ways On How HSBC Is Helping SMEs To Get Through These Tough Times

Featured Image Credit: Wah Chan Jewellery / Kedai Emas Merchant9

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