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VDB APP - An App for Every Jeweller
VDB is an all-encompassing buying platform that uses cutting edge technology to offer its clients a plethora of options. With ease-of-buying being one of its top priorities, there is something for every jeweller at VDB
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 2 2019 6:47PM
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Reference: 19196  
VDB is an all-encompassing buying platform that uses cutting edge technology to offer its clients a plethora of options. With ease-of-buying being one of its top priorities, there is something for every jeweller at VDB

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As a person who has run a diamond business, Tanya Nisguretsky knew how much time it takes to engage in the communications and logistics of sourcing diamonds. Lots of back and forth emails, phone calls, shipping, returns and as diamond margins got tighter and tighter, the need to be efficient became even more important. Of course, this is true in all other aspects of jewellery business too like finished goods and colour gemstones – there was a need to move faster and be more efficient than ever before.

There were already several different “platforms” in the industry, but all of them were only partial (like diamonds only),or targeted only to a specific group of people (like Plumb Club), or attached to a equirement to use someone’s website technology. None of the solutions available addressed the problem from an industry standpoint.

Additionally, most of the “search and price” solutions were based on spreadsheets - lots of data about the specifications of the diamond, but no images. So one had to wait a day or two to “look” at the goods. “It seemed to me that “looking” is the most important part of diamond, gemstone, and jewellery sales! So in addition to creating a platform that served the industry globally, I wanted to create a solution that served it visually too,” says Tanya Nisguretsky, CEO, Virtual Diamond Boutique (VDB).

“Technology is meant to help businesses run more efficiently and increase customer engagement. But technology is just a tool - it’s not the know-how. If you’re selling technology to help sell cars, it’s really important to understand the primary drivers of selling cars. The same thing is true of jewellery. Because we understand everything about jewellery, we’re able to provide technology that speaks to the most important aspects of buying and selling diamonds, gemstones, and jewellery,” she adds.

Broadening its Horizons

VDB’s geography was unlimited from the very beginning. That’s one of the important ways the world of business has changed in the past 20 years - everything has an international scope to it. So the brand entered this business with the intention of being able to serve the industry everywhere.

Today the brand has teams working in New York, India, and Israel. VDB is not simply a diamond app - because it is a true PLATFORM – the app was designed from the beginning to serve the entire industry vertical. The team thought through all of the most common pain points for each step in the vertical and made sure it built features that solved those pain points. For suppliers and dealers, it helps them streamline the sales communication, memo process, and shipping processes. Also, because retailers can do visual searches and a better job of qualifying customers, the app also helps reduce the expenses and time associated with sending live goods for the “try before you buy” step. Basically, suppliers and dealers can reach a broader aaudience 24/7, streamline the sales process, and reduce the cost of selling. For retailers, the platform allows them to do a better job of overall sourcing for their stores, with features like stone matching, product comparisons, and wish lists. Also, retailers can use the app as a Business-to-Consumer tool - not just a B2B tool.“So we started with the strategic intent of being a global business that addressed the entire jewellery industry vertical. Where we have evolved is in the product offering. We knew we couldn’t do everything at once, or it would have taken too long to launch the platform.

So we started with diamonds, where we had the strongest relationships and experience. Then we expanded to colour gemstones, then finished jewellery, and now most recently lab-grown diamonds. Along the way we’ve also developed tools to assist with the peripheral processes our customers need to use the platform comprehensively. One example of that is launching our own light-box to make taking excellent pictures easier and faster. Another example would be making it possible for retailers to personalize the markups that show on the app, so they can use the app with their customers. We will always release new features as we learn from our customers what will be beneficial for them,” says Tanya.

Ease of doing Business

The list of things the VDB app can do is pretty extraordinary. VIMS - a virtual inventory management system that app users could embrace to improve their overall inventory position and movement. A savvy app user could manage all of their sourcing and selling from within VDB’s ecosystem. Talking about complex technologies can be overwhelming to customers. The use of the app is really simple - anyone can get good at it in minutes.

Changing User Behaviour

The jewellery industry limits the use of personal mobile devices at work. Their fear is that people will “play” on their phones instead of getting work done. The reality is that today, a huge amount of B2B work actually happens on smart devices! So customers struggle with using the app, because they don’t want to let their employees access it during work hours. To address this, the brand created the webapp (a desktop version of the app) to offset some of this challenge, but that’s only a limited solution. Mobile isn’t where business is “going” it’s already gone there! So business owners need to learn all the other ways to ensure that employees are staying on task, and not use limiting access to mobile devices as their one solution. There are definitely better ways to motivate employee performance and ensure the work is getting done! “Younger people are used to thinking, reading, and working on the format of a small device. Those of us who are older find it challenging to transition from working on a big screen to working on a small one. Years ago, people had a hard time transitioning from working on paper to working on a computer monitor! The more you practice the new behavior - in this case, working on a small screen - the more familiar and easy it becomes. But you have to commit to the behavioral change process, and for a lot of people, that seems really hard,” says Tanya.

Delving into other markets

India and other developing markets are often ahead of the U.S. and Europe. “We find that the industry is enthusiastic about and receptive to new technologies in ways that business owners in the U.S. and Europe are still holding back. In the U.S. and Europe we spend a lot of time persuading business owners to accept these new technologies, and holding back on our introduction of new features so as not to overwhelm them. In India, half the time we just have to run to keep up with the ideas that market has and is willing to implement. I don’t think the U.S. and European business leaders are quite as aware as they should be that this aspect of competition is a tremendous threat to them! The sheer receptiveness toward and joy in technology is pushing Indian businesses ahead very quickly,” says Tanya.

The lab-grown space

Recently, VDB has also made lab grown diamonds a part of its offerings. “We felt it was important to represent the product category in our platform as a way of supporting the industry. I’ve gotten some push back on this decision from people in the mined diamond community, and that makes me sad, because my family comes from the mined diamond community too! But we’re not a producer or seller of any product - we are a service organization for the jewellery industry. Our job is to accurately represent the product options available, and to support the industry’s evolution and growth as consumer demands and technologies change.”

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