To support rapid expansion, the $525M L’azurde jewellery group has been steadily opening more stores and developing its retail infrastructure and systems. As a result, L’azurde saw net profits rise in 2021. The company attributed its success to expanding retail stores across all its markets, with retail revenues up by 21% in Saudi Arabia and 39% in Egypt. It’s now the largest gold and jewellery designer, wholesaler and retailer in the Middle East and the fourth largest jewellery manufacturer in the world.
L’azurde : Over a hundred stores across the Middle East and Africa
The group has three core brands – L’azurde, Miss L’ and Tous – and counts over a hundred stores across the Middle East and Africa. It exports products to over 10 countries, selling over one million pieces of jewellery a year. Manufactured at the company’s factories in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, L’azurde jewellery is distributed to more than 1,300 retailers across the GCC and MENA regions.
L’azurde operates its own network of premium-brand stores in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, where it focuses on the sale of diamond and gold jewellery. The company operates more stores in Saudi Arabia as a franchise partner for the Spanish jewellery and accessories brand Tous. And L’azurde continues to expand its Miss L’ ’ fashion jewellery line, in Egypt and KSA adding retail stores.
A few years ago, the company introduced a strong e-commerce platform which generates a significant share of the retail revenues. The Company plans in the near future to “elevate the customer experience and bring online and physical retail together into a seamless digital omniverse through a very promising technology upgrade.”
We want to give a personalised shopping experience to all our customers – whether online or in a store – and talk about the products they like most.
Chief digital officer at L’azurde
Personalisation, VR and AI
It plans to add virtual reality (VR) technology so that customers can try on jewellery online and visualise it before buying. The retailer will harness artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse sales and customer buying patterns in its customer data platform to help recommend complementary products and suggest add-on purchases to drive more sales.
“If a customer goes into a store, staff can see details such as what products they looked at, when they were last browsing our website, or what items went into their shopping basket,” says Rizwan Rajpoot, chief digital officer at L’azurde. “We want to give a personalised shopping experience to all our customers – whether online or in a store – and talk about the products they like most.”
Given that L’azurde is a luxury jewellery retailer – operating in affluent regions of the Middle East where high levels of service are expected – point-of-sale technology to help give a more personalised shopping experience will “improve sales conversion rates”, he adds.
Mobile and Digital Services
L’azurde has equipped all its stores with Cegid Retail, the global POS and unified commerce platform for specialty and luxury retailers. It started in Saudi Arabia in 2019 and completed the rollout in Egypt during 2020, later adding Cegid’s mobile POS software in 2022. This will give L’azurde an accurate, single view of inventory and will allow staff to operate using iPhones and iPads and provide high levels of support to customers while on the move. Opening up pop-up stores and kiosks in popular shopping malls can be done much more quickly using mobile devices, it says; and doing away with conventional fixed tills will help cut down on queues at busy periods too.
Rajpoot says the company chose to replace its old software in favour of Cegid Retail so that it can fulfil its omnichannel vision for “digital integration”.
The decision turned out to be fortuitous, proving especially useful for introducing new services like ‘click-and-collect’ and ‘ship-from-store’ following Covid. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of smartphone use in the world, according to researchers at McGill University, and a Statista survey found 83 percent of shoppers in Saudi Arabia use online videos while researching online.
We needed something that was standardised: a ready-made, cloud-based retail management solution that would be easy to implement and upgrade as we grow.
Chief digital officer at L’azurde
Global Integration Partner
L’azurde chose Cegid Retail because it wanted a ‘best-of-breed retail solution’ and preferred to outsource IT support, rather than having to rely on its own IT development team.
“We needed something that was standardised: a ready-made, cloud-based retail management solution that would be easy to implement and upgrade as we grow.”
It preferred to use the same solution in multiple countries and needed something capable of dealing with local regulations, languages and taxation requirements. For instance, printing receipts in both English and Arabic in all GCC countries is a legal requirement; and electronic invoicing regulations introduced in Saudi Arabia in December 2021 are automatically set up with Cegid.
Phase two of the project involves integrating the jewellery manufacturer’s new e-commerce solution into Cegid Retail. This will mean that customers visiting any store will be able to order anything from its entire catalogue – an ‘endless aisle’ service – which, as a large manufacturer, includes over 5,000 different jewellery models produced every year. As for Lazurde’s 2,000 employees, the technology upgrade will bring real-time data and inventory accuracy, such as management being able to see in-store activity or online sales in detail. A Distributed Order Management system will streamline logistics – for instance, by pin-pointing locations with available stock and picking a store closest to the customer for faster shipments. Further business intelligence (BI) tools are being added in 2022 for improved reporting across the growing international business.
The future clearly sparkles bright for L’azurde as it turns digital.