With stores closed across the world, brands and retailers in the jewellery industry have had to adjust to a new way of doing business.
Annoushka Fine Jewellery was quick to react to the global pandemic, with the company turning to virtual clienteling when Hong Kong and China entered into lockdown.
By embracing new selling platforms, such as Whatsapp, WeChat and Hero – a messaging app, which instantly connects online customers with in-store teams via chat, text and video – Annoushka has been able to replicate the in-store experience virtually, in real time. This has been integral to the businesses’ survival during the global pandemic, with the brand reporting a rise in sales on these platforms over the last few months.
Looking ahead to life after lockdown, eponymous brand founder, Annoushka Ducas, shares: ““As we head into the next phase of this ‘new normal’, I am reminded of when John and I first started out in business— like then, everything feels new. Overnight our incredible team of 60 were painfully stripped back to just 15; Annoushka is a family and so this decision was incredibly tough. Two months ago nobody knew the term furlough, now my team are living it; unable to work, but still in the fold—so bringing the whole team together, albeit digitally, feels important.
“Running a business in lockdown has required new thinking, new routines and adopting many new technologies, which in my case has felt completely unnatural! As I write this, my inbox fills up and app notifications ping, all while I’m trying to take photos for Instagram in a lightbox! Suddenly, the things I would have usually pushed away, are coming at me from every angle. There are many new channels, all of which I must embrace.
“Thankfully my team are patient (mostly with me and my tech phobia) and agile; working out how we can safely pack our website orders with team members on rotation, how we can photograph jewellery from home (hence the lightbox) and how we can keep our service slick and luxurious while our doors are shut—something we’re all committed to.”
Embracing new technologies has seen the fine jewellery brand introduces ways of doing personal shopping virtually via an app, as well as harnessing the power of social media to boost business, connect with consumers and provide a best in class customer service.
Customers are encouraged to get in touch with the brand in the way that best suits them – whether that’s picking up the phone or sending an email, contacting the team via WhatsApp, connecting via social media, or making the most of the new digital shopping experiences – Annoushka has provided all the tools necessary for customers to feel confident purchasing fine jewels during a time where they can’t physically products.
The business owner adds: “We are all adapting, and when I find myself totally flummoxed my kids remind me to “just google it Mum!” so, I’ve proven to myself that I can absolutely master new things—and if I can, anyone can!”