REVEALED: How is Astley Clarke securing sales and building brand awareness online?

Astley Clarke is a jewellery brand at the forefront of the digital revolution. Here, head of e-commerce, Emma Duff, reveals what’s been working for the British jewellery brand this year…

What has Astley Clarke being doing this year to streamline the business?
Our strategic priority this year has been to reduce our overall options by 30%. Demi-fine jewellery is enjoying a growth phase, so we have been adding to our assortment in the £600-£2,000 gold category whilst streamlining the entry point silver options. Our web and department store business continues to perform well and we are working closely with strategic independent retailers, but we’re generally not looking to expand the number of accounts we have.

What changes have you noticed about the way Astley Clarke customers now shop online? 
When Bec Astley Clarke launched the business in 2006, she was ahead of her time. We had a team of four personal shoppers all working hard on client relationships to sell gorgeous 18ct cocktail rings from a website — 12 years on, we have just one personal shopper and live chat, and customers are far more comfortable shopping online with secure payments, fast delivery and an excellent return proposition. Digital wallets and one-click checkouts are growing rapidly, which is great for customers for the convenience, and for retailers for the reduced fraud risk. Our customers are becoming more comfortable shopping directly from social, and increasingly confident placing high value orders online — in 2018 so far, we’ve had double the amount of £1k+ orders than last year.  And lastly, of course, the mobile-first shift continues — mobile now accounts for a third of revenue versus a quarter in 2017.

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How are you using social media channels to bolster business?
Social media is playing an increasingly big part for us — we’ve grown our social following by 40% in the last six months. Our daily organic and paid social content is growing brand awareness and driving results in the UK and abroad, with international now accounting for a quarter of the online business.

What areas of digital marketing do you find most effective at the moment?
The web business is going from strength to strength, with good growth across all e-commerce KPIs. Our acquisition efforts are driving brand awareness and new customers, and we’ve recently launched an invite-only loyalty program to reward our very best returning customers. Last year, we were represented by a leading global PR agency and we saw great coverage as a result, but the challenge was attributing coverage to an increase in sales and traffic. This year, we are managing all PR activity in-house, using the budget on influencers, events and partnerships, driving significantly higher traffic than 2017.  We still believe in offline, print and across the board marketing, but with the budgets available to us, focusing online is the most productive. We don’t heavily invest in one key channel over others. Our customers use social media, emails, paid and organic search, browse blogs and shopping sites, read print press and engage with offline marketing too, so we try to be wherever our customers are.

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