How Annoushka Ducas MBE is putting omnichannel service at the heart of her Annoushka jewelry brand
The founding story
It’s a common misconception that most founders sell their businesses and disappear into the sunset. That’s certainly not the case for Annoushka Ducas. Having co-founded Links of London in the 1990’s with her husband John Ayton, she built the brand into a global success, with 48 stores and more than $60m in turnover.
After selling the company in 2006, she dived straight back into the jewelry business, creating a new eponymous line, Annoushka, designed for a modern, independent woman who knows her own style. The brand has become a firm favourite of famous fans including Gigi Hadid, Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow.
“Annoushka started in 2009 when I was looking for jewelry myself and couldn’t find anything that I felt was very personal” adds Annoushka Ducas, who in 2013 was recognized with an MBE for her contributions to the jewellery industry.
Now Annoushka is flourishing; with an ecommerce business that’s growing exponentially, and its own boutiques in London and Hong Kong, as well as concessions found in Harvey Nichols and other retailers across the world.
A unique shopping experience
Annoushka’s designs are playful, informal and designed to be comfortable to wear. This informality extends to the brand’s stores, which have an ambition to keep the experience light. For example, you won’t find guards on the door, and you don’t have to buzz to get in like many traditional jewelry stores. The experience is warm and welcoming with an enthusiastic team in-store available to assist customers, encouraging more women to wear fine jewelry.
In 2018, Annoushka wanted to extend this same personal experience to its website. It was with this objective that led to the partnership between Annoushka and HERO®; launching a truly personal shopping service for online clients.
“Jewelry is very difficult to explain, particularly on a static website — Hero enables us to take the reverence out of jewelry…off the page and onto a real person” adds Annoushka Ducas.
Annoushka’s associates go available to serve online customer during quieter times in-store.
With the HERO® app, associates simply go available to be instantly connected with online clients through 1:1 messaging, livestreaming and by exchanging photos and videos that bring the collections to life.
“If you’re unable to get into the physical store, Hero is the absolute perfect way to show customers what a piece of jewellery looks like on the front, back and inside.”
Driving online customers into the boutiques
With many clients choosing to browse online, but wishing to visit and buy in the boutique later, HERO®’s intelligent algorithm has been designed to route the customer’s conversation to their nearest boutique.
The app’s appointment feature makes it effortless for associates to then invite their customer in-store should they wish, and reminders and interactive maps help them know when and where they need to go.
“We’ve been delighted and surprised to see how many customer have come in store subsequent to a Hero conversation…sometimes they come in to say hi to the team member they may have spoken to and developed a relationship with” comments Annoushka.
Building ongoing relationships with BlackBook
In early 2019, Annoushka’s associates were empowered with the app’s BlackBook feature, giving them the ability to stay in touch with their customers both pre-and-post-purchase.
“Hero enables us to have much deeper conversations with clients”
— Annoushka Ducas MBE
By inviting either an online or in-store customer to opt-in to join their personal BlackBook, customers can continue to text with their associate for ongoing advice, perfect for when they may need a little extra time or reassurance before making their decision. They can then choose to either return to store or buy online later, with the associate still being credited with the sale regardless.
For customers who have made a purchase, BlackBook allows associates to maintain the personal touch and extend the dialogue, ensuring the customer remains a brand ambassador for life.
A leader in conversational commerce, HERO® is the messaging app for stores, powering Nike, adidas, Levi’s, Harvey Nichols, rag & bone and more. Our technology makes it effortless to text, chat and video call with customers; growing ecommerce sales while converting URL visitors into IRL customers.