How ELEMIS London is utilizing a technology-forward approach to skincare and e-commerce

Skincare brand ELEMIS London takes a tech-forward approach to e-comm that matches its methods of developing products with patented technology.

Image of Elemis' "Pro-Collagen" skincare products

By Peter Sheldon

Posted on 01-25-2021

Innovative skincare brand ELEMIS London has taken a technology-forward approach to e-commerce that matches its scientific methods of developing results-driven products that boast cutting-edge, patented technology. For over 30 years, the skin wellness brand has been a defining force in luxury beauty and is globally recognized for harnessing the power of nature’s finest actives, high performance delivery systems and revolutionary technology.

When the company decided to enhance its e-commerce experience for customers globally, it sought to harness the same technology-based approach utilized in product development. Because of this, ELEMIS London upheld its position at the forefront of technology and innovation by investing heavily in building a progressive web app (PWA) storefront built on top of Magento Commerce, something no other beauty brand had done before.

“Even before we moved to a PWA storefront, the amount of traffic proportional to mobile had shifted considerably in the past year to more than 70 percent globally,” said Luigi Raffo, senior director of global digital experience at ELEMIS. “This has been an ongoing trend that we’ve seen over the past three years, and it became imperative that ELEMIS shift its focus to becoming a mobile-first company.”

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Magento 2 and PWA go hand in hand

Over the past year, PWAs have been increasing in popularity as they address a host of issues that impact merchants, shoppers and developers when it comes to omnichannel commerce. PWAs use traditional web technology but behave like native apps in providing a mobile-first shopping experience. Their versatility and availability on a broad range of devices help to improve performance, attract more shoppers and support new sources of revenue. Additionally, PWAs run in a browser, making them easier, faster, and cheaper to build and support than native mobile apps.

ELEMIS LONDON had previously been on Magento 1, but after evaluating several ecommerce systems, it ultimately chose Magento 2 due to the platform’s capability to natively support PWA development with PWA Studio. ELEMIS London also recognized that Magento Commerce is a feature-rich platform with a wide range of out-of-the-box capabilities. In March 2020, the brand began its implementation of Magento 2 hosted in the cloud with Adobe Solution Partner Corra, utilizing Corra’s PWA accelerator, FWRD, and Elemis’ first PWA sites for the UK, US and EU went live in September.

“We were looking at various technologies, and based on what we saw, Magento Commerce was the right enterprise solution to future proof us for at least five years or more,” said Raffo.

The countless benefits of PWA

Speeding up the website performance was one of the key reasons that ELEMIS London wanted to implement Magento 2 and a PWA, considering that more than half of mobile users said they will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load, according to a Google survey. Since launching the PWA, ELEMIS’ load speed has improved drastically from 7.58 seconds on Magento 1 to 2.98 seconds on Magento 2 PWA.

According to Raffo, “our previous site wasn’t described as ‘snappy,’ but now that’s one of the first three words people use to describe it. That’s really nice to hear.”

ELEMIS’ PWAs offer additional benefits because they’re not only compatible with most browsers and can be browsed even with very limited internet connection, but they also boast an elegant and easy-to-use interface that helps maximize the consumer experience. For example, ELEMIS has stepped up its “gift with purchase” promotions and sampling program to entice more consumers to shop on their site. In addition, since the update, the brand’s PWAs allow for a new shopping and checkout experience that is streamlined for mobile, making it fast and convenient for consumers to place orders.

Another benefit of Magento 2? By delivering a native storefront in PWA Studio, PWAs built on Magento Commerce integrate with Magento capabilities like Page Builder, which enables merchants to easily create new content via a simple drag-and-drop interface. According to Raffo, this has resulted in “huge” time savings for ELEMIS.

During the last holiday shopping season, the Page Builder implementation helped ELEMIS quickly produce content required for its holiday gift finder while minimizing the actual development work.

“As a growing global digital business, our sprints are often filled with enhancements and new features, so being able to free up development time by using Page Builder helps us stay nimble, save time, and reduces cost,” Raffo said. “With fewer hours spent customizing page layouts, our Marketing Department can now launch new pages, campaigns and promotions in a fraction of the time. Furthermore, this has allowed us to unveil more frequent and impactful content updates.”

The benefits of the cloud

ELEMIS London’s PWA and Magento 2 are both hosted in the cloud, giving it access to a managed services infrastructure, optimized performance and other tools. Being able to setup a cloud system was a major reason ELEMIS choose Magento 2, especially amid concerns about scaling upward during business peaks, Raffo explained.

“During Cyber Week in 2019, we were very concerned that our site couldn’t handle the traffic,” he said. “We had grown so quickly that we were starting to see performance issues across our servers.” With the cloud-based architecture in place in 2020, Raffo went into the holiday season feeling more prepared. “While our former hosting service did a great job keeping us afloat, we’re in a much better position now to handle the increased loads and traffic,” he said.

Because Magento Commerce comes out-of-the-box with a PWA framework, both the platform and the storefront can be hosted on the same cloud infrastructure. ELEMIS was able to save both time and resources by having everything in a single cloud environment.

What’s next for ELEMIS London

Investing in Magento 2 and PWAs has been a win for ELEMIS. Since launching their new PWA experience, ELEMIS has seen a 137 percent increase in mobile transactions and 85 percent growth in mobile conversion rates between October — December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

ELEMIS expects to reap even more benefits from Magento 2 and PWA Studio with several planned improvements for the coming months, all anchored on improving the customer experience. Since the site is a PWA, the brand can make those frontend changes rapidly without the risk of interfering with their back-end business processes. These features include offering additional payment options like Apple Pay and Klarna, an enhanced product recommendation feature that helps shoppers discover new items, and an automatic replenishment feature that will send customers their must-have products before they run out.

ELEMIS London is also increasing their virtual store presence by rolling out a series of enhanced live experiences like real-time virtual consultations and guided selling via live chat, along with appointment booking for virtual consultations. The brand is currently rolling out livestream video shopping over the next few months.

Topics: Customer Stories, Retail, Digital Transformation, Commerce, Experience Cloud, Experience-Driven Commerce, Enterprise Customers

Products: Commerce Cloud, Magento Commerce