In 2015, retailers often have to catch the consumer’s eye by providing experiences that go beyond simply offering product. While the visual nature of beauty retailing gives these merchants a head start on that, these merchants still must provide engaging experiences designed to drive the consumer back to the store.
Luxury cosmetics brand Urban Decay has launched a new content-driven web site — “UD All Access” — designed to give consumers an interactive online experience that complements its traditional e-Commerce site. Browsers can access the content hub at the top of the e-Commerce site’s front page.
The retailer partnered with e-Spirit to power the UD All Access content experience with the FirstSpirit content management system (CMS). FirstSpirit completely integrates with Urban Decay’s existing e-Commerce platform from Demandware, simplifying the transition.
“Since we have a very robust e-Commerce side that has been implemented and improved over the last five years, we didn’t want to dismantle that,” said John Perasco, Assistant VP of Digital at Urban Decay. “We also didn’t want to take away from the urgency of getting UD All Access out there to the world. We managed the content pieces in FirstSpirit and it has integrated in such a way that it injects those content assets into Demandware, allowing us to take a hybrid approach in utilizing the strong aspects of both solutions.”
Using Content To Build A Unified Brand Experience
The Urban Decay team always had the goal of keeping a brand presence beyond the traditional e-Commerce site that enabled them to tell stories, according to Perasco. In fact, the retailer leveraged all the major social channels — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat — to spark conversations with consumers.
After finding success through these social media platforms, the retailer looked to consolidate its brand efforts under one distinct voice that could serve as a content cloud for consumers. This way, consumers could keep up with all interactive brand news without having to search numerous outlets.
“We had so much content created by Urbandecay.com and exponentially more produced by our actual fans, but we didn’t yet have a central place for people to come every day to explore, learn and participate in brand engagement,” Perasco said. “That’s what the FirstSpirit tool by e-Spirit is helping us do by launching the UD All Access space. It almost feels like a doubling or tripling of our online real estate, because it expands from the store to a place where we can showcase the videos we have on YouTube and the videos that bloggers are producing outside our site.”
Videos included on the page include step-by-step tutorials for putting on certain Urban Decay makeup products as well as behind-the-scenes footage showcasing the products. The retailer moved its “Steal Our Looks” campaign to the site as well, which includes face drawings specifically designed to inform customers which makeup products to use, and where to apply them.
“It’s one thing to see a model wearing fantastic makeup, but how do consumers do that on their own face?” Perasco said. “It’s sharing those how-to’s with the consumer in a beautiful, branded way.”
UD All Access incorporates the company blog, “The Violet Underground,” which contains more brand stories, how-to guides and Q&As with beauty “junkies.”
The site also includes the “UD on You” function, in which consumers can post a headshot on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #UrbanDecayCosmetics. The photo will include the shopper’s face wearing Urban Decay makeup, and includes tags of the Urban Decay products used for the photo. By integrating this user-generated content into the experience, consumers can explore what their peers are wearing and gain inspiration for their own purchase desires.
“Even when we post a picture of what ‘the mothership’ looks like — which is how we refer to the UD headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif. — those sorts of images get huge reactions because people love to know what’s going on here with us,” said Perasco.
A major driving factor in building the UD All Access hub was the company’s expansion efforts outside North America. As a subsidiary of L’Oréal, the cosmetics retailer now has the backing and resources to rapidly build out global experiences in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. With a larger brand presence, the retailer needs to ensure that experiences are consistent across all channels.
“Just as easily as user generated content can spiral out of control without a moderator on the Internet, we wouldn’t want our branding to get lost as we expand,” concluded Perasco. “Having a true CMS allows us to provide all the super-rich, Urban Decay content, and then manage how it’s released out to all our other country sites in a way that gets them to fully participate with us and localize as necessary. There’s no way we could have done that as a standalone service in Demandware, and we didn’t want to do something outside the ecosystem. Whether in the U.S., Canada, UK or Germany, wherever we happen to have a local voice, we want there to be a single place for you to participate.”