Establishing a direct-to-customer eCommerce brand

Digital Strategy • E-Commerce • Design & Development • Brand Strategy • Packaging Design • Marketing

Tailor Skincare is a direct-to-customer online retailer selling a unique range of skincare products. Tailor’s customer base is mainly located in New Zealand, with a relatively small proportion of sales made to Australia, America and the UK. Aside from selling direct online, Tailor also sells wholesale to retailers throughout New Zealand.

Tailor’s goal is to grow from being a boutique brand with mainly localised sales, to a mainstream brand with international awareness and predominantly international sales.

When we first met with Tailor Skincare’s founder, Sara Quilter, the business was at a delicate stage in its development. Sara had been developing the business on the side for the past few years and had reached the stage where she was ready to take it to the next level. Tailor already had an existing eCommerce website that, while achieving sales, was ultimately hard to use which reflected poorly on the brand. The brand itself was disjointed and the product labels had been created internally due to budget limitations. Despite these shortcoming’s Sara had created great products and Tailor had amassed a small but loyal following.

I’ve been working with Spire for 12 months and over that time my business has doubled. They help us in so many ways, from digital strategy right through to packaging design. I think it's safe to say that without them, we simply wouldn’t be where we are todaySara Quilter - CEO, Tailor Skincare

A common misconception when running an eCommerce business is that it is simply a case of putting the products online and people will automatically seek them out and buy them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. eCommerce businesses require careful consideration and management of its brand, marketing, stock and order processing, the users experience and the ongoing technical maintenance and development of the site. Simply put, they require just as much time and attention as any other form of business.

As with many small businesses, Tailor had plenty of ambition but lacked the cash flow to meet their requirements. Our solution was to grow Tailor in stages, as their cash flow permitted. We worked with Tailor to identify their opportunities and to determine where their budget could be best spent to maximise their return and growth.

We began by repositioning Tailor in the market, from a homemade boutique brand to an established quality natural skincare brand. With any rebranding, the challenge is always to shift the perception of the brand while not alienating the established customer base. In Tailor’s case, this meant keeping the existing distinctive features of the brand, its blue bottles and the Cat Crest logo. Our solution was to design the labels with a ‘modern apothecary’ feel that fitted with the old-world quirkiness of the bottles and also to reflect the ‘natural’ essence of the products. We used transparent labels to help draw attention to the distinctive Yves Klein blue of the bottles, while also making the brand feel fresh, unique and inviting.

Being an eCommerce focused business it was essential to create a shopping experience that was easy, informative and efficient. We worked with Tailor to design and build a responsive eCommerce store that could scale with their expanding business needs. We also implemented Stock Management Software and seamlessly integrated Accounting, Stock Management and Courier Processing within the website. This allowed for processes and information to be shared and automated across the various systems, cutting down on the manual processing time and also providing valuable customer data.

Advertising in the skincare industry has been selling false promises and a negative perception of beauty to women since the 1950’s. This coupled with a wider cultural shift toward customer empowerment has resulted in a skincare consumer that doesn’t respond well to direct marketing. The modern skincare consumer is proactive, they seek information and validation before making a purchase. Our marketing solution was to implement a strategy that focused on Content Marketing, Brand Affiliates and Social Media. We leveraged Tailor’s internal resources to produce a consistent flow of informative and supporting content that provided added value to their customers. This content included Blog articles, eBooks and demonstration videos which were placed on the website and promoted via Social Media and the Tailor eMail Newsletter.

Tailor has gone from strength to strength and has so far achieved 154% growth in their first 12 months. The Tailor story doesn’t end here, we are currently working with them to implement 27 exciting new initiatives that are designed to grow the Tailor brand, improve its customer experience and expand the business into international markets.

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