Bridging digital and physical experiences
Aesop spent two decades earning a devoted following, all without any advertising. The Melbourne-based company was worth $250 million, but they still hadn’t translated their ethos of “unselling” online. They asked Work & Co to design, build, and ship a new e-commerce site.
Working together, we created an immersive digital storefront inspired by the in-store experience. Our approach makes the site feel like a natural extension of the brand.
3 Big Takeaways
Bringing the in-store experience online
Every Aesop store is unique. The company partners with different architects to design each retail location around its specific physical space. To create Aesop’s e-commerce site, we distilled the essence of the company down to its core elements. Then we created a digital design system to match the overall brand look and feel. Layouts and typography are inspired by the iconic product packaging. Elegant motion design creates calm transitions that mirror a relaxing in-store experience.
Shopping at an Aesop store involves a conversation with a skincare consultant. Each consultant is trained to discover individual needs and offer tailored product recommendations. Our team went through the same skincare consultant training and visited several stores to understand the experience and product range. We also tested the site with store employees.
The result is a content strategy built around the company’s high-touch customer service. How-to videos explain products just like an Aesop skincare expert would, with detailed information about usage. Bundles let users shop by skin type.
Development KPIs: speed and maintenance
Built with Hybris
Aesop’s previous technology relied on rigid systems with limited opportunity. Our front-end developers collaborated with Hybris consultants to build a new, flexible architecture that integrates with the existing infrastructure and CMS-enabled templates.
Built to Scale
To help the site succeed after handoff, we created a full suite of modular components. Having a consistent, flexible system helps Aesop’s internal team create custom page layouts to introduce new products and seasonal content.
Unique design frameworks
The site uses elegant motion to expose products directly from the navigation. User testing confirmed that our custom solution helps loyalists restock quickly. New buyers also find useful information faster.
Logged-In Experience & Simple Checkout
Returning users receive personalized recommendations based on previous purchases. Content is tailored by locations and seasonal climate. A one-page checkout makes ordering simple.
Art Direction & Content Guidelines
Extensive product content guidelines ensure our system for photography, video, and writing can be maintained by the Aesop team moving forward. The site also supports The Fabulist, Aesop’s online literary magazine.
Our flows encourage logging in for better recommendations, faster checkout, and easier reordering. To help customers understand their newly purchased products, confirmation emails contain the same how-to content as the PDP pages.
During the holidays, we extended the experience to a curated gift guide that helps shoppers discover the perfect Aesop product. The guide narrows down products by occasion and price. The checkout flow is optimized for gift cards, gift messages, and gift wrapping.
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