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Case Study: Ecommerce Website Design and Development for International Hair Care Brand Bouclème

Find out how Swanky leveraged our expertise in ecommerce website design and development to improve the customer journey and create back-end efficiencies for international hair care brand Bouclème.

Written By
Hannah Smiddy

Bouclème: Brand overview

British, plant-powered hair care brand Bouclème have amassed a loyal following of curly-haired customers across the globe. This black-owned, female-led company is on a mission to help customers wear their curls, waves and coils with confidence – and all with the power of natural ingredients.

They offer a complete care system for each curl type, with products to cleanse, condition, style and treat.

Bouclème’s curl care products are shipped internationally. They can be purchased directly from the brand’s ecommerce store and are also stocked by third-party retailers such as Boots, Selfridges, Lookfantastic and Naturisimo.

Project goals

Already on Shopify Plus, Bouclème came to Swanky looking for a new website theme to support their rebrand. They also wanted to improve the customer journey, as well as the experience of the Bouclème team working behind the scenes.

“Our previous website had not changed drastically since the company’s initial launch seven years prior,” explains Sherene Perrier, Head of Ecommerce & Digital Marketing at Bouclème. 

“We had three main goals with this development project. Foremost, to bring the look and feel in line with our latest branding to enable compelling and cohesive storytelling. 

“We also needed to improve the overall customer journey and experience to support the need to educate customers about curl care and our great products and improve conversion rates and retention. This included a need for new functionality for a quiz and recurring subscriptions. 

“And lastly, as a small team working with three separate international websites, we needed a solution to support the growth of the business, whilst also improving our internal workflows such as building landing pages so we spent less time doing administrative tasks and could focus our energy on other inputs that would be most impactful.” 

In a thorough research and discovery phase, we identified that site users were looking for a complete solution of products, but were unaware of the specific items required to help them achieve their curly hair goals.

We also found that shoppers were looking for trust credentials and reassurance that Bouclème’s products will work for them. These discoveries would be central to the design and functionality of the new store.

In particular, we wanted to cater to these needs to help increase the following metrics:

  • Conversion rate – by helping users find suitable products for their needs and desires, whilst providing confidence the product will work for them.
  • Lifetime value and revenue – by assisting users in purchasing (and subscribing to) a complete set of complementary products.
  • Retention – by implementing stronger loyalty messaging and launching a subscription offering.

Below, we explore some of the solutions and strategies implemented to achieve these goals.

How Swanky helped: Bespoke ecommerce website design and development

Our New Builds team leveraged their expertise and experience to build a bespoke Shopify Plus theme to align with Bouclème’s recently revamped brand, whilst keeping in mind the importance of education and inspiration.

This project wasn’t just about looks though; we reviewed and optimised the brand’s tech stack to ensure efficiency and scalability, future-proofing the store for international growth.

New design and branding

After researching current UI trends in the hair and beauty industry, our Shopify Plus design experts got to work revamping Bouclème’s online store, keeping the brand’s target consumer in consideration at all times.

The new mobile-first design gives plenty of real estate to visual content, elevating the beautiful new photography and video that Bouclème created as part of their rebrand.

Throughout, we took a soft, friendly and contemporary approach, looking to reflect Bouclème’s position as a modern, caring and approachable hair care brand.

The use of curved corners speaks to their focus on and celebration of curls, whilst a modern font with more consistent weighting gently embraces font trends.

Senior UI/UX Designer Freddie Loveday describes how the site’s makeover supports product discovery and provides an improved user experience:

“We implemented clear user journeys in the navigation, based on curl type and hair goal. 

“Meanwhile, to ease the digestion of content and provide a sense of progression, we leveraged plenty of whitespace throughout the site. 

“We also implemented subtle, clear and intelligent communication of Bouclème’s USPs.”

A screenshot showing above the fold on Boucleme's Shopify Plus store

Sharing her thoughts on the new website design, Sherene said:

“Freddie and the team did an amazing job implementing our initial updated brand guidelines and elevating them for the web design. We love the new look and feel as it captures the essence of our brand so well – spirited, luxe and empowering.” 

 

Support with Shopify Plus internationalisation

Prior to the re-theme, Bouclème had three separate Shopify Plus DTC stores for the UK, US and the EU.

Now, they have two Shopify Plus DTC instances, making use of country code top-level domains:

  1. UK/RoW (.co.uk) – which makes use of cross-border management tool, Shopify Markets
  2. US (.us)

This sort of multi-store structure can afford merchants more control and flexibility in their approach to each individual market, as well as being an effective way to rank for keywords locally. You can read more about international ecommerce store structure in our comprehensive guide to cross-border commerce on Shopify.

Whilst a multi-store structure is typically complex to manage, Bouclème are leveraging a unique multi-store codebase solution architected by our New Builds team, which streamlines the deployment process, increases efficiency and reduces complexity. Jamie McCleave, Lead Developer at Swanky, talks more about this unique approach to multi-store management in our Wilkinson Sword case study.

Customers, orders, loyalty points and discount codes were migrated from the EU store to the UK/RoW store and relevant redirects were set up. We also implemented Geolocation DB popups to direct customers between the two new sites, based on geo IP.

 

Bespoke warehousing configuration

With the consolidation of EU and UK/RoW stores, we sought to address existing complications with fulfilment logistics across Bouclème’s warehouses (which are distributed between the UK and Europe) and apply custom business logic to efficiently ship to their customers based on their locality and fulfilment location.

Let’s explore this in more detail with an example.

EU customers based in Ireland are fulfilled from Bouclème’s UK warehouse, not their EU warehouse, whereas mainland EU customers are, as you might expect, fulfilled from a warehouse based in the Netherlands.

“Unfortunately, Shopify Markets in EMEA currently doesn’t provide native capabilities to manage localised product catalogues that would enable this basic scenario with a satisfactory user experience,” explains Ian Jamieson, Swanky’s UK Head of Technology. 

“This has meant the Bouclème team has needed to manually cancel and process these types of orders. To address this, we created a custom solution to mediate the availability of certain products depending on the customer’s locale versus that locale’s fulfilment location, by employing some workarounds available with local pickup availability and the Storefront API’s localisation object. 

“It is our understanding that Shopify Markets Pro, once available in EMEA, would address this requirement natively for merchants, as this suite of functionality enables localised product catalogues within a single storefront, but at this stage we needed to work within current system constraints.”

Discussing how this bespoke warehousing configuration benefits both customers and Bouclème team members, Head of Ecommerce & Digital Marketing Sherene said:

“With the new consolidated websites, it’s important that customers in each region are only able to shop and purchase products available in their local warehouse. It’s a poor experience to be able to add the item to cart, only to get to the checkout or even worse be contacted post purchase to confirm it can’t be shipped. 

“This solution makes it clear which items are sold out during the initial browsing/shopping phase, leading to less manual work for our customer service and operations teams as well.”

 

Dynamic content layouts

We introduced significant improvements to Bouclème’s content management workflows by leveraging dynamic content layouts to their full potential, as Head of Tech Ian explains:

“Alongside the Store 2.0 sections-everywhere architecture, we employed our ‘content-is-data’ philosophy and used dynamic data sources in many sections, as well as creating custom functionality to dynamically change product layouts to fit the available data. 

“This reduced a large amount of the content management overheads associated with maintaining multiple template files, whilst enabling rich and dynamic user experiences when browsing Bouclème’s product catalogue.”

 

Supporting product discovery

Passionate about empowering customers with advice and solutions to care for their curls properly, the Bouclème team recognised the importance of streamlined product discovery routes on their ecommerce store.

With that in mind, we implemented a needs-based navigation menu which allows visitors to shop by curl type or curl goals. This connects users with relevant products quickly and efficiently, thereby increasing conversion rate.

We also introduced a quiz (powered by QuizKit) to direct users to the most appropriate care products for their hair. This asks users questions about their hair goals, curl type, scalp condition and treatment history.

A GIF showing a user working through the hair care quiz on the Boucleme Shopify Plus site

Not only does this allow consumers to make an informed purchasing decision, it demonstrates the brand’s commitment to providing effective curl care solutions.

Plus, quizzes are a great way to collect zero-party data that you can later leverage to deliver a hyper-personalised customer experience. Brands can deliver meaningful interactions and recommend highly targeted content across future marketing touchpoints, which drives customer satisfaction, loyalty and lifetime value. We talk more about these benefits in our guide to the ROI of personalisation.

On product pages, we designed and built a bespoke section, “Complete the Routine”, which suggests complementary products. This is another way to help users find a complete hair care solution.

A screenshot showing the "Complete the Routine" section on one of Boucleme's product pages.

 

Focus on product education

Providing trusted curl care advice and transparent product education is key for Bouclème. They recognise that many new users don’t know what type of product is best for their hair type, so wanted their ecommerce site to be a place of learning and inspiration.

Clear, easy-digestible product information is a recurring feature through the site, with the use of iconography to ease comprehension.

A dedicated curl care page leverages written and visual content to educate users around common hair goals and help them understand their hair type, texture and porosity.

Meanwhile, over on their blog, they share hair hacks and how to guides. Sharing valuable, trustworthy content like this empowers readers and demonstrates Bouclème’s authority in the industry. Their blog will also serve as a key tool in increasing brand visibility, attracting new shoppers and building meaningful relationships with existing customers. We round up more advantages like these in our round-up of content marketing benefits.

 

Leveraging customer reviews

Reviews are a powerful form of social proof that demonstrate brand credibility, boost consumers’ confidence in products and ultimately encourage conversions.

With Bouclème’s needs in mind, we recommended using Yotpo to capture authentic reviews and display them at moments of high-intent. On the homepage, star ratings accompany customer photos and written testimonials, whilst over on product pages shoppers can filter reviews by curl type, texture and goal to find reviews that are most relevant to their needs.

A screenshot showing three customer reviews on the Boucleme Shopify Plus website

 

Implementing a new subscription offering via Recharge

With the brand’s goals to increase lifetime value, revenue and retention in mind, we leveraged our experience in subscription ecommerce to consult on and implement a brand new “subscribe and save” offering for Bouclème, powered by Recharge. As per the brand’s business strategy, we implemented custom code that means only the 300ml variants are available for subscription.

This replenishment subscription allows customers to automate the delivery of their hair care products, whilst saving 15% compared to multiple individual purchases. Crucially for satisfaction and retention, users have the ability to edit, pause and cancel their subscription at any time.

A screenshot showing the subscribe and save offering on one of Boucleme's product pages

Bouclème’s subscription landing page succinctly communicates the benefits of subscribing, whilst a “How it works” section outlines the four simple steps to subscription. The use of social proof emphasises the value of the subscription option, and common customer questions are anticipated in a dedicated FAQ section. These are all key ingredients of a successful subscription landing page.

 

An upgraded loyalty program

Known for their positive impact on customer satisfaction, advocacy and repeat purchasing behaviour, loyalty programs are a popular strategy for ecommerce retailers.

As part of our tech stack consultation for Bouclème, we recommended Yotpo as a powerful solution for building a customised loyalty program that increases engagement and lifetime value.

The brand’s “Strong Curls Club” enables members to earn points every time they shop, which can then be redeemed for exclusive discounts. Plus, the more points members earn, the more perks they’ll unlock as they move through the different program tiers. The promise of increasingly attractive perks in higher tiers is a great way to motivate customers to repurchase again and again.

You can read more about loyalty programs and other strategies to boost the lifetime value of your customers in our guide to reducing customer acquisition cost.

A final word from the client

Leveraging the expertise of our multidisciplinary team, we have laid the structural foundations for Bouclème’s future growth. Head of Ecommerce & Digital Marketing at Bouclème, Sherene, expands on this:

This was a large-scale project requiring not only a redesign but the implementation of several new key features/apps and data migration. From the initial discovery phase through to finalising the last details, the project was well managed and executed. Leading us through the journey with their great deal of expertise, high standard of work and genuine care, the Swanky team have been a delight to work with and I recommend them highly. 

“With our new websites, we now have the modern platforms we need to continue building and improving on our strategies for our international expansion and new customer acquisition efforts, whilst also improving customer retention and lifetime value. We’re incredibly proud of the end result, however, this is just the beginning of a promising future for the brand.” 

Looking for ecommerce website design and development services?

Are you looking to refresh your Shopify Plus store with the latest design trends or migrate your site from another platform? Perhaps you’re looking to diversify your offering with a new subscription service?

We have more than a decade of experience working with brands across the UK, US, Europe and APAC to create powerful ecommerce experiences that accelerate digital growth. To find out how we can help unlock your ecommerce potential with our ecommerce website design and development expertise, speak to one of our friendly Shopify Plus Experts.

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