How a fashion brand has cast a spell over customer experience

​The Spell and the Gypsy is driven by personalised customer service and rich storytelling

The Spell and the Gypsy Collective started as a brand sold in markets and was driven by personalised customer service and rich storytelling. So as the brand grew into a more omnichannel approach, it only made sense to continue these facets in a digital environment.

The Spell and The Gypsy Collective (Spell), an Australian fashion brand, was founded at the Byron Markets in 2009 by two sisters, who still run the company today. The modern-bohemian fashion brand has seen steady growth and increasing interest in their product globally and across selling channels.

Spell digital strategy manager, Sami Gilroy, said being predominantly a digital brand, it wanted to deliver a seamless experience to customers, whether consumers are shopping on the website, at the flagship boutique in Byron, or at one of its various pop-up experiences.

“The founders really just have a natural ability for storytelling,” Gilroy told CMO. “So when it came to growing outside of the markets, they already had these great connections with customers face-to-face, and naturally fell into the world of blogging, which turned into an ecommerce site.

“They were early adopters of Instagram thanks to amazing imagery. The brand has always really invested in imagery and spends a lot of time creating beautiful images and working with users, both locally and internationally, and had a big focus on really great, high quality content. So that made it really easily shareable. That's all culminated together and we've had incredible growth over the last 10 years.”

Digital grew to be its biggest channel, and yet it was having difficulty scaling and unifying the ecommerce experience with its various channels. So Spell and the Gypsy started looking for a new ecommerce platform, and selected Workarea Commerce Cloud.

"By moving to Workarea, we’re able to provide this experience to customer in a way that is also more efficient and effective for our team," Gilroy explained.

Using Workarea, the team has embarked on the next phase of business with a single technology platform to implement customer experience improvements across the websites and retail points of sale. Syatt Media, a Workarea Solution Partner, was chosen by Spell to support the implementation of the Workarea Commerce Cloud.

It is hoped once the implementation is complete, it will help the Spell and the Gypsy team efficiently manage unique, content-rich shopping experiences in different markets, as well as locale-specific integrations, such as payments and fulfilment. The digital team at Spell prioritises content as a differentiator and so use Workarea Commerce Cloud’s native content management and publishing capabilities through Workarea Site Planner are key features as well.

"Being content-driven, our team are regularly updating the website throughout the week as well as major site overhauls for every collection launch," Gilroy said.

"Previously, the team were having to manually load content moments before launch, continually watching the clock or waking up in the middle of the night to turn off or load promotions. Now, having the ability to preload campaigns, homepage changes and promotions, our team can plan weeks in advance, with robust testing and approval processes, meaning nothing is missed or overlooked. This is greatly improving the workflow for our team has given them space to focus on bigger picture improvements."

One of the biggest challenges Spell and the Gypsy faced with the old solution was the siloed nature of systems.

"Customers were frustrated with the lack of connectedness between our store and online experiences. From the outset, we knew we wanted to find a single platform that could handle all of our retail transactions," Gilroy said.

The platform has also enabled Spell to develop a point-of-sale application to meet company requirements. The result is a user experience specifically tailored to its sales process, supported by a real-time integration with back-end systems.

“We had been siloed with a lot of information from two separate systems, point-of-sale versus ecommerce. We needed a holistic view of customer, and customers were getting frustrated with things that are pretty basic these days," Gilroy continued. "They expect to be able to order in stores or online, send returns to stores or to the warehouse. So, a lot of us are still trying to catch up to that.

“Shopify as a platform was trying to catch up to that as well, and didn't quite get there in time for us. The company is rolling out new features all the time and trying to address this problem themselves.

“We conduct annual surveys with customers that are quite in depth, and this is what it wanted.”

Learnings and next steps

Spell and the Gypsy started the process in October last year, following 18 months of research prior to that. The website was launched earlier this month, and location point-of-sale is expected to be integrated by the end of the year.

“We've got a really great team and incredible resources that have made it a lot more seamless to implement. We were hoping to get it done in six to eight months, and timing wise it just didn't work out that way. But overall, we are really happy with the platform,” she said. “Because we just launched, we are still in that education phase for customers. We kept the design of the website, but it's a little different to what they've been used to."

With Workarea just releasing version 3.5, Spell and the Gypsy is looking to take up fresh segmentation capabilities directly in the platform.

"We're hoping to roll that out soon and really look to harnessing a lot of that segmentation for our VIP customers, to start with," Gilroy said. “From the merchandising point of view, our team actually has eyes across every single product in every location and they can now see how it's trending in real time. So instead of having to go into a manual report and cross reference that with three other reports, it's all right there."

Already, the platform is saving a lot of time. "We schedule everything out now. Whereas before, if we were doing limited edition sales or time releases, we were having to stay up until midnight or 2am in the morning to actually turn those things off and take everything down, or put things up," Gilroy said.

"This is all now pre-programmed. And we can see previews of exactly what it's going to look like before it goes live and make sure that everything's correct and working.”

Spell and the Gypsy has two region-specific sites at the moment, which are now being customised. However, it has the ability to also customise within territories, which it will soon achieve.

“We can drill down to specific locations as well, depending on how granular we want to get. So that's a big focus for us as a team as well, and we'll release collections globally at the same time," Gilroy added.

"So we try and make sure all of our collections are translatable and will work across both hemispheres and we also make sure we've got the content to back that up for our customers.”

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