British fashion retailer, Monsoon Accessorize, has partnered with leading digital commerce agency, Astound Commerce, to create modern, agile and responsive flagship online stores for its brands, strengthening its omni-channel offering in response to the accelerated global digitisation of fashion retail.
Monsoon and Accessorize together operate 157 retail stores in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland and over 460 stores internationally, selling the brands’ distinctive women’s and children’s apparel and accessories. Monsoon was founded in 1973, the first Accessorize store opened in 1984, and the brands are known for their original product and commitment to sustainable and ethical sourcing.
As consumers have increasingly looked to brands’ digital presence for inspiration and shopping, Monsoon Accessorize made a strategic commitment to grow its ecommerce business and digital presence. Central to the plans for digital transformation was the need to upgrade from a legacy ecommerce platform, which lacked the basic functionality needed to deliver a contemporary on-site customer experience. Having been heavily customised, it was expensive to upgrade and the ongoing management of the site was onerous, making product uploads and content management time-consuming and slow to implement.
Astound Commerce designed and delivered the solution, configuring and integrating Salesforce Commerce Cloud with Monsoon Accessorize’s existing CRM platforms and its order management system to drive areas such as single customer view, marketing attribution, on-site personalisation, click & collect and ship-from-store functionality.
Third-party technologies, including Zendesk for live chat to drive customer engagement and conversion, visual commerce tools from Curalate to enable social shopping and easy purchase of product showcased in user generated content (UGC) and Cybersource to provide frictionless payments, were also integrated to create a scalable ecommerce platform.
With the two brands operating globally, Astound Commerce worked closely with the cross border selling specialist vendor, Global-e, which allows shoppers across the world to pay in local currency and use local delivery services for fulfilment.
To support Monsoon’s marketing positioning shift and embed the premium and boutique elements of the brand, the Astound Consultancy team conducted a series of store visits and discussions with the brands on their future store concepts and designs to distil these attributes into the site design and UX.
Additional editorial content on both sites gives greater visibility to the ethical and sustainable elements of the brands, dialling up story telling on its digital platforms and bringing the in-store experience to life online. Customers can now donate directly online to the Monsoon Accessorize Trust, which supports sustainable development projects in developing countries and local UK community projects.
Despite the onset of the covid-19 pandemic and the disruption this caused to businesses globally, the two sites went live in July 2020. Within just two months of launch, mobile traffic to the site had risen by 18%, the bounce rate had reduced by -12% and conversion had increased by 16%.
Tristan Vanhegan, digital director at Monsoon Accessorize, said: “Astound Commerce is a trusted partner who delivers best-in-class solutions while also being a pleasure to work with. Despite the challenges of delivering the final stages of the project during lockdown, the Astound team worked tirelessly to minimise delays while providing the highest levels of consultancy and technical expertise.”
“To see returns on our investment so quickly is testament to the importance of working with an expert digital partner, such as Astound, to ensure the long-term success of our business,” he added.
Astound Commerce UK MD, Terry Hunter, commented: “The fashion industry has digitally transformed rapidly and it’s clear that digital commerce will drive future revenues. We’re delighted to work with these two much loved British brands to support them as they continue their omnichannel transition.”
“The new platform provides a scalable and future-proof solution that can support each brand’s expansion whilst ensuring customer experience is upheld at each touchpoint,” he concluded.