Sexual wellbeing brand and online retailer Lovehoney has partnered with digital commerce agency, Astound Commerce, to create a new mobile-first platform.
In addition to designing and delivering the technical solution, Astound also refreshed the retailer’s brand and visual identity to reflect its role in modernising the adult sector.
The US site went live in October 2020 with the UK and rest of world sites launched early this year.
Founded in 2002 in Bath, Lovehoney is a market leading pure-play retailer catering for individuals and couples of all gender and sexual orientation.
Distributing a mix of own label and third-party products, the business has grown into an international success, delivering record sales in the region of £100m for 2018. 60% of sales come from the UK, with the remainder from Europe, US and Australia. In recognition of the business’ achievements, Lovehoney received the Queens Award for Enterprise in 2016 and in 2018 Telemos Capital acquired a majority stake in the business.
With mobile making up approximately 80% of its traffic, coupled with the accelerated rise in ecommerce as the channel of choice for shoppers globally, Lovehoney recognised the need to digitally transform and provide an easy to use and compelling mobile experience. Additionally, it wanted to enable its operational team to focus on delivering outstanding customer experience while at the same time gathering insights to improve the user experience and increase online revenue.
However, the legacy ecommerce platform had reached its capacity and could no longer scale to meet the brand’s aspirations. Additionally, with editorial content playing a central role in supporting the retailer’s aim of normalising sexual desire, by making information accessible and educational, the new platform needed to be easy to use with the manual processes associated with processing such a high volume of content automated. The retailer’s brand and visual identity required refreshing to reflect its role in modernising the adult sector by promoting the normalisation and inclusivity of sexual pleasure.
Stakeholder interviews and anonymous online testing ensured customer insight informed user interface (UI) and branding changes. Astound Commerce also collaborated closely with Lovehoney to deliver a brand refresh – refreshing and reimagining the typography, colour palette, graphic system, art direction and layout to make it more playful and modern. With the site catering for both new and existing customers, Astound recommended using an illustrative approach to showcase product information, supporting and educating new customers while guiding them through their decision making journey without being intimidating or overly graphic. The new brand refresh is now fully aligned with Lovehoney’s ‘sexual happiness people’ positioning, bringing mainstream contemporary design to a market often shrouded in taboo.
Astound Commerce delivered the solution, configuring and integrating Salesforce Commerce and third-party technologies, including Yotpo for customer reviews and loyalty, Avalara to ensure sales and tax compliance across territories and progressive payment services, including Klarna, Clearpay, PayPal and Amazon Pay, to provide frictionless payments, to create a new scalable ecommerce platform.
With informative, fact based and playful editorial content key to removing stigma and increasing consumer confidence when purchasing, Astound Commerce recommended the Amplience Content Management Solution (CMS). This allows the Lovehoney team to create content in a standalone capacity, reducing the need for developer support while easily integrating the type of dynamic content, including podcasts, video and user reviews, needed to instil consumer confidence when purchasing products.
The US site went live in October 2020 allowing Lovehoney and Astound to monitor performance during the crucial Peak shopping period with key learnings to be reviewed and any necessary amendments made before the UK and rest of world sites launched in early 2021.
Debbie Bond, Chief Operating Officer at Lovehoney, commented: “Digital transformation sits at the heart of our long-term growth strategy, so it was imperative we had the right infrastructure – and the right digital commerce agency – in place to support us, both now and in the future. The Astound team has worked collaboratively with us at every stage of the digital transformation project, providing us with the platform necessary to enable the next chapter of our amazing growth story, ensuring we fulfil Lovehoney’s ambitions for global category leadership.”
Astound Commerce UK MD, Terry Hunter, commented: “This was a significant project for Astound, drawing on expertise from across our different areas of specialism across the agency. Lovehoney has an ambitious growth trajectory, so we knew we needed to create and integrate a best-of -breed tech stack that could live-up to and exceed its aspirations, regardless of the device on which a customer shops, and grow with them in the future. In particular, this project showcased our branding and design expertise, which will play a significant role in supporting Lovehoney’s expansion plans by creating an inclusive and welcoming customer experience.”