Rag & bone and Astound partner to refashion its customer experience
The fashion industry has endured its share of disruption in recent years. Proclamations of the retail apocalypse were ubiquitous by 2019 as physical store closures and retail bankruptcies mounted. Global economic growth had slowed, presenting a major challenge for brands to find new ways to grow—then the pandemic hit.
Seismic consumer shifts also began to take hold. Changing values and expectations meant the end of “business as usual” for fashion brands. Younger consumers expected innovative, personalized experiences in their preferred channel—specifically via digital, making it a key channel for brands to acquire new customers.
Founded in 2002, New York–based fashion brand rag & bone is known for its quality products “made to last and meant to matter to customers for years to come” and its classic mix of British tailoring and edgy New York authenticity. The forward-thinking brand took action to stay competitive and agile amid industry headwinds to provide its customers with an experience that offers the same value as its products.
With 42 stores internationally, rag & bone began to grow its D2C strategy. However, the brand’s ecommerce site was running on an older platform and creating critical customer pain points as a result—namely, slow site speed and high abandonment rates in the cart and during checkout. An internal assessment also exposed weaknesses in rag & bone’s mobile, UX, and SEO capabilities and revealed an opportunity for omnichannel selling. In late spring of 2020, rag & bone tapped Astound Commerce to execute its vision for an enhanced customer experience, thereby embarking on a strategic partnership that has endured beyond the initial project scope.
This long-term partnership became the foundation of our strategic plan for rag & bone’s digital evolution. Together with rag & bone, we determined the brand needed to provide customers with a more valuable ecommerce experience and connect with shoppers in newer, more engaging ways. We began the brand’s transformation with ongoing development support and a technical audit. During the project discovery phase, our team completed a brand analysis and experience audit to identify key opportunities, gap analysis and systems requirements gathering, and an analytics and SEO assessment. As a result of the analyses, we mutually determined that an ecommerce replatform and redesign were the best approaches for rag & bone’s business. This data-driven effort provided rag & bone with a clear roadmap for the future.
To create an architecture that would enable a scalable, customer-first, best-in-class experience, we migrated rag & bone’s former Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform to Salesforce Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA). By employing a “rip-and-replace” method, our team completely replaced rag & bone’s former site structure, swapping existing cartridges for those with SFRA compatibility. The development support team also leveraged an integration service to remove dependencies on outdated and unsupported Commerce Cloud features and re-engineered integrations key to maintaining ecommerce operations.
Core to the experience enhancement, integrated Page Designer modules enable the brand to offer customers personalization, more-robust merchandising, and compelling storytelling without the need for a development team. Innovative third-party integrations for key ecommerce features such as ratings/reviews and tax calculations were also implemented to improve usability. We enabled the transition of rag & bone’s customer relationship management (CRM) system to Salesforce Marketing Cloud by providing technical consultative support. Our digital commerce experts also replaced rag & bone’s enterprise resource platform (ERP) to better support the brand’s cross-functional processes.
To deliver a more seamless shopping experience, fulfillment operations were centralized by integrating new payment providers (including an end-to-end cross-border solutions provider) and replacing rag & bone’s order management system (OMS). The new OMS and optimized checkout process have enabled the brand to unlock future omnichannel strategies, which include buy online, pick up in-store capability. An overhaul of the customer service experience was also deployed, led by an updated customer service platform and the integration of more self-service options—key features that include order tracking and returns processing. Lastly, a sleek new redesign of the front-end user interface capped off the ecommerce enhancements.
“Our goal is to create a seamless customer experience by building a strong omnichannel foundation through a new order management system and bring those capabilities to life through a new website replatform and redesign by leveraging SFRA in addition to Astound’s boilerplate application [now Launch360: Storefront]. We wanted a partner for execution—and strategy. This allowed us to support the functions of omnichannel and give us more creative flexibility to support future initiatives, lay the foundation for personalized experiences and stories, and ultimately scale our business. We’ve also taken this success to build on our partnership—from partnering on our SEO strategy to helping us think through how we maximize this new platform foundation for our business long term.”
—Melanie Masterson, Vice President, Ecommerce, rag & bone
The evolution of rag & bone’s brand experience continues, with Astound providing full-service support along the way. The new site experience launched on June 14, 2022, a significant milestone in the brand's journey to enhancing its customers’ experiences. We will complete a post-launch analysis to quantify the extensive improvements and continue SEO and marketing initiatives via Marketing Cloud to drive demand. Rag & bone’s ecommerce architecture is now more modular, collaborative, and scalable—and is built to last.