A D2C Ecommerce Debut for an Iconic Brand
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Brooklyn born Anne Klein was an American designer and businesswoman. Her brand was founded in 1968 and, within 10 years, the designs were being sold in over 750 department stores and boutiques in the U.S. In 2019, WHP Global purchased the fashion brand best known for wardrobe staple blazers, skirts, and dresses. This led to a shift to ecommerce.
Anne Klein previously relied on retail locations and department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Dillards as their primary distribution channels. But in the lead up to 2020, they recognized the need for a D2C ecommerce site. Corra designed and built an experience for Anne Klein on Shopify Plus, established the brand’s digital style guide, and stepped in as their ecommerce team before they hired one. You can view the beautifully designed site at anneklein.com.
Together, Corra &
ESTABLISHING A DIGITAL FLAGSHIP
As a fashion brand without an ecommerce footprint, Anne Klein couldn’t rely on proprietary customer data to inform the design and digital experience. Corra’s team couldn’t user-test and validate designs as we usually would. We were beginning from a blank slate. Because of the challenge posed by not having a frame of reference, Anne Klein needed a partner able to formulate a strategy based on their in-store demographic and conduct a competitive analysis to define the go-to-market strategy.
There were also a number of other important considerations. The new site would launch with a limited product portfolio so it needed to be scalable for Anne Klein to add product categories and SKUs as they pleased. It would also serve as a ‘blueprint’ that could be cloned and customized to create more sites for WHP brands like Joseph Abboud in the near future. These were all stipulations we had to take into account throughout the project.
When we began our partnership with Anne Klein they were still in the process of building their ecommerce team from scratch. So, Corra stepped in to act as an extension of their team, providing education on Shopify Plus, helping with merchandising tasks, design, development, and defining their brand’s digital style guide.
The Anne Klein brand has many licensees that manufacture and sell the brand’s various product categories. Each of these licensees have their own systems to manage inventory. One of the challenges this posed was that product information and assets were received in different formats and sizes—Corra stepped in to help Anne Klein sort and reformat for consistency.
DEFINING THE DIGITAL STYLE GUIDE
Corra kicked off the design project by gaining an in-depth understanding of Anne Klein’s demographics, user personas (their goals, needs, pain points, shopping habits, etc.), brand positioning, and objectives for the new site. Insights were gathered through design workshops where we were able to fully immerse ourselves in the Anne Klein brand and company background.
Anne Klein had an existing brand guideline that was developed with in-store experiences in mind. This served as a starting point that Corra then translated into a digital framework to define button styles, badges, font choices, and colors.
Anne Klein’s existing brand was predominantly black and white. We introduced a warmer color palette like neutral shades of pink and beige to make it feel softer, warm, and more inviting. We also included a muted shade of green to solidify the identity of the ‘Considered’ collection, a line of products created with sustainable materials.
EDUCATING THE CONSUMER THROUGH CURATED MERCHANDISING
Our strategy for Anne Klein took storytelling and product education into account. We wanted to tell the story of the brand’s rich history that spanned generations and educate the consumer on how to style the clothing by showcasing entire outfits not just singular pieces. Anne Klein is known for ‘separates’ dating back to the 1950s—mix-and-match blazers, skirts, and dresses that make the brand synonymous with interchangeability and versatility.
Rather than laying out all of the blazers together on a PLP (Product Listing Page), Anne Klein wanted the ability to position a blazer next to a complimentary skirt to show pieces that go together side by side, thus offering an opportunity for cross-selling.
Natively, Shopify allows for merchandising at the product level only. To empower the Anne Klein’s team with more control over how the items were displayed, Corra performed a customization to address the limitation, allowing them to curate different product variants on the PLP in a considered way by simply dragging and dropping them.
DESIGNING EMAIL MARKETING TEMPLATES
Corra recommended Klaviyo, a solution providing advanced email marketing capabilities, and we designed on-brand email templates for Anne Klein’s team to leverage for various campaigns. These include templates for best sellers, sale, innovative product lines such as ‘Considered’, and welcome emails. Now, Anne Klein’s marketing team can drag-and-drop reusable content blocks and easily customize them without the need for specialized resources, allowing their small team to scale their productivity.
INTRODUCING THE BRAND TO A YOUNGER AUDIENCE
Anne Klein’s existing audience is primarily in their 50s—although their digital consumer tends to be younger. Corra designed the new site to appeal to a younger audience, without alienating their existing mature customer base.
One important component in our go-to-market strategy was the customized CMS page we designed called ‘Jesse’s Closet’, which introduces consumers to Anne Klein’s granddaughter, Jesse. Jesse’s recommendations were key to broadening their audience to a younger demographic. The custom ‘Get the Look’ section allows shoppers to view each piece of an outfit from the sunglasses to the pumps, and add them directly to their cart without leaving the page.
With Anne Klein’s new Shopify Plus site the business is no longer heavily relying on retail locations and department stores to keep the Anne Klein legacy alive. The brand is able to expand their audience with new online reach. In addition, the experience is designed to be scalable so their internal teams can add more SKUs and product categories as needed. Anneklein.com now serves as a best-in-class ecommerce presence and a foundation afor future growth. With the email templates Corra designed for Klaviyo, Anne Klein was able to see results right away. In the holiday period of 2020, returning revenue was up 560% compared to the previous quarter, AOV (Average Order Value) from email campaigns increased by 54%, and owned revenue—the sum of revenue for October, November, and December 2020 attributed to email, SMS, and push notifications increased by 22%.