When I arrived at Kendra Scott as CIO in January 2016, one of my first orders of business was to decide how to better support the double-digit growth of our online business. I had two choices: do a forklift upgrade to the new version of the platform we were already on, or go in a new direction that would meet our current and future needs while opening up new opportunities.
I chose the latter, and in mid-February we redesigned and relaunched KendraScott.com on Commerce Cloud only seven months after signing on the dotted line.
But first, some background. Kendra Scott – she’s pictured below at our amazing new Austin headquarters with COO Lon Weingart – is a lifestyle brand that has a sense of social responsibility deeply engrained in its culture. Because of the brand’s philanthropic efforts and quality designs, the company has experienced high growth and amassed a loyal customer base since Kendra started the business with $500 out of a spare bedroom in 2002.
Kendra Scott is now an international business that is valued at $1 billion, with over 50 retail locations, a wholesale business including hundreds of partners, and of course a thriving digital business. For Kendra’s complete story, check out her recent NPR podcast, How I Built This. It’s truly inspirational.
But while every business strives for high growth, ours sometimes came at a cost, as our former website buckled under the strain of high traffic and a large product assortment, with no easy way to add new features or expand our mobile business. We needed a platform that would quickly scale along with our high growth, with a built-in upgrade path, and empower us to add features both on the web and mobile, without a lot of hassles.
To that point, it’s worth noting that we are a jewelry and fashion company, and like many retailers our expertise is not in software development. So one of the things that attracted us to Commerce Cloud was ease of use. We have no plans to hire an army of developers. We need to focus on what we do best – designing and marketing beautiful, quality, affordable jewelry.
Aside from the technology, here’s what else makes Commerce Cloud unique – the service and ongoing site optimization that comes with it.
I’ve spent twenty years in IT, most recently as Vice President of IT at Sephora. I’ve implemented many, many systems over the years and most times what you hear from vendors is, ‘here’s your software. Have a nice day.’
With Commerce Cloud, their subject matter experts not only did a site readiness assessment and checklist, they made sure we knew how to drive the car before they left us to our own devices with the launch. If that wasn’t enough, a mere six weeks after going live, the Retail Practice team was already helping us to optimize the site by implementing best practices on search, product detail pages and checkout.
I didn’t have to ask for these services. It’s unusual, and it’s reassuring.
It’s too soon to share any performance metrics of the new site vs. the former, but I can say that we experienced no hiccups with the launch, and that we met our ambitious targets. Equally as important is that I sleep at night without worrying about the site, and I have the bandwidth to cultivate our rapidly growing business.
What’s next? We plan an eventual international expansion, which is another reason we chose Commerce Cloud. We know we can spin up new sites without having to build full ones from the ground up. We are also considering leveraging the B2B capabilities of the platform to fortify our wholesale business.
We’re also opening about 20 new stores this year, so we’ve got a lot on our plate! But we also have an amazing opportunity to take our brand to new heights. We’re confident that we made the right choice with Commerce Cloud, and that the partnership – that’s truly what it is – will help us get there.