The Story Behind Good Chemistry's Move to Selling D-to-C
Good Chemistry, a Target-exclusive brand and candle seller owned by parent company ILLUME, wanted to reach consumers directly and capture customer data they didn't have access to. To help build out its direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) business, Good Chemistry turned to e-commerce agency We Make Websites to launch its first site on Shopify Plus.
In this exclusive interview with Total Retail, Elizabeth Sarles, digital marketing manager at Good Chemistry, detail's the brand's decision to sell D-to-C, the challenges it has encountered in doing so, how We Make Websites has helped to address those challenges, and the value in capturing first-party customer data.
Total Retail: Why has Good Chemistry made the decision to begin selling its products D-to-C?
Elizabeth Sarles: Good Chemistry is a brand by ILLUME, a Minnesota-based company of 200 employees and a leader in the world of home fragrance and personal care. Drawing upon our years of experience in fragrance, we identified an opportunity to disrupt the one-size-fits-all personal fragrance category. We looked at the specifics of how and why people were buying personal fragrance. Those insights guided our fragrance formulation, positioning at market, design and merchandising strategy.
With that in mind, we launched with our innovation partner, Target, in the winter of 2018. The initial success showed us we were on the right track, and the decision was made to invest in a D-to-C site for us to grow our digital presence for the brand. Before launching the website, we saw a tremendous level of engagement on Instagram from followers with their devotion to our brand and fragrances as they were discovering them at their local Target. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm, and it’s been fun making the brand accessible to even more consumers.
TR: What challenges present themselves in the decision to sell D-to-C?
ES: One of the challenges when starting the project was how to develop a site that will be able to support our goals for product innovation looking ahead three years to five years. As we work to grow the brand and product assortment, we need the site to grow with us. In past website projects that I’ve worked on, it often times is not considered how the site can accommodate shifts in marketing strategy and also capitalize on opportunities that may arise as the brand matures.
Another challenge, frankly, is selling fragrance online. You can’t smell the product through your screen or device, so it was important for us to design the site to help guide the customer in making a decision on a fragrance that would best suit their tastes and personality.
Lastly, we had the desire to focus efforts on what toolbox of apps our new Shopify Plus site should leverage. There are a lot of options to enable some incredible technology to better target and merchandise on-site and offsite. When initiating this project, it was quite overwhelming for me to narrow in on the best choices for our brand.
TR: How has working with e-commerce agency We Make Websites helped to address those challenges?
ES: We Make Websites has been an incredible partner for us in developing the website, through initial scope, into design, build and launch. In the scoping phase, it has a detailed documentation process that allows us to communicate not only our technical specs, but also our brand principles and goals. This naturally resulted in a project that was rooted in our desire to build a site that would grow with us. We Make Websites also has been helpful in identifying ways we can solve for things like communicating the highlights of fragrance online. In phase one, it worked to design a product detail page that highlighted aspects of a particular fragrance and the collection that fragrance is a part of.
For phase two, we've been working to develop a more robust solution and in partnership will launch a site experience that will guide you through what fragrance is best for you based on your preferences. I've been so appreciative of We Make Websites’ app recommendations and connections to get us in front of the appropriate individuals to make decisions on the add-ons that will work hardest for us. It was a seamless process and we feel fully equipped to maximize our first-party data and ultimately increase conversions on our site.
TR: Target is a wholesale partner of Good Chemistry. What has that relationship meant for the brand as it looks to begin selling D-to-C?
ES: Target has been an incredible partner for Good Chemistry. It has been supportive of our efforts to invest in marketing and growing the brand through a new D-to-C site. Our in-store displays are attention grabbing, and often people are drawn in to our brand by our beautiful packaging and design. Not to mention, the fragrances! Having a physical presence in retail for our brand will continue to be important to us, and Target will remain our product innovation and development partner in the years ahead.
TR: By selling D-to-C, Good Chemistry is able to capture first-party customer data. How does Good Chemistry plan to leverage that data as it looks to continue to grow the brand?
ES: It's exciting to work with partners like Shopify, Yotpo and Klaviyo. There are so many options and programs to consider with these partners. To start, we're focused on building our on-site reviews and triggered email campaigns to bring consumers to the site and increase frequency of visits. With all of these new capabilities at our fingertips, I think we're most excited about the social integration that can be achieved. We know how important it is for our brand to continue to reach consumers on Instagram and Facebook, and we will now be able to leverage data to make our paid media dollars work even harder for us.
TR: As you look to optimize the online shopping experience for Good Chemistry's customers, what areas is your attention focused on?
ES: A main focus for the immediate future for Good Chemistry is to build out a content marketing and promotions plan that allows us to drive repeat visits and increased engagement when consumers arrive on site. We're also looking to build out a way for consumers to discover and buy samples of our most popular fragrances if they're hesitant to commit to a full-size purchase. With this program, we would trigger an offer to return and purchase your favorite. These key marketing initiatives will help to get someone who is new to our brand to experience the product. It’s important to us that we deliver on the information the consumer expects when they come to our site.
Additionally, we want to focus on developing ways to keep our site informative and visually fresh. Weaving in social proof and creating new brand assets will be key areas to address when we head into the holiday season and beyond. On-site product recommendations and merchandising will supplement these efforts as we continue to use our first-party data to enable these features.