Xlash, founded in 2012, is an original Swedish beauty brand that has grown towards global expansion worldwide in the last couple of years. Targeted towards women of all ages in the beauty segment, specifically the eyecare industry, to make eyelashes and brows pop with a simplified, affordable, and easy-to-use solution. Xlash has spent the last decade perfecting its formula in providing a clinically proven and dermatologically tested vegan mascara and eyelash, eyebrow, and lip care alternative. Today, the brand comprises a team of 40 people, focusing primarily on eCommerce and B2B efforts.
Made People, an eCommerce agency based out of Stockholm, Sweden, in building creative solutions for brands, were able to work with Xlash in bridging the gap between strategy, and the need for an easy-to-use setup geared toward market scalability.
4 months of development
2 times increase in organic traffic since 1 month's launch
90% of mobile site visitors
Xlash came to Made People as a fast-growing consumer brand that was quickly expanding into new markets and languages, needing to get new content to market quickly and easily. Previously, the brand were on what they considered to be a messy setup of 7 to 8 different WordPress stores. These were made with a custom-built middle layer, making sure orders and stocks were synced for 6 localized and 1 global store. Over time, this became a hassle to work with - plus keeping all markets up to date in a separate and static manner was another pain point facing the team.
Processes and any updates to the pages had to be done up to 8 times in each of the online stores, with no efficient way to copy content or pages, while having their eCommerce team having to manage up to 7 logins. Overall, this brought around frustrations across teams, and the inability to streamline anything.
On top of this, the team had to move into each individual store, and attempt to sync with their entire order flow (through Business Central as their ERP), which in turn due to WordPress’s monolithic structure, could not automatically sync with the ERP. Any product stock uploads had to be manually done by hand. This led to issues on the customer side where one product’s overall stock quantity was not reflective of what the actual number of products were left in stock. This meant that what was being seen in the storefront’s frontend was not synced with the ERP system.
Such typical WordPress situations reached the systems’ limit, and hindered scalability and growth - the only way to scale with such a restrictive system was to hire more admins to manage the overwhelming workload, which eventually added up to more static processes internally.
Enter Made People - such situations are considered their bread and butter. Made People were able to set Xlash up with Storyblok, where different problems can be solved simultaneously while allowing the brand to be more consumer-oriented in their content experience, and much more aligned to their branding.
Moving to Storyblok with Made People
Xlash is a very content-driven brand, filled with content and translation updates, and the desire to localize to each of its markets and expand into new regions. Two of the main criteria that propelled their decision for change were:
The necessity to manage content in a smooth and easy way
The ability to manage localizations in the same space rather than having to do double work across multiple pages and logins (as was the case with their WordPress experience)
The entire company was involved in the decision-making process to move to Storyblok, which involved a large investment and the need to redo their work for migration to Storyblok, with Centra (their eCommerce integration), Business Central (their ERP), and so on. The brand was at a pivotal point with Made People needing to reinvent their entire system in 2021, and early 2022, in order to ensure their experience with Storyblok was set up for success from the start and could ensure its scalability into new locales and regions.
Setting up Xlash for eCommerce success
In its early days, the site hosted only a few products (around 10 to 15), whereas nowadays, their product catalog ranges into various bundles through a compilation of different products. With their new site launched in March 2022, Made People were able to go granular with content, and the product offerings to their customers, and provide more control to their responsible stakeholders, such as their Head of Tech Emelie Samuelsson, to take control and manage the brand’s Storyblok adoption and migration.
All of the product pages are built inside Storyblok, with all referenced real data coming directly from Centra. While there is no sync between Storyblok and Centra, all content is built using references from Centra to a certain product.
The ability to preview and see what you are doing has been key in the Storyblok. It’s easier for non-technical people to understand what they are doing, and see the results of their actions immediately before it’s put live to the customer, which a lot of CMSs don’t offer.
Tools & integrations that leveled up Xlash’s eCommerce experience
Made People were able to set up the brand for success in providing an interactive experience for their customers while staying true to their need for growth. Made People integrated eCommerce solutions that are integrated within Storyblok’s CMS interface, allowing the team to apply such integrations to any project, campaign, or page they want. The following integrations that were used within Storyblok consisted of:
Centra - eCommerce platform: Order Management System, PIM (Product Information Management), Payment, WMS, Promotions
Business Central - An enterprise resource planning system from Microsoft
Yotpo - A marketing platform that displays and handles customer reviews, referrals, and loyalty visual marketing, allowing the team to work with more review content like a UGC with Flowbox
Yotpo Visual UGC - Manages a direct Instagram display component (all handled directly in Storyblok through a UGC connection made by Made People to connect) that brings Xlash’s Instagram gallery and presents personalized content according to the product fold and page
Klaviyo - A newsletter function catered exactly to the customer’s interests
Localization & Translations
Klarna & Ayden - Provides online financial services such as payments for online storefronts, as well as post-purchase payments
Speaking Xlash’s customers’ language
Currently, all translations are done through an external agency. From there, the eCommerce team manually inputs this through Storyblok’s folder-type structure to manage the different sites and locales. The way the sites are built for new markets is through using each page as a branch from their ‘Global’ site. Based on each market, content is switched out to match the market, making it easy for them to reuse pages from a global point of view, and hone in on the marketing with a more localized version.
With eCommerce, the address, or URL is everything, with the lowest common denominator defining each site by a country code. Made People used country codes per URL to determine which site belonged to which market, and added a market container to the setup. This acts as a dummy block inside Storyblok that allows a user to select all the different markets (EU, US, DE, etc.) to only render for that market.
Together with Centra, products are able to be pulled to specific market sites, to cater to each storefront’s region. Today, Xlash is available worldwide in over 120+ countries, 12 languages, and over 7 currencies.
It’s the ease of use in localization that has simplified our content efforts in an organized way while being able to preview the page before going live with the visual editor has changed how we present campaigns and new pages.
Onboarding the eCommerce team to Storyblok
Emelie Samuelsson, Head of Tech at Xlash, was key to making sure the migration to Storyblok ran smoothly and that everyone was on the same page. Emelie jumped into Xlash quickly - having had prior experience using CMSs, Storyblok was an easy system to learn off the bat, and in turn, made it easy for her to teach others to use. Emelie’s role is to teach any new person, technical or non-technical, with the set up Made People created, and help the eCommerce team explore different ways to structure content and appeal to their customers.
Having taught team members how to use Storyblok, they were excited to know that the possibilities were endless with the CMS and how easy it was to use as a non-technical person to build product pages, campaigns, and more with the visual editor.
Prior to the site relaunch, Emelie went through the tweaks and high-level factors in place to ready the brand for launch. This meant getting content-heavy assets in place, with the right component blocks to handle animations, swiper components (such as a before and after feature on images), and so on. Overall, it took 4 months of implementation to get everything in place. This was accomplished through an external JSON backend that Made People prepared, allowing the eCommerce team to easily build product pages, reference to Centra’s integration, and connect to other integrations on hand, feeding to Storyblok as the endpoint. Having an API layer as flexible as Storyblok’s, allowed Made People and Xlash to leverage and innovate with new solutions, and expand their creativity, without having to worry about any heavy lifting.
In all, the build time with Made People, in parallel with the design and functionality development with Xlash, started in November 2021 and proceeded with the website relaunch in early March 2022.
Bringing a new editorial experience to Xlash’s team
Currently, seven people are working inside Storyblok - the eCommerce team, the content team, and Emelie from tech, where there are constant reiterations to make sure all content is in-line with the brand’s messaging, from components to headlines, while keeping in line with the latest updates, innovations, and possibilities. Made People delivers this in the form of a ‘toolkit’ through designs and site/user experience updates directly inside Storyblok for the team.
In a way, this fits with Made People’s internal push for Editor Experience ‘EX’. Such a term is framed as putting Made People’s own editors in the shoes of their clients, wherein each change or update is questioned around its usability, and its simplicity to learn and understand.
We always have in the back of our heads that we are creating something, and therefore, we need to make sure any deliverables to an organization can be easily understood and that it also inspires them in their day-to-day content creation and management.
While the main focus of any organization is the overall customer experience and interaction with a brand and its website, there is also a key insight into the brand’s admin side with the overall experience of fostering a great editor experience that lends itself to an optimized customer experience. Storyblok, as a headless CMS, has changed Xlash’s way of collaboration and workflows amongst teams, that has allowed them to boost their creativity towards optimizing their customer’s experience.
Storyblok is one of the easiest CMSs I have ever worked with. Having worked with various CMSs before, and knowing my way around, Storyblok was the easiest to learn how to use, teach others, and adapt to your content needs.
The eCommerce team are the owners of the site, with Emelie being their go-to person for questions about all things within the CMS, including the Storyblok toolkit that Made People delivered. Together, Emelie and Jonathan, from Made People, work to discuss, improve and build upon their setup, with the main goal of giving back flexibility and management to the brand in their content efforts, and digital experience.
A global site set for scalability and the mobile-world
For the first time in history, the eCommerce and content team can now work inside a CMS together. Storyblok has been able to set the brand up for collaboration, with an easy-to-use experience, allowing users to try out components, or upload any content themselves, without the need to rely on the development team for changes. Currently, the only involvement from the development team is with Made People, when it comes to implementing a new feature or component and creating teaching materials for the eCommerce team to then take on.
Only one month after the relaunch, the site’s organic traffic has almost doubled, with 90% of site visitors coming through mobile - a stark difference from their old site which was not mobile-friendly.
Xlash has its sights set on expansion, with future projects diving into creating a membership program built with different tiers, and thus content, and personalized pages for customers that would be built in Storyblok, through Yotpo and Centra. With each single currency spent, this would equate to a point towards building a customer’s membership tier. In future, this would create personalized tailored versions of content and pages for each tier customer type.
At Storyblok, we are excited about creating the best headless experience possible for users and creating a domino effect towards exceptional customer experiences in return. Storyblok’s system is tailored to fit scalability needs, no matter which market or language, while offering a best-of-breed selection for brands and agencies to grow. For Made People, this was a prime opportunity to help Xlash rebuild from the roots with a future-proof system that is flexible enough to construct agnostically-build components, future adaption, and omnichannel experiences.