While many cosmetics companies are shuttering their shopfronts, Rituals Cosmetics opens two new stores every week. “We are the fastest-growing beauty brand in Europe; our ambition is to grow even faster and become a global brand,” said Raymond Cloosterman, CEO. “I want to share our philosophy of slowing down and transforming routines into special moments with the world. Partners like Salesforce will help us keep expanding our customer base.”
Growth isn’t the only thing that differentiates Rituals from other major cosmetic brands and retailers. When Cloosterman founded Rituals in a basement in Amsterdam in 2000, his goal was not to create a retail company, but to create a distinctive brand experience. He wanted to transform his stores into a calming environment where shoppers can relax, unwind, and slow down.
“We don’t sell products — we sell experiences, we tell stories,” said Cloosterman. “People increasingly live on auto pilot. We want to help our customers turn everyday routines into meaningful rituals based on ancient traditions.”
With more than 650 standalone stores, Rituals is well on its way to achieving its ambitious goal of opening 1,000 standalone boutiques — all this on top of a presence in 2,000 luxury department stores. But physical outlets are not enough in today’s competitive retail market. “To be successful, you’ve got to operate across multiple channels and offer a consistent experience online and offline,” said Cloosterman.
The customer experience also needs to be targeted and personal. Rituals achieves personalization in its stores by offering every customer a hand massage, a cup of tea, and a choice of product samples. Replicating this type of personalized experience across online channels is no easy task, but Digital Director Martijn van der Zee is confident Rituals can perform. “In my job, there are two things that are important: people and technology,” he said. “With Salesforce, we can enrich both the functional and emotional elements of the shopper experience. It helps us to deliver those ‘wow’ moments on our digital channels.”
“We believe if you can dream it, you can do it. With Salesforce, we can turn our dreams into reality faster.”
To be first to market, Rituals needs to be able to harness the latest technology innovations. “With Salesforce, we can launch new functionality in a matter of weeks instead of months. It gives us the agility we need to stay competitive,” said Van der Zee. “In retail, time is your currency. Dreaming up ideas is easy but executing on them is much harder.”
In order to innovate quickly and consistently, Rituals employees rely on Salesforce to integrate seamlessly with other systems and to easily scale, so growing their company doesn’t mean changing their processes. For Nico Wartenbergh, CTO, this powerful combination can only be delivered by the cloud.
“To support our expansion plans, we need reliability as well as flexibility and rich functionality,” he explained. “With Salesforce, we have a best-of-breed IT architecture that enables us to grow as we go. We can cherry-pick the features and integrations that will help us deliver a better shopping experience.”
Wartenbergh has already taken advantage of these rich pickings, integrating Salesforce with Google Analytics 360 and the Google Cloud Platform, to provide Rituals with a complete view of every customer interaction across all channels.
Success Cloud plays a key role in helping Rituals realize the potential of such features and integrations. For example, with support from a five-strong team of Success Cloud experts, Rituals has redesigned its website, optimized the checkout process, and simplified inventory management.
Since it first deployed Commerce Cloud in 2013, Rituals has significantly expanded both its use of Salesforce and its business. Marketing campaigns, customer services, and ecommerce activities are all powered by the Lightning Platform — and on an international scale. Rituals already has an online presence in 25 countries and wants to grow even further.
“With Commerce Cloud, we can launch a new country website in two weeks complete with local features,” said Van der Zee. “It’s a very reliable platform, which means we can focus on delivering a fantastic customer experience instead of maintaining the underlying architecture.”
Rituals’ rich digital experience comprises click-and-collect data capture, real-time inventory availability, next-day delivery, local payment options, and dynamic brand content. And the results speak for themselves: Rituals’ online business grew by 80% from 2015 to 2016, with returning customers making up around 50% of website traffic.
But for Trailblazers Cloosterman and Van der Zee, this success is not enough. They want to bring the unique Rituals experience to more people, starting with a new website. With Commerce Cloud, the new website can be developed alongside the current platform until Rituals is ready to switch to the new design — a process that will take a matter of minutes. “With Salesforce, we can combine content with commerce very effectively,” said Wendy Korporaal, Webshop Manager for Rituals. “It’s really easy to add new products and promotions and to deliver a consistent experience.”
The new website is just one of many strategies for attracting new customers. Rituals also plans to use Audience Studio to support its expansion with smarter, more targeted marketing. “I am really excited about Audience Studio — it uses data science to accelerate marketing reach into new audiences.” said Van der Zee. “There are a lot of people that have yet to discover the Rituals brand. With Audience Studio, we can seek out prospects in new markets with similar profiles to our existing customers and introduce them to our best-selling ranges, such as The Ritual of Sakura.”
Rituals has already seized the AI opportunity, using Einstein to make product recommendations to online buyers. “We have more than 800 products across our seven main Rituals collections,” said Van der Zee. “With Einstein, we can harness the power of AI throughout the customer journey to help people discover new products and new combinations.”
By tracking customer queries in Service Cloud, Rituals can identify if a product description or online FAQ needs to be updated. “Service Cloud is my favorite Salesforce solution; there are so many capabilities,” said Van der Zee. And he intends to make the most of them, with plans to extend Service Cloud access to store assistants so they can see customer records and respond to queries in each shopper’s preferred channel.
“At the moment, if a customer contacts us on social media to talk about a product, the service agent has to refer them back to a store or the website if they want make a purchase,” explained Van der Zee. “With conversational commerce, the service agent will be able to process the order and take payment — it will be like an endless aisle but on social media.”