How e.l.f. Cosmetics Makes Every Customer Journey Beautiful

 
 

e.l.f. Cosmetics was founded in 2004 with a simple mission of making prestige-quality beauty products for every eye, lip and face– at an affordable price. It is one of the fastest-growing beauty companies in the United States with products that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

In 2019, the company made a bold decision: Close down all brick-and-mortar stores and invest exclusively in the digital customer experience.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, that decision seems prescient, but it was all part of e.l.f.’s plan. Digital experience is the reason why customers not only choose e.l.f., but also advocate for the brand.

e.l.f.‘s transformation accelerated in 2016 when Ekta Chopra joined as the Chief Digital Officer. Ekta was attracted to the digital native company and saw tremendous opportunity to deepen customer relationships online.

Here are seven lessons you can learn from how Ekta and the e.l.f. team used Salesforce to blend personalized journeys, intelligent ecommerce, and proactive service to create special moments for customers.
 
 
 
 
 
Table of Contents

1. Visually map customer journeys.

Everyone loves the experience of opening something new, straight from the package. The company takes careful consideration in planning these moments for its customers who are searching for the perfect look. But customers are never in one place, creating the need to meet customers where they are across email, mobile, social, and web with personalized experiences.

These complexities are what makes building a customer journey so difficult. But with a single hub to create personalized, 1-to-1 messages across channels, building customer relationships is easy for e.l.f. to visualize and execute. The company began mapping sophisticated journeys featuring segmentation and personalization to power seamless customer experiences using:

  • Personalized emails
  • Cross-channel advertising
  • Social listening and engagement
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2. Optimize marketing messages with AI.

With a better handle on customer journeys, the e.l.f. team stepped up its game using artificial intelligence to optimize marketing messages. With AI built into its commerce platform, e.l.f. can more easily personalize offers and automatically apply promotional coupons to shopping carts, tailoring the experience and increasing order totals. By adding AI, e.l.f. can now:
  • Predict the likelihood of each customer engaging with a message
  • Build more accurate customer segments
  • Send emails at the most effective times based on customer behaviors

3. Integrate commerce and marketing to increase retention and loyalty.

When customer experiences are fluid across channels and touchpoints, consumers are more likely to continue buying. In fact, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. That’s why at e.l.f., marketing and ecommerce experiences are integrated, building deeper customer relationships that prompt retention and long-term loyalty.

“Beyond ecommerce, digital is also an ecosystem that is social, with so many connected platforms and data infusing every aspect of the industry,” said Ekta. “That shift created an opportunity for e.l.f. to change the way we engage with consumers and build deeper relationships with them.”

 

By integrating commerce and marketing, e.l.f. can add personalization to marketing messages and ecommerce experiences. For example, promotional coupons are automatically applied to the cart, which increases conversion rate.

The company’s “better-than-ever” loyalty program is constantly innovating. Since the loyalty program relies on connected marketing and commerce data, e.l.f. can adapt rapidly as customers’ needs evolve.

4. Intelligently tailor online shopping experiences based on engagement behavior.

The retailer's vision to deliver a customer-centric experience extends into its digital and site-to-store experience. This is done with a digital storefront made more relevant through predictive sorting, delivering more tailored product results, decreasing the time a customer spends browsing, and increasing conversion. For e.l.f., this resulted in reduced abandoned carts and increased daily browse-to-buy conversions to levels only previously seen on Black Friday. The company’s ecommerce site remains number one in its sector, strengthened by website retention rates between 55% and 65%.
 
 
 
 
 

5. Give service agents a single view of the shopper with marketing and commerce data.

e.l.f. was one of the first companies to embed commerce data inside its service platform, giving agents a single view of the shopper with analytics tied back to tracking data and conversation history. Now, agents can gain the insights they need to make decisions and act quickly — reducing the time to resolve cases and increasing customer satisfaction.

With visibility into commerce and marketing data, agents can resolve cases proactively.

For example, the added context of tracking and analytics tied to customer cases has given support agents the information they need to make decisions faster and ultimately deliver an amazing customer support experience. By anticipating customer needs and offering a curated chatbot experience, e.l.f. reduced service ticket volume by 50%.

 

6. Keep customers safe.

When the COVID-19 crisis began, e.l.f. Cosmetics quickly amplified its presence on social channels to connect and engage with customers. It also launched the e.l.f. Cares page as a COVID-19 resource for its audience to stay safe and inspired. Since then, e.l.f. Cosmetics has seen double-digit growth in online business and double the conversion through the e.l.f. Cares page.

As a leader in times of change, e.l.f. also launched a new virtual try-on feature in its mobile app, eliminating the need to touch and try on products in person.

 

7. Live your values during times of change.

Being agile and adapting quickly is not the only space where e.l.f. is a leader. As a brand dedicated to inclusivity, company leaders like Ekta have also been speaking up and speaking out against racial and social injustice.

As a Trailblazer, Ekta knows that building a phenomenal, customer-centric experience starts with a digital foundation — and that connecting with consumers isn’t just about selling makeup, but making a difference in the lives of customers.

“We’re even more conscious about looking at insights on a constant basis and pivoting our strategies as needed,” said Ekta. “Our digital transformation started with Salesforce and the hard work and investments are paying off.”

With more digitally savvy consumers than ever and shopping behaviors in flux as we look beyond COVID-19, it’s critical that companies maintain visibility of their customers across every channel. By taking a page out of e.l.f.’s book, brands can build and maintain loyal relationships by putting the customer at the center of every strategic journey.

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