At the time when many – if not most – cosmetics brands were pulling down their shutters, Rituals Cosmetics did the unimaginable and opened up stores at a rate of two each week.
“We are the fastest-growing beauty brand in Europe,” said Raymond Cloosterman, the CEO of Rituals Cosmetics. “Our ambition is to grow even faster and become a global brand. 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.”
But it’s not only growth that can separate Rituals from the rest. Back in 2000 when the company was founded, the intention was to direct the company towards providing a unique brand experience – and this would be done by making a completely different shopping experience.
“We don’t sell products,” said Raymond, “we sell experiences, we tell stories. People increasingly live on auto pilot. We want to help our customers turn everyday routines into meaningful rituals based on ancient traditions.”
Rituals operates around 650 stores and 2,000 shops within luxury department stores – while having the ambition of reaching 1,000 standalone boutiques. Yet it’s not only physical where they’re building. “To be successful,” added Raymond, “you’ve got to operate across multiple channels and offer a consistent experience online and offline.”
With so many consumer messages and digital competition, personalization is the key aspect that separates the average from the best. “There are two things that are important: people and technology,” said Raymond. “With Salesforce Commerce Cloud, 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.”
Unleashing the latest innovations in tech, Rituals can shorten the time it takes to implement changes. “With Salesforce, we can launch new functionality in a matter of weeks instead of months,” added Raymond. “It gives us the agility we need to stay competitive. In retail, time is your currency. Dreaming up ideas is easy but executing on them is much harder.”
With Salesforce Commerce Cloud Rituals can integrate with other systems seamlessly to scale. “To support our expansion plans,” said Nico Wartenbergh, its CTO, “we need reliability as well as flexibility and rich functionality. 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.” Rituals have already integrated Salesforce with Google Analytics 360 as well as Google Cloud Platform.
Rituals has been working with Salesforce Commerce Cloud ever since 2013. And with it, it has quickly expanded across 25 countries. “With Commerce Cloud,” said Martijn Van derZee, its digital director, “we can launch a new country website in two weeks complete with local features. It’s a very reliable platform, which means we can focus on delivering a fantastic customer experience instead of maintaining the underlying architecture.”
The experience across Rituals’ site now consists of real-time inventory availability, local payment options, and dynamic brand content as well as click and collect and next-day delivery. The results? An 80% increase in its online business within a year, and 50% of its returning customers make up total website traffic.
“We can combine content with commerce very effectively,” said Wendy Korporaal, its webshop manager. “It’s really easy to add new products and promotions and to deliver a consistent experience.”
Working with AI
A core part of Salesforce is its artificial intelligence, Einstein AI helps Rituals create product recommendations. “We have more than 800 products across our seven main Rituals collections,” said Martijn. “With Einstein, we can harness the power of AI throughout the customer journey to help people discover new products and new combinations.”
Solving customer problems
Before the customer even buys a product, they have already started the shopping journey – whether it’s online and offline they could have started their journey in store by just browsing around.
Rituals has a multi-language customer service operation where customers can get the answers to queries by phone, email, and social media.
“To maximize the efforts of our small team,” said Martijn, “ we need to ensure queries are categorized and prioritized effectively, especially during peak market moments, such as Christmas and Mother’s Day. With Service Cloud, we can provide better and quicker answers to customers as the business continues to grow.”
Tracking customer queries on Sales Cloud, in fact, helps them to highlight which are the more common ones, and can help to update pages such as the FAQ page. “At the moment,” added Martijn, “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 to make a purchase.
“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.”
Getting a greater advantage with richer customer insights, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is always teaching Rituals about its own customers. “We want to know every customer – whether we offer them a cup of tea in a store or process an order online,” said Nico. “With Salesforce, we can combine knowledge from both our online and offline channels and empower our people to deliver an even better customer experience.”
With Rituals expanding into the US and markets in Asia, is it going to be competing with more established brands. And this is going to necessitate more digital elevations. “We’re on a real roll with double-digit growth in all markets,” added Nico. “We believe if you can dream it, you can do it. With Salesforce, we can turn our dreams into reality.”