Few family businesses actually make it to the summit. But some do. And today we’re going to talk about one of them.
Tucked away in the Easern Alps of Switzerland, there are few better settings to place a headquarters surrounded by mountaintops and snowy peaks. But here is the location of the headquarters of Swarovski, the crystal and jewelry brand that was founded in 1895.
Today the company is actually split into three:
- Swarovski Crystal Business, which focuses on… yep you guessed it, crystal glass and jewelry.
- Tyrolit, which manufactures products for sawing, drilling, and grinding as well as machines.
- Swarovski Optik, which produces optical instruments like binoculars and telescopes.
The latter company, Swarovski Optik, specializes in the development of long-range optical products in the premium range of the market.
Today it operates more than 30 physical stores and is expanding their digital presence. It exports more than 90% of its products and so its ecommerce operations really are key to its success.
To operate successfully, Swarovski Optik needs to handle business across 92 countries while keeping a consistent brand identity. Yet it became more and more of a challenge to deliver the best experience to consumers on a single site. Shop pages were siloed from its marketing content and blog, fragmenting the customer experience.
It reached a point where Swarovski Optik’s system simply couldn’t keep pace with the accelerating demand and changes of business – whether its new products or market markets that require content in their own language and displayed in their own currency.
The lack of flexibility; the slow process to adapt; the inability to test and make changes quickly were all causing customer issues and costing the company money.
Swarovski Optik decided to ask and plugged in its global content to the content management system Contentful to unlock growth opportunities.
Contentful was chosen because of its powerful yet agile functionality. The cloud-based platform is powered by API-technology. “From the beginning,” said Hans Nillson, ecommerce manager at Swarovski Optik, “it was quite clear that we could rule out the monolithic approach.
“We wanted something that was flexible in terms of detaching the front-end and back-end, and going for this API-first solution. We wanted to have the easiest possible way to integrate with third-party softwares.”
Swarovski Optik then attached Contentful with the ecommerce platform commercetools. This delivers a much faster digital experience by letting site visitors navigate through the content and products with little lag time.
The platform provides critical features such as built-in image resizing; a React framework that helps the delivery of content with pre-made integrations and code.
Contentful has also helped to break beyond the limitations that Swarovski Optik had by its ability to scale, localize content, and translate it. Rather than having to rewrite content for every language, Swarovski Optik can now localize their services through Contentful by allowing editors to reuse translated content.
“The storefront alone cannot be very performant if the underlying services are not performant,” Tomasz Strumiñsk, head of development at the consultancy firm that Swarovski Optik worked with. “And thankfully, since most of the content was stored in Contentful and in commercetools, that was not a problem. The platforms’ delivery was blazing fast.”
Contentful’s tags functionality holds workflows that are streamlined while the structure of content has been designed to reduce legwork for writers and editors.
Ever since deploying Contentful, Swarovski Optik went on to build two more Contentful integrations to improve the productivity of the editorial team. They can direct a lot more functionality with block visualization while at the same time they can dynamically find their pages with a sitemap browser.
Swarovski Optik is now accelerating its productivity through enhanced customization through Contentful’s world-class API-first technology.
“No matter where you are in the customer journey,” said Hans, “you should always have an understanding of what the products mean; what feeling that they could give you; and what experiences you could have with this product. That was a core part of the product setup, to simply merge these things together.”