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Paul Smith goes composable starting with Klevu, resulting in 31% increase in conversion


increase in revenue from on-site search


increase in ecommerce conversion rate


increase in conversion rate from category pages

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Paul Smith, a luxury fashion brand with iconic shops across the globe, needed the digital commerce experience to truly represent the brand. Many people don’t realize that Paul Smith is a real person, he still comes to work everyday at the London Head Office – and his office has to be seen to be believed. The Paul Smith brand isn’t just fashion. It’s art. It’s lively. It’s fun.

But that’s not what the digital experience delivered.

“As a fashion brand with fantastic shops, each very unique and well designed, I was frustrated at our fixed/limited monolith front end – the website you visited didn’t represent our infamous Pink Wall shop in LA, or our flagship in Ginza or Paul’s local Albemarle in Mayfair. I wanted the website to be a Digital Flagship that was fast, designed for us and our product and customers, so we could always be best in practice, not hindered by technology.” – Hannah Bennett, Head of Digital, Paul Smith

The digital team set out to create a Digital Flagship that sold products, yes. But also delivered joy, discovery, and creativity to all who used it. To build something that suited the needs of the business exactly, and could grow and change with it too. To do this, they knew they needed a composable ecommerce architecture.

Start with search, find the revenue 

There is a common misconception about MACH (microservices, API-first, composable, headless) architecture, that it’s all or nothing. But that’s not true. In the words of Hannah Bennett, Head of Digital at Paul Smith, ecommerce brands that are thinking about this kind of architecture are further into the journey than they may think.

Hannah decided that the best way to ‘go composable’ was to start from the frontend services and work the way down to the nitty gritty areas of the backend. She did this starting with search, installing Klevu on the existing monolithic frontend, before the larger replatforming project even started. This allowed Paul Smith to lean on Klevu AI to maximize conversion and revenue during the transformation.

Paul Smith replaced Attraqt with Klevu. Then, spent time architecting the best user experience for the new frontend and replatforming with their agency, Limesharp.
Paul Smith then added Storyblok for CMS and Cloudinary for DAM. And replaced Nosto with Klevu for Category Merchandising and Recommendations. What’s next? MSI and stock orchestration and headless checkout.

“We wanted something that we could plug in and just leave to tick over, like Klevu. Now, we will pin key products that we feel need to be highlighted, or easily switch product ordering to favor high stock items when we are in sale mode. Other than that we let Klevu AI run in the background and it works.”

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Hannah Bennett Head of Digital at Paul Smith

The last replatform

When Paul Smith decided to rebuild the ecommerce platform, they knew they had to find the right partner. The brand has an in-house development team, but brought on an agency to fill the headless frontend and backend knowledge gaps the team had.

“Limesharp was the perfect choice – they had experience with Headless (VueJS), GraphQL, and Magento sites and other ecommerce platforms, and were also a great design agency. We’re in a kind of sweet spot now where we lean on them, mainly for the frontend resource, but they can support other areas too.” – Hannah Bennett

Ed Bull, Owner and director at Limesharp, said of the process, “Through our discovery process with Paul Smith we found the brand content that was tucked away in the blog contained incredible product information. Klevu allowed us to visually show relevant stories relating to products for the curious customer. The headless technology approach meant we could create a very unique design leaning on Klevu’s API’s to fetch the data we needed.”

Ease-of-use paramount, results remarkable

“Looking at our composable stack, all those that are MACH-Certified – Klevu, Cloudinary, Storyblok I don’t have to worry about – they work. They are easy to use and with good support systems behind them. That operational success is huge for me so we can concentrate on growth or other areas.” – Hannah Bennett, Head of Digital, Paul Smith

The Paul Smith ecommerce team loves Klevu for many reasons, but the most compelling might be the way it leverages AI technology to its fullest potential. Now, the team can serve up more accurate results to shoppers faster than ever before. Paul Smith uses Klevu search, and category merchandising software from the Product Discovery Platform. As a brand, Paul Smith has learned to trust the AI to deliver the right product and content results to shoppers, manually merchandising as lightly as possible.

“A lot of other companies we have either used or considered for merchandising were too singing and dancing. We were given all these options, and the reality is we’re a brand. We need to be telling customers what’s hot right now, and what they should be looking at. So we wanted something that we could plug in and just leave to tick over, like Klevu. Now, we will pin key products that we feel need to be highlighted, or easily switch product ordering to favor high stock items when we are in sale mode. Other than that we let Klevu AI run in the background and it works.”

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The result has been nothing short of remarkable. Looking at the 8-weeks prior to installing Klevu search, compared to the 8-weeks after, Paul Smith’s revenue from search went up by 74%, ecommerce conversion rate went up by 31%, and per session value went up by 26%.

Similarly, after installing Klevu category merchandising, and comparing year-on-year over peak trading, conversion rate from the men’s category pages went up by 33.75%, with per session value went up by 19.94%. For women’s category, conversion rate up by 49.04%, and per session value went up by 14.96%.

The pandemic boosted online sales for Paul Smith, and ever since, the brand is continuing to see good growth online. Even during economic times of struggle the Digital Flagship Hannah and her team developed has created a flexible foundation for future growth and creativity.

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