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Aromatherapy Associates enjoys sweet scent of DTC success with Astound Commerce

British wellness brand Aromatherapy Associates has partnered with digital commerce agency Astound Commerce to create a transformative Shopify Plus ecommerce platform and accelerate its global direct-to-consumer (DTC) operations. 

Aromatherapy Associates was founded in 1985 by Geraldine Howard and Sue Beechey, who wanted to share the powerful and positive effects of essential oils on physical and emotional health. Remaining true to the legacy of the brand, more than 30 years on, each new formula is handcrafted by a Master Blender in Aromatherapy Associates’ London laboratory to create exceptional sensorial products designed to boost wellbeing. 

Having previously prioritised a wholesale selling strategy into spas and retail stockists, when faced with the unexpected closures of bricks-and-mortar outlets during the Covid-19 pandemic, the brand pivoted to a digital-first DTC model to sell its luxury home fragrance, skincare and bath, body and shower products.

However, its legacy platform meant Aromatherapy Associates couldn’t provide its customers with the immersive brand experience and seamless onsite journey necessary to meet its goal to be a DTC market leader in the wellness category.  The existing platform suffered ongoing technical issues which monopolised the brands’ customer service and operations teams’ time, while manual content and product management processes reduced the time available to execute the premium, high-touch digital experiences its consumers wanted.

Following an in-depth consultation process led by Astound Commerce, designed to forensically analyse the businesses’ specific challenges and roadmap a clear path to elevate the online customer experience, Aromatherapy Associates selected the Shopify Plus platform as the foundation for its ecommerce evolution.

Astound Commerce led a design-driven replatform to Shopify 2.0, leveraging its internal accelerator for Shopify Plus to fast-track time-to-market.  It optimised both the online user journey and shopping experience and created a backend management experience with visual previews of all elements and drag and drop management. 

Astound developed a bespoke creative concept for Aromatherapy Associates – redefining both the user experience (UI) and the brand’s aesthetic making the online experience seamless while the design now reflects the brands tenets of luxury, quality and craftsmanship. A content playbook will enable the wellness brand’s internal team to populate the website with impactful and complementary content on an ongoing basis. Custom features, such as gifts with purchase, bundling functionality, and a personalised product finder – which matches customers with an essential oil blend based on their wellness needs, scent preferences and preferred type of product, elevate the customer experience far beyond its competitors, helping solidify its position as a DTC market leader within the sector.

Laura Bailey, Global Head of E-commerce at Aromatherapy Associates, commented: “Not only have Astound Commerce created a future-proof platform that will support our DTC growth plans, but they have also created a website that is beautifully polished and positions our brand as the wellbeing category leader it really is – delivering an immersive, brand-rich experience to engage and delight our discerning customers.” 

“Astound Commerce have been a pleasure to work with throughout the project. Their interpretation of our business goals and requirements is clear to see in the final execution of the website. The communication throughout the project was excellent and we understood from the beginning what the process was, what would happen when, and what was expected of us.  As a team, we found the project from start to finish simple, collaborative, and most of all, fun.”

Astound Commerce MD, Samuel Cane, commented: “This project was such a pleasure, and challenged us to create a luxurious, exquisitely designed site that captures the brand’s premium aesthetic alongside a best-of-breed tech stack that gives the Aromatherapy Associates team the opportunity to focus their time and energy on achieving their DTC goals.”

In migrating the company’s site to Shopify Plus, Astound utilised the power of the platform’s full suite of tools and further optimised functionality through a series of key technology partner integrations to create an immersive and engaging experience. To support the brand’s customer acquisition and retention goals, Astound Commerce implemented Yotpo for customer reviews and loyalty, Klevu to enable product discovery and maximise the potential of its search interactions, while Ometria’s customer data and marketing platform creates relevance and drives personalisation at speed and scale to push up engagement rates and customer lifetime value. Global-e enables shoppers across the world to pay in local currency and use local delivery services for order fulfilment.