Ecommerce Design with Amazon and Social Media Integration
“For CPG branded sites, aside from UI and design, it’s about showcasing product attributes that adhere to established guidelines—all while keeping on target with a set launch date. Whew!”Jesse Cohen, Creative Directore9 rose to the top based on our robust project portfolio, holistic strategy, and of course, experience working with “need it yesterday” deadlines.
B to B to C
From fragrance to flavors, since 2003, Symrise has been committed to providing innovative ingredient solutions found in iconic food, beverage and beauty care brands. Flash forward to today. Symrise is now looking to expand its portfolio, which for the first time included an entry point into the CPG market with their vanilla extract brand, vnlla. For Symrise, this meant veering from their B2B focus and adapting an entirely new B2C strategy—one where the consumer is king and queen.
e9 EXTRA: B2B focuses on businesses as a target, while B2C targets consumers.
And the winner is…
The end-goal of Symrise was to build a site to unveil their first-ever B-to-C brand, vnlla. A tech-only web firm wasn’t going to cut it – nor would a CPG branding agency with no tech chops. They needed a digital agency well-versed in ecommerce, CPG (consumer packaged goods) and branding disciplines. Looking at all candidates that fit the bill, e9 rose to the top based on our robust project portfolio, holistic strategy, and of course, experience working with “need it yesterday” deadlines.
e9 EXTRA: Our agency model differs from tech-only firms in that we offer development, design, branding and strategy.
When you’re in the grocery aisle or online, brands offer a barrage of reasons to believe (RTBs)—key attributes to make choosing their brand a no-brainer. Low cholesterol, high fiber, real fruit flavors are the hard facts that lure customers in. However, it’s the emotional overlay that tends to close the deal. Case in point—Häagen-Dazs and Bryers. Both sell ice cream with pretty much the same ingredients, but with completely different personalities. Bryers is wholesome, offering a sense of whimsical childhood delight, while Häagen-Dazs is all about that luxurious guilty pleasure. Again, it’s taking brand facts and adding an emotional quotient. With Symrise, this same approach needed to be adapted to the vnlla brand site to set themselves apart from the competition—leveraging the rich history of the brand, versatility of the product while emotionally connecting with the millennial mom target.
e9 EXTRA: For vnlla, we focused on leveraging their rich history, product versatility and mom target.
It’s one thing to roll out one vanilla extract product, but Symrise was embarking on an ambitious launch of three products: Pure Vanilla Extract made with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, Pure Vanilla Extract blended with other natural flavors, and Pure Vanilla Extract blended with natural extracts and flavors. Different choices means educating customers about the points of difference for each brand and proper usage to incentivize purchase.
e9 EXTRA: Education and differentiation is pivotal with a multiple product brand launch.
Alexa, add vnlla to my shopping list
With a brand launch in today’s market you have essentially two options. Selling into brick and mortar grocery/specialty chains and ecommerce. Since physical locations would take more time and require more initial product, Symrise preferred to start with the latter—focusing on the top dog in the e-arena. Amazon. We kept ecommerce top-of-mind when developing the site map that incorporated shop buttons into the design/functionality, strategically placed in sections and with products. So let’s say mom wants to add an orange flavor accent to her chocolate Babka recipe. She just clicks the Amazon Shop Now button right next to the corresponding vnlla product and she’s right on Amazon—ready to add it to her cart. Easy.
e9 EXTRA: For a more intuitive UI and to incentivize purchase, Amazon Buy Now buttons were placed at multiple touch points throughout the site.
Designing delicious returns:
Once the site map was approved, our designers and writers went to work. While each section had a different focus the end-goal was the same. Product purchase. Which meant a call to action needed to be woven throughout the site without being too intrusive . The other challenge our team faced—an abundance of client content. For our creative team, this required organizing, editing, and in some cases cutting to avoid diluting our primary “pushing the product” purpose, all while keeping the core message for each of the following sections intact.
e9 EXTRA: A well established sitemap allows agency and client to improve on the visitor experience by mapping out and optimizing the journey throughout the site.
Here we offer mom a glimpse of everything vnlla that links to the other sections. From the product line breakdown to the ingredient story, chef partnerships, mom recipes, and of course, where to purchase. Along with family/baking focused imagery we built in customized unique call-to-actions and the ability to manage callouts to offer a quick read. The subtle animations of the site also further bring the content to life and help draw the eye to the important brand details.
e9 EXTRA: For the homepage, our goal was to develop clear navigation and a clutter-free design that easily translates to mobile.
With three products it’s important to educate on two levels. Offer detailed descriptions and highlight product differences to help mom see which vnlla is right for her. To add further engagement and explanation, we designed circular graphics and customized interactive content sections.
e9 EXTRA: For seamless purchase, each product is tagged with an Amazon Buy Now button that adheres to their brand guidelines.
A backstory helps add dimension for a brand. Energy drinks tie to extreme sports. Fruit jams call out all-natural ingredients. The vnlla brand has a truly inspirational story of sustainability. From its rich Madagascar origins to the vanilla bean’s journey to market, all of which we highlight with a dedicated story section filled with on-location videos and animation that bring to life the meaningful partnership Symrise established with local farmers—proving to mom that vnlla isn’t just about taste, but also a globally responsible brand.
e9 EXTRA: To make the content more digestible for visitors, we edited down the footage into three separate video segments.
“These days, no one can develop a site in a bubble. At this point, it’s not just about featuring the links to the social sites, but embracing what the platforms can bring to the table, content-wise.”Jina Kiem, Partner | Creative Director
Recipes and collaborations
Mom doesn’t shop in a bubble. The world around her impacts her purchasings decisions—now more than ever. What began as word of mouth has evolved into social networks and influencers. With vnlla laser-focused on the mom target we wanted to not just give a nod to this process, but fully embrace mom’s method of brand discovery. With recipes and collaborations we built a system that can continually be expanded, allowing contemporary bakers to showcase their favorite vnlla recipes. The incorporation of recipes and our special guest chefs create an interactive community around the product line, and even influenced the way we present the products with callouts to chef favorite and relevant recipes. We also put the spotlight on mom, enabling her to feature her own delicious creations within the vnlla community. Both sections incentivize repeat visits as well as build brand loyalty.
e9 EXTRA: With a rotation of celebrity chefs, we developed a templated design that allows the client to easily update content on the backend.
Socially connected mom
With the millennial mom being so plugged in, social became a vital component of the launch strategy. Symrise recruited a social media agency to handle all the relevant social channels connecting to the site—the resource hub for the brand. For this reason, we needed to be sure development-wise we could accommodate and properly showcase all the incoming social content via the official #vnlla hashtag.
e9 EXTRA: With the site hosting the longform brand content, it became the target source for all organic and paid social.
Even before the impending launch date, the social team started seeding platforms with the vnlla sustainability story. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram Reels/TV featured live streams, paid and organic content from our brand, chef partners as well as our mom influencers. On Amazon itself, the product page and banners leveraged the site content. For us, this meant taking on the added role as brand curator to ensure all partner agencies maintain brand consistency.
e9 EXTRA: For added engagement, vnlla partner chefs will provide content for Instagram TV, Reels and Stories.
The benefits of back and forth
Once vnlla was approved to be featured on Amazon, the client wanted to be ready to launch. This meant a streamlined feedback process was a necessity. To help, we employed third party software platforms, Trello and Pastel. Both allowed client and agency to seamlessly provide feedback and approvals. And with the backend team parallel pathing the site development we were able to adhere to the accelerated timeline to meet the launch date.
e9 EXTRA: Pastel is a cloud-based SaaS tool that enables collaborative submission and collection of feedback on live websites from both client and agency.
For e9, a successful project is something that’s not just a win, but also a great learning experience. In the case of vnlla it came down to transparency on both ends. Sure, there were hurdles and challenges along the way. Though as long as we addressed them in an open and honest forum we were able to pivot, adapt and move on. This made for a project that we could all look back on positively from ideation to launch, but don’t take our word for it.
e9 EXTRA: A project audit allows us to assess, learn and evolve to better meet the needs of our clients.
“This is exciting! Thanks to you and your team for making it happen!”Emmanuel Laroche, VP Marketing & Consumer Insights