Case study: MATCHESFASHION

Luxury fashion in the time of coronavirus: MATCHESFASHION launches long-term campaign strategy during global pandemic

MATCHESFASHION is a global luxury retail company based in London. Founded in 1987, the company has long-standing relationships with more than 650 luxury designer brands around the world. MATCHESFASHION delivers women’s and men’s clothing, as well as home goods, to customers in 176 countries. The company also operates three London retail stores.

When Covid-19 arrived in early 2020, forcing retailers to shutter stores, MATCHESFASHION knew that agility to deploy campaigns would be key to prevailing through the global crisis as a business. The London-based luxury brand business had already started discussions with Contentful several months prior as part of their long-term strategy to increase online sales with highly personalized campaigns.

MATCHESFASHION is a well-established retailer, known for its sophisticated curation of luxury men’s and women’s clothing and home goods from more than 650 designers. While the company started more than 30 years ago as a bricks-and-mortar business, today it derives 95 percent of its revenue from online sales.

Long before the pandemic, MATCHESFASHION was working to step up marketing campaigns, both on its websites and its mobile apps. Marketing is a complex effort for the company, which ships to customers in 176 different countries, who pay in many different currencies. The company’s sites and apps are available in four languages.

Since Covid-19, we’ve had to be more agile, and make more banners than ever before to drive more traffic and sales. Contentful has been a real blessing. - Chloe Doncieux, senior product manager at MATCHESFASHION

A CMS for a global retailer

When MATCHESFASHION began its search for a new CMS in 2019, the company’s overarching need was for a content platform that would let marketing operate in a more agile way. Marketers were slowed down by their reliance on their technical colleagues, and by the lengthy process for building any new piece of content, whether it was the weekly-refreshed home page, a new article or a campaign banner.

MATCHESFASHION had already begun using Contentful for a project within its iOS shopping app. “We saw that Contentful was very easy to integrate with and build on,” says Chloe Doncieux, the senior product manager and Contentful lead at MATCHESFASHION. That initial project encouraged MATCHESFASHION to launch a proof of concept in January 2020, and the company launched its first complete implementation of Contentful in early May 2020.

“It was quite an ambitious schedule,” Chloe says, “a quick turnaround and super-smooth.”

Within a week of training on Contentful, marketers were able to work independently of their engineering colleagues, and “the feedback was tremendous, and it was a huge step for us,” according to Chloe.

“Contentful has been game-changing for MATCHESFASHION. It has allowed us to be more flexible and reactive than ever before with our marketing content, and has streamlined processes for multiple teams across the business. The tool is so easy to use once you get started and as a campaign manager it has given me real control over my campaigns,” says Elizabeth Calow, trading and campaigns manager.

Since implementation, MATCHESFASHION has been able to run many more marketing campaigns across its websites and mobile apps. Messaging to customers stays consistent, as content is fed to all touchpoints from a single source.

Contentful is very easy to integrate with, super-flexible and lets us build custom components on top of the native UI. We were able to meet all our requirements in a record time frame. - Chloe Doncieux, senior product manager at MATCHESFASHION

Just as important for a company that operates globally, marketing teams are able to use templates to localize for all their markets, publishing content in appropriate languages and prices in the correct currencies.

“Collaboration between marketers, designers, editors and translators has improved,” says Chloe. And MATCHESFASHION has saved a lot of time since moving over to Contentful. Where the old publishing process required 15 people to manage, one person can now take care of it all. “That’s especially handy when we launch outside of office hours,” Chloe says.

The company has saved developer time, too. Since Contentful implementation, one full-time senior developer has been redeployed from marketing support to new projects, and MATCHESFASHION expects future Contentful iterations will allow two more full-time developers to shift their focus to new work.

Building a CMS is super easy but it takes time and has ongoing and increasing maintenance costs. Buying a CMS from a big vendor is usually a waste of money because you pay for features you don't need and get locked into long contracts. Contentful strikes a lovely balance between giving us flexibility to customise things unique to our business (which our users love) while also allowing us to get something up and running off the shelf quickly and not having to reinvent the wheel. Their commercials are sensible and flexible as well which is great. Their development team is also modern and collaborative. I rarely feel good about signing deals with software vendors but with Contentful it's been a pleasure. — Dan Knight, CTO, MATCHESFASHION

Building for future growth

MATCHESFASHION has taken full advantage of Contentful’s flexibility. The company has built a couple of custom user interface components to meet specific business needs, as well as an app to visually render all the marketing activity that’s been set up in Contentful, linking it to a Slack bot so all stakeholders can stay current with upcoming marketing campaigns. “It’s all automated, so there’s no need to manually create emails anymore,” Chloe says.

Marketing teams are looking forward to future Contentful implementations. “We’re listening to our users asking for more,” says Chloe. “We have many more implementations planned.”

The MATCHESFASHION technical team was delighted with the Contentful support engineers. “They were such a pleasure to work with,” Chloe says. “The team is professional, dedicated and fun to work with. They were always available while we were integrating, providing help and advice on how to best architect the content platform, both on the commercial side and on the technical side.”

What I like about working with Contentful is having extensive docs and expansive API. The CMS is easy to use and the Delivery API is fast. On top of this having the ability to extend functionality with extensions and apps makes the experience much more enjoyable. — Manuel Cheta, senior software engineer, MATCHESFASHION

Want to learn more?

add-circle remove subtract-circle