Skip to Main Content

Case Study - Serena & Lily

Serena & Lily

Leveraged Elastic Path’s flexibility to meet unique, design-driven D2C merchandising needs.


    Specialty Retailers

    Use Cases

    B2C Replatform, Bundling, Catalog Management


    Product Experience Manager


    Amazon Web Services (AWS), New Elevation

One of the biggest challenges of a monolithic solution was the inability to support multiple SKU variations. Custom furniture is a big piece of our business and growing. With Elastic Path, we’re able to make product configurations that can withstand the volume of permutations needed, and that’s integral to our business.

Serena and LilyCat Stineman Vice President, eCommerce

A monolithic solution that didn’t meet the needs of Serena & Lily’s customers and business

At Serena & Lily, every customer’s commerce experience must live up to the brand’s luxury, design-driven identity. Doing so requires a commerce solution that unifies Serena & Lily’s design shop, print catalog, and online presence.

To meet its customers’ needs, Carla Rummo, CMO at Serena & Lily, said that the brand’s website aims to have three related functions:

  1. An eCommerce solution that sells Serena & Lily’s products
  2. A communication tool for the brand, with the website representing beautiful photography from Serena & Lily’s stores and catalog
  3. A creative tool, which replicates the experience customers have when they go to a Serena & Lily design shop

Part of the fun of design and our brand is putting together a room that feels very you. We want our website to replicate the experience in our design shops, where design advisors help customers through the design process.

Serena and LilyCarla Rummo CMO

Meeting these ambitions wasn’t possible with Serena & Lily’s previous monolithic commerce solution.

That monolithic platform was outdated, slow, and incapable of supporting the merchandising requirements that Serena & Lily’s highly-configurable online product demands. Just consider a sofa offered in three sizes and 168 different fabrics.

sofa storefront

The result is thousands of SKU variations – and, with a monolithic solution, a host of burdensome and manual development workarounds.

“Making changes to the storefront was becoming complex and cumbersome,” said Cat Stineman, VP of eCommerce at Serena & Lily. “The development team was getting bogged down with ongoing requests, and the merchandising team was left frustrated with the constant workarounds and band aids to complete daily tasks. We decided, do we really want to live this way? Or do we want to move forward and update the solution to be more modern?”

Evaluating solutions and deciding on composable commerce

Once Serena & Lily’s team decided that a monolithic solution didn’t meet the company’s commerce needs, they went on the hunt for a dynamic, lasting commerce solution.

From the start, Serena & Lily considered its digital commerce evaluation to be a joint effort between technical and business teams. Also joining the effort was New Elevation, a long-term partner of Serena & Lily and leading IT consultancy and systems integrator.

Serena & Lily evaluated a range of solutions – some monolithic, some composable, others somewhere in between. Ultimately, Serena & Lily determined that composable commerce would provide the freedom and control to build unique digital commerce experiences that drive business growth and offer flexibility for the future.

“With composable commerce, doors open about choosing the best technology to power different areas of the site, as opposed to being locked into some native, monolithic technology,” Cat said. In particular, Cat said, choosing composable commerce helps unlock the talent expertise of the brand’s in-house professionals and allow for cross-functional collaboration:

  • The tech team works in a modern code base
  • Business-side talent can access technologies that power recommendations and search
  • Creative, visual, and web designers can update the UX and UI of the site more easily

Plus, as Serena & Lily’s team builds a solution that meets its customers’ needs, they won’t have to worry about being anchored to their decisions and unable to make changes in the future.

“It’s kind of like moving into a home,” Carla said of deciding on a commerce solution. “You tend to be in that home for longer than you expect. We wanted something that would be long-lasting and long-lived, and that’s why we chose a composable commerce solution.”

Choosing Elastic Path

Opting for composable commerce is one thing. Bigger still is deciding what provider is worthy of powering a composable solution. After considering technology and business needs, Serena & Lily chose Elastic Path Composable Commerce, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The first consideration when Serena & Lily chose a commerce solution provider was having an API-first, decoupled architecture that would allow for flexible, scalable, and complex merchandising.

“We wanted a more modern architecture that would allow us to be more nimble as a team, both from a development standpoint and a site merchandiser perspective,” said Cat. “We feel confident that Elastic Path helps us reach that goal.”

With Elastic Path Product Experience Manager, Serena & Lily found the ability to support needs such as dynamic bundling, custom product configurations, and a high volume of SKU variations.

The most exciting thing for us with this new architecture is the doors that will open to be able to select the best technology to power different components of our digital commerce vision.

Serena and LilyCat Stineman VP, eCommerce

For example, when a Serena & Lily customer purchases a pillow cover, they are also offered a pillow insert.

pillow bundling

Such a bundling offer – complete with a host of different sizes – does more than simply improve the customer experience. It also increases average order value (AOV) and, in turn, revenue. “We want to tell the story of our products digitally so that customers have the information they need to make the purchase,” said Cat. “A digital experience that allows for this is important to the future of our business.”

Serena & Lily also was drawn to the support Elastic Path provides in managing and integrating a commerce solution built from a selection of best-of-breed technology vendors instead of a single platform.

“Composable commerce brings in more moving pieces than we’re used to,” Carla said. “We feel confident in the help and support that Elastic Path provides.”

In Serena & Lily’s case, composable commerce involves a multi-vendor solution with providers that are also partners of Elastic Path. Serena & Lily uses:

Serena & Lily must only contact one vendor – Elastic Path – when they have a question or concern about their commerce solution. Plus, Elastic Path quickly identifies and addresses commerce issues across Serena & Lily’s solution when they arise. This reduces the risk of employing a multi-vendor composable solution.

Finally, Serena & Lily chose Elastic Path because of our commitment to commerce partnership. Serena & Lily was looking for a long-term solution and trusted partner – not just a technology provider. “We felt that post-integration, Elastic Path would continue to be a solid partner for us, and that’s what we needed,” said Cat.

How Serena & Lily views its commerce vision and measures success

Adopting a composable commerce solution and powering it with Elastic Path enables Serena & Lily to run a fast site where products are easy to find and customers are confident in their purchases. It also helps Serena & Lily achieve its long-term digital commerce ambition: having an experiential medium in which customers shopping online can envision how furniture and decor will look in their home before making a purchase.

Cat said the brand is measuring commerce success through three site performance categories:

  1. Site speed: Serena & Lily’s site must be fast and content must load quickly across all devices to provide a best-in-class experience for customers.
  2. Strong product categorization: Effective product categorization means a strong search function, top navigation that is clean and simple, and product pages that guide customers to the next product. Serena & Lily’s merchandisers work every day in Commerce Manager, Elastic Path’s business user tooling functionality, to accurately categorize products.
  3. Conversion: Customers should place more orders, check out, and feel good about their transaction.

“Our ultimate goal is for the customer to be able to travel through our website seamlessly, find the product they’re looking for, and fully experience our brand,” said Cat.

Learn more about Serena & Lily’s composable commerce journey with Elastic Path

Watch a fireside chat with Carla, Cat, and Jamus Driscoll, CEO of Elastic Path. The discussion is about Serena & Lily’s composable commerce journey, including:

  • Evaluating a composable commerce approach
  • Implementing a composable commerce approach
  • Key learnings from Serena & Lily’s composable commerce journey

Ready to join the brands pushing the boundaries of commerce innovation?

Connect with us today to see how our family of composable products will help you deliver unique commerce experiences.