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Case Study - Vivrelle


B2C commerce solution for luxury accessory membership club.

company graphic


    Specialty Retailers

    Use Cases

    B2C Replatform, Rental Commerce


    Product Experience Manager, Composer, Payments


    Amazon Web Services (AWS), BORN

Success for us comes down to membership experience. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we make our digital experience as exciting as our showroom experience in New York?’ We need a platform that can enable that, and it became clear that Elastic Path was the right fit.

Vivrelle company logoJeff Neil VP of Software Engineering

A unique business model and a dated homegrown platform

In the world of commerce, Vivrelle’s business model is unique. Most other retailers and digital commerce businesses dislike returns, as they indicate problems with the product. For Vivrelle, it’s the opposite. Returns aren’t a sign of product defect but instead indicate that things are going well: Members who return are excited to try new accessories and are getting the most out of their subscription.

Such a circular business model is unique, and, according to Jeff Neil, VP of software engineering at Vivrelle, applying it to digital commerce was difficult.

“When we launched five years ago, having a homegrown commerce platform was the only option,” said Jeff. “Our homegrown platform served us well, but it increasingly became an impediment to scale. We have something special and we want to share it with as many members as possible. Our platform was holding us back.”

Beyond struggling to scale and offer its membership experience to more people, Vivrelle didn’t feel confident that its homegrown commerce platform would sustain sterling customer experience over the long haul.

For Vivrelle, exceptional customer experience is non-negotiable. And that meant Vivrelle was faced with two challenges:

  1. They needed the ability to scale and add new members.
  2. They insisted on offering the same caliber of white-glove customer experience to existing and new members.

A homegrown solution built and managed in-house wouldn’t get the job done. Fortunately, unlike years ago, when a homegrown commerce platform seemed Vivrelle’s only choice, a new option had emerged: composable commerce.

Choosing Composable Commerce

Composable commerce, spearheaded by Elastic Path in 2020, is an approach to commerce that allows brands to bring unique digital visions to life. With composable commerce, brands select best-of-breed commerce vendors, assemble them to fit business requirements, and continuously optimize over time. The result is a complete, business-ready commerce solution.

As Vivrelle weighed its digital commerce options, composable commerce emerged as the best, most business-appropriate commerce solution.

For one, Vivrelle needs a commerce solution that supports a circular commerce model. In the past, that meant a homegrown solution loaded with customizations. All-in-one commerce platforms wouldn’t be able to handle the nuances of Vivrelle’s business and technical needs. A best-of-breed composable solution could.

In addition, Vivrelle needed a commerce solution with a flexible, scalable core. “We’re building for longevity,” said Donna Quinlan Felix, head of product at Vivrelle. “Building with composable commerce means we can make a business decision months or years down the road and not worry about how we’re building our solution now.”

Guide to composable commerce

Indeed, composable commerce’s modern, modular, MACH-based architecture ensures flexibility and the ability to change course when customer expectations evolve and technology improves. “There’s no way any of us know how commerce technology will look five years from now, but having a flexible core will make it easier to adjust,” said Jeff.

Finally, Vivrelle chose composable commerce because it is a business-centric solution. A reduced development load means a greater focus on product merchandising, marketing, customer feedback – everything that contributes to a value-adding, white-glove experience.

The Elastic Path difference

Opting for composable commerce was one part of Vivrelle’s commerce equation. The next was choosing a commerce platform. For Vivrelle, that’s Elastic Path, and the Elastic Path products, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), that Vivrelle selected to power its commerce solution: Composer, Product Experience Manager, and Payments.

Donna joked that the Elastic Path team didn’t treat Vivrelle “like a big, scary monster” because of its unique, circular business model. Instead, Elastic Path listened, learned about Vivrelle, answered questions, and eventually was entrusted with Vivrelle’s business.

“It’s more than just sticking ‘we’re composable’ somewhere on the website,” said Donna about the search for a commerce platform provider. “We wanted to partner with people who asked questions and dug into our business model. The platform needed to be a fit for our growing business.”

Elastic Path now serves as the brain of Vivrelle’s composable commerce architecture. It’s Elastic Path Composable Commerce that makes sure Vivrelle’s best-in-class vendors are working in sync to deliver excellent commerce experiences. It’s Elastic Path Product Experience Manager that allows for fast, direct, effective edits and additions to the product catalog. And it’s Elastic Path Composer that reduces the time and cost of managing and implementing a composable solution – without disrupting Vivrelle’s existing membership experience.

By using Composer, Vivrelle gets access to Integrations Hub, a library of no-code, instant-on commerce integrations. Instead of months or years, brands such as Vivrelle can deploy and update best-of-breed solutions in minutes. Integration costs drop by 60%, and Elastic Path hosts, manages, and monitors the integrations to ensure they function as intended.

“For us, Integrations Hub reduces time-to-market for best-of-breed commerce experiences. Integrations Hub allows us to tie together commerce components that communicate with each other and power strong experiences,” said Jeff.

The instant-on, no-code commerce integrations and established third-party partnerships supported by Elastic Path that Vivrelle uses includes:

  • Avalara, a tax provider that is responsible for tax calculations on a per-cart basis
  • Algolia, which performs keyword searches, search result personalization, and other search services
  • Postmark, a notifications system that generates transactional shopper notifications such as order confirmations
  • Google Analytics, an analytics system responsible for capturing metrics
  • UPS, Vivrelle’s chosen shipping provider
  • Stripe, a fraud and payments gateway

Plus, Donna said that Composer’s Monitor functionality has also given operations and marketing a centralized “mission control” to track returns, orders, and other metrics. “Our marketers’ and product team’s eyes lit up when they saw it,” she said.

Game changing, too, has been Vivrelle’s adoption of Product Experience Manager to handle product merchandising and catalog management. “As a luxury membership club, we have thousands of SKUs, thousands of members, and a growing variety and assortment of products,” explained Donna. “Product Experience Manager has made it more seamless for our team to launch new products, make changes, and update our merchandising strategy.”

Storefront with handbags

Overall, Elastic Path provides Vivrelle confidence in its current solution and the flexibility to adjust as needed. “Elastic Path is like the cheesecake factory,” said Donna. “There’s something on the menu for everyone and for every business. What’s exciting is that we haven’t even gotten to dessert yet.”

Elastic Path Payments and the importance of a working cash register

Matt Nemer, CFO of Vivrelle, says that when it comes to digital commerce, you’re only as good as your payments solution.

“Payments is your cash register. You need to have it working to have your business succeed,” said Matt.

Payment options

That’s true of any brand, but especially so for Virelle, which is a membership business with different tiers of monthly subscriptions. Based on their membership, Vivrelle’s customers have access to different accessories, pay different rates, and may be able to have more than one item borrowed at a time. Providing white-glove service means charging customers correctly every month, and to get that done, Vivrelle is transitioning to Elastic Path Payments.

Elastic Path Payments is a strong choice for Vivrelle. In addition to handling subscriptions, Elastic Path Payments offers strong fraud protection and easy-to-understand dashboards and reporting – which Vivrelle’s executive team will use to track month-over-month and year-over-year subscribers.

Matt said that by adopting Elastic Path Payments, Vivrelle will be able to:

  • Monitor payments in real-time
  • Rely on subscriptions to process, for failed payments to decline, and for customers to be satisfied
  • Chart ambitious plans for growth, as Elastic Path Payments’ one-click checkout feature increases conversion rates

Overall, Elastic Path Payments will afford Vivrelle a solution that is trustworthy, secure, and scalable. Best of all, Matt said, is that Elastic Path Payments fits into the rest of Vivrelle’s composable commerce solution, which is built to respond to customer needs.

“Communication with the customer is critical to reducing failed payments,” Matt said.

Smooth Implementation

As Vivrelle has rolled out its composable commerce solution, its team has enjoyed a smooth implementation.

It’s no surprise. For starters, Vivrelle uses an established Elastic Path partner, BORN Group, as its system integrator. Jeff said that for brands considering a composable approach, partnering with a top-tier solutions integrator is a must: “A composable commerce approach can be scary. Any time we weren’t sure where to go or what to do next, we’ve been reassured by working with BORN and Elastic Path.”

Part of the reason that composable commerce can be scary is that platform implementations in the past were burdened by high costs and slow implementation cycles. All told, brands could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and up to two years integrating new commerce vendors – and 60% of that time and budget was spent on integrations.

Elastic Path is by far the best vendor I've ever worked with. The entire Elastic Path team from support, to customer success, to global services, to product always shows up with urgency and have been a pleasure to work with. And, my team loves the product. At just 6 weeks post go-live our team has already shaved off 50% of the time it used to take to manage orders.

company graphicJeff Neil VP of Software Engineering

Fortunately for Vivrelle, Elastic Path Composer drops the time and cost of commerce implementation, as integrations take minutes instead of months, and managing a multi-vendor composable solution involves fewer headaches.

“I’ve been involved in a couple of eCommerce platform implementations, and this has been the smoothest,” said Jeff. “I can say with absolute certainty that Elastic Path is why the implementation is going so smoothly.”

Learn more about Vivrelle’s composable commerce journey with Elastic Path

Watch a fireside chat with Donna, Jeff, and Jamus Driscoll, CEO of Elastic Path. The discussion is about Vivrelle’s composable commerce journey, including:

  • Evaluating a composable commerce approach
  • Implementing a composable commerce approach
  • Key learnings from Vivrelle’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.