Craft News

A Made-to-Measure Digital Experience

Sep 20, 2016 in Case Studies

Samuelsohn Long Form Hero

“In the fashion industry, we are consistently updating our Collections content in advance of the next season, so Craft gives us the ability to design each season and see the results in real time.”

Aliza Perruzzi, Director of Marketing and Communications, Samuelsohn

For nearly a century, often white-labeled luxury menswear maker Samuelsohn has been a retailer’s best-kept secret. Their made-to-measure luxury suit line was industry revered, yet invisible as a consumer-facing brand.

With the rise of omni-channel commerce in fashion, Samuelsohn decided it was time to reposition their brand for a B2C market. They partnered with Digital Surgeons, a “creative design and innovation agency”, to create a scalable, mobile-first website that builds brand awareness and drives in-store traffic to retail partners with a carefully-crafted digital experience.

Flexibility First

The seasonality of fashion demands that brands in the vertical constantly update their in-store retail experiences to reflect ever-changing products, looks, and collections. A digital web experience is no different. Samuelson's soon-to-be built site had to be able to adapt to an always-changing catalog and reflect the latest and greatest in product features.

Made in Montreal, Samuelsohn’s suits are found in luxury retailers throughout North America. Therefore their site’s content must be localized for French and English content to cater to both Canadian and American consumers.

Samuelsohn’s in-house digital marketing team, led by their Director of Marketing and Communications Aliza Perruzzi, will be in charge of maintaining and updating the content regularly. So it was vital that Digital Surgeons implement a content management system that allows Perruzzi and her team to change and internationalize site content without a significant development lift. Optimizing the administration experience within the control panel of the CMS was a top priority.

Craft CMS

The general flexibility of Craft CMS made it Digital Surgeons’ choice to build Samuelsohn’s site. Craft CMS is uniquely capable of creating a digital experience that is as adaptable as it is visually striking – an absolute must for a seasonal fashion brand.

Faced with a confusing taxonomy that other CMSes may have struggled with, Craft’s user-friendly platform enabled the agency to create intuitive administration that allows Samuelsohn’s team to easily manage ever-changing designs.

Most importantly, Digital Surgeons was able to internationalize Samuelsohn’s site with Craft’s localization functionality, which enabled Samuelsohn’s team to manage localized versions of each entry, for each region that the website targets.

Samuelsohn Store Locator

The Store Locator on Samuelsohn’s new site

Most CMSes have some form of internationalization, but it’s often available from a third party plugin that costs time and money to implement, and offers a less-than-compelling user experience. With Craft, localization is there from the start as part of the core CMS, and it shows. Managing localized content just makes sense and never feels like a second class feature.

Powered by Craft, Samuelsohn site’s content is both visually striking and simple for their team to update so that it reflects the brand’s latest looks, products, and collections. Samuelsohn releases a new collection each season. Within each collection are “looks”, built with varying numbers of products from that season’s collection. To put it simply, a collection is made up of looks, which are made up of products.

This slightly-confusing fashion taxonomy is made manageable by the ease in which Craft manages relationships. Samuelsohn’s Craft implementation allows an administrator to enter as many products as they need for a new collection. Then, in an entry that represents the entire collection, each look is defined and assigned a list of products.

Because collections and products are separate entries in Craft, it is easy to map them together. Also, because they are independent, Samuelsohn’s team is able to build collections and products simultaneously, so their workflow isn’t interrupted if they have products, but no looks, or vice versa. Once they’ve finished preparing a new collection, they are able to publish and immediately see it live on the front end. The ease in which Craft CMS manages relationships sets their platform apart.

Samuelsohn Collection Cp

Managing a Collection and its Looks is simple and straightforward in Craft’s Control Panel.

Fashion trends change rapidly. If a celebrity is seen wearing a Samuelsohn suit, there will usually be an increased demand for that suit following the event. The ability to quickly change the homepage so the latest and greatest suit style is always front and center was a must-have. Digital Surgeons turned to Craft’s Matrix field to make it a reality. Homepage panels are managed with Matrix blocks, and Samuelsohn’s team can quickly drag-and-drop panels to move them wherever they’d like on the homepage to feature the latest style prominently.

The Collections page also has a flexible drag and drop layout that allows Matrix fields to easily handle all of the brand’s collections, from the looks themselves down to the featured products.

Samuelsohn Live Preview Cp

A product’s page being edited using Craft’s Live Preview feature

Best of all, Craft’s Live Preview functionality allows Samuelsohn’s team to see the changes happening in real-time as they build their pages, before they publish to the public. They are essentially designing within the CMS, an optimal experience for highly visual fashion workers.

To make it even easier for the Samuelsohn team, Digital Surgeons built image transforms into the implementation. This means Samuelsohn doesn’t have to upload multiple versions of each image to account for different image sizes. One image is uploaded and the transform crops and sizes it appropriately.

To create a faster, more enjoyable experience for site visitors, Digital Surgeons built much of the presentation logic into the client side. This type of application requires JSON representations of the site content, which JavaScript uses to render the page and its components. This was made possible with Craft’s first party Element API plugin, an easily-configurable solution that makes it possible to build JSON APIs for the site content. Simply drop in, set up endpoints with configuration, and query with JavaScript from the front end. Client side pagination, filtering, sorting, and navigation have never been easier to manage in back end of a CMS.

The Perfect Fit

Craft CMS allowed Digital Surgeons and Samuelsohn to easily and efficiently build a performant, localized, and mobile-first website that is both visually striking and flexible. The user-friendly CMS will ensure that the Samuelsohn team is able to keep their site on the cutting edge of fashion and luxury menswear, all without ever going into the code.

"In the fashion industry, we are consistently updating our Collections content in advance of the next season, so Craft gives us the ability to design each season and see the results in real time,” said Perruzzi. “Also, supporting multiple languages out-of-the-box is an amazing feature since we need to accommodate French and English content."