In the last few weeks, Yves Saint Laurent quietly launched a revamp of its fashion and accessories e-commerce site found at YSL.com. With a full catalog of products for purchase and full-screen videos, the new site marks a drastic improvement over the previous version. Despite the fashionable new look, certain elements just didn’t live up to the expected digital experience of a luxury brand.
What YSL.com Does Well
If you’ve got time to explore, the World of YSL section is brimming with ad campaigns, spotlights on specific collections, runway show looks, and music selections. Particularly enjoyable are large full screen videos of commissioned films and fashion shows. It’s the perfect playground to explore what’s getting attention at YSL.
Newly available is the full collection of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, and accessories. Whether one enters the site with the intention of shopping online immediately or not, the product pages offer high-resolution images with a detailed description. For the in-store shopper, this is the perfect place to research and compare styles and colors.
Though not as sexy of a topic, the site seems to do quite well in its optimization for search engines. Of the ten or so product-related searches tested (Muse, Tribute, etc), YSL.com was the first site listed in every instance. Though it is interesting to note that the website’s description as seen in Google still references Tom Ford (who has not been at the helm of YSL since 2004!), and when searching for “Stefano Pilati,” YSL’s current Creative Director, the site was nowhere to be seen within the results.
Still Room for Improvement
Kudos go to the brand for making so much of its product catalog available for purchase online. However, when it comes to the online merchandising of the ready-to-wear collections, the luxury feel immediately drops. What is the reason? Rather than shooting actual models wearing the clothes, the pieces are photographed on mannequins, each positioned in the exact same stance in every photo. Showcasing the clothes on models rather than mannequins (something even mid-range retailers like J.Crew and Gap do) creates a more upscale, fashion-forward vibe. In addition, real people (if you can call models real people) give shoppers an easier time imagining themselves in the outfits.
An area that is surprisingly lacking from the World of YSL or About YSL sections on the site is anything having to do with Mr. Yves Saint Laurent himself! With such a revolutionary designer and as a brand with a strong heritage, YSL is missing an opportunity to showcase its roots. Gucci, on the other hand, does this quite well.
What about perfume and makeup, A HUGE revenue stream for the Yves Saint Laurent brand name? While this section of the business is managed by a completely different entity (L’Oreal), there’s still an opportunity for better integration of the two sites, as discussed previously.
There are other things, too, that would make YSL.com a stronger player in the luxury digital sphere. If you’re going to feature ad campaigns on the site, why not make them shoppable by linking to the product pages of the items featured? Why not include some easy social media sharing functions on the product pages? And while we’re talking about social media, why hasn’t there been a Facebook update since June?
It’s always easy for an outsider to dissect and scrutinize, and certainly the goal of this article is not to nitpick. There’s no question that the brand has made A LOT of progress digitally and they deserve to be commended for adding a slew of useful and inspiring content to YSL.com. However, if brands want to stay competitive, it’s important to ensure that any efforts they are making to advance meet the demands of the new customer in a digitally competitive environment.
Photo Credits: YSL.com and Google search results