Kiehl’s partners with Yext to improve search discoverability and drive store traffic
- 250 retail Stores + 1,000 department ocations
- New York City, New York
Kiehl’s Since 1851 is one of the most-recognised names in premium skin, hair and body care products. Part of the L’Oréal Group, Kiehl’s has more than 250 retail stores worldwide, as well as more than 1,000 points-of-sale in department stores and airports.
“Kiehl’s is all about healthy skin. We have been around since 1851 and so we believe in naturally derived ingredients and in using science and innovation to allow those ingredients to work as well as they possibly can,” says Grace Edinger, Director, Digital Product Management.
The Kiehl’s retail team noticed that the store locator function on the Kiehl’s website wasn’t performing, and began talking to prospective providers to power this critical tool about a month after Edinger joined the team.
At the same time, the role of chatbots and emergence of voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant were altering the marketing landscape. Edinger was also aware that Kiehl’s search strategy needed serious overhauling.
“Skincare all used to be about department stores and malls when it came to customer discovery. Will there be more or less bricks-and-mortar retail in skincare? Well, it’s hard to shop skincare via e-commerce if you’ve never tried it before. You need a place to physically try it and see how it feels and makes your skin feel. For Kiehl’s, that means we’re focused on making sure we’re in the places people want to find skincare products and making sure they can discover those places when and where they want to online.”
After deciding it was high time for a new platform partner that could address its traffic challenges, improve discovery of its stores, and better prepare the 167-year-old retailer for the changing technology landscape, Edinger selected Yext.
“We were using a different vendor at the time and the store locator wasn’t working the way we needed it to. We weren’t seeing the results we wanted in search, and we explored some other options. Yext came to us with a compelling all-in-one solution.”
Kiehl’s uses Yext to manage its brand information on its store pages and in search, so it can reach its customers with accurate, up-to-date information.
“Search is a huge focus for L’Oreal as a whole,” Edinger says. “At most companies, it’s hard to get upper management to buy into the importance of search strategy as a way for consumers to discover the business.”
“L’Oreal is totally different. Everyone from the CMO team to the Global President of L’Oreal is always talking about how to get greater share of voice. That was a big piece of launching the individual store pages with Yext so that we would show up in local three packs.” Edinger says, referring to the set of three search results that Google displays at the top of any local business search.
“I’m focused on trying to make the digital and search experience as frictionless as possible,” Edinger says. “We do that in a lot of different ways. The main question we try to solve is making it easy for customers to find the brand and the products they’re looking for. We’re trying to create a connection between the brand and customers, whether in-store or online.”
Since launching with Yext, Kiehls has experienced 22% year-over-year growth in clicks on their listings. This includes 19% year-over-year growth in direction clicks, 27% year-over-year growth in website clicks and 39% year-over-year growth in phone call clicks. With Yext’s local pages, Kiehl’s has driven over 157k clicks captured from over 3.7k different queries.
Service is a core tenet of the Kiehl’s brand, and the company constantly works to improve the customer experience, both face-to-face and online.
“Our goal in person is to have a consultation with the customer so we can really understand what the customer’s needs are and make a recommendation based on that. It’s a real relationship of trust. Obviously that’s a little more difficult online, so we try to bring that experience to our customers digitally as well, and we want to be a trusted resource.”
“When it comes to bringing that personal experience online, one thing we believe we’ve figured out is allowing existing customers to order products more easily. Text-to-reorder or chat-to-reorder, perhaps developing an Amazon Alexa voice skill to reorder, are all important pieces of that.”
In making the connection between online convenience and the in-store personal touch, Kiehl’s relies on Yext to maintain the brand’s critical online/offline information accurately and in real time, including address, hours, contact information and more.
“How do you do brand discovery through voice? In local search, you get many results and you can choose the one you like. When you get into voice search, you get one result. Alexa or Siri is not going to read off a long list to you. So how do you make sure you’re the person or the brand that is appearing as that one result? Managing our store location information is a key part of it.”