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Finding the Key Ingredients for Growth Through Customer Experience

Transformative Visual Design Amplifies Loyalty Marketing and Subscription Automation

5 minute read

Who Should Read This?

This case study will be especially relevant for those interested in the following topics:

  • Skincare
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Checkout Upsells
  • Product Reviews
  • Visual Design
  • Page Builder Enhancements
  • Loyalty & Rewards
  • Auto-Replenishment
  • Adobe Commerce (Magento)


Kate Somerville’s science-based skincare line required a new visual design to successfully translate the powerful ingredients through a digital medium. Along with the redesign, the brand sought to boost their customer service and expand their product ratings and reviews. A new checkout experience showcasing auto-replenishment and a heightened reward program would result in exponential success.


For over two decades, Kate Somerville has been treating skin and transforming lives with targeted treatments and products backed by science. After working alongside some of the world’s top cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists, in 2004 Kate opened her iconic Skin Health Experts Clinic in Hollywood, California. At the intersection of clinical skincare and prestige beauty, Kate Somerville skincare products embody the founder’s ability to blend highly active ingredients to visibly transform specific skin concerns.

Adobe Commerce (Magento) Captures the Art and Science of Skincare

Kate Somerville is a trusted skincare expert for some of the world’s most discerning faces--their careers depend upon looking their best. Her line of products similarly depends on a solution that uniquely blends the art and science of ecommerce. Guidance replatformed Kate Somerville to Adobe Commerce (Magento) for best in class performance and cloud delivered scalability that has helped them grow their omnichannel sales exponentially. Adobe Commerce (Magento) cloud-based platform provides a reliable Amazon Web Service (AWS) environment that supports any size of ecommerce solution. With continuous delivery of cloud-based services and the benefit of instant access to the latest software version, infrastructure improvements and functionality are available invisibly to the user. Adobe Commerce (Magento) delivers on the demanding needs of high-traffic peaks of promotions and seasonality with high availability and scalability.

A large pain point for the brand consisted in a lacklustre visual design and a customer experience that did not live up to the standards put forth by the powerful skincare product claims. Kate Somerville products include highly active ingredients with soothing essentials to visibly transform specific skin concerns yet the website artistry did not convey the skincare science. Guidance focused on transforming the website’s brand experience from an outdated visual design into a bright and fresh design created to drive home the brand’s skincare mission and solidify the high price point for quality products with evidence-backed science.


kate somerville before


kate somerville after

Guidance transformed Kate Somerville's website brand experience from outdated into a bright and fresh visual design.

The checkout experience is one of the most important factors during the conversion funnel. Guidance focused on translating the aesthetic of science-based skincare into a visual language to match the brand experience. A custom vector illustration of the real-life Kate Somerville clinic bag is used as the site’s shopping bag to add an extra brand moment and to give online shoppers the experience of an in-person visit to a clinic location. On the Shopping Bag page, Guidance created areas for upsells based on price and also featured products that had been added to that user’s wishlist for easy add-to-cart functionality.

Guidance created areas for upsells based on price and also featured products that had been added to that user’s wishlist for easy add-to-cart functionality.

The brand’s use of color is important: each bottle color represents a custom skincare solution for different skin issues. Bottle colors have to be easily found and recognizable to the user as most customers purchase based on their skincare needs. A unique challenge in juxtaposing the vibrant colored bottles was in representing imagery of the serums and lotions--most of which are white, off-white or clear--on a white background. To solve the challenge, Guidance included animated gifs throughout the homepage showing models applying the products to highlight the consistency and demonstrating the intended application. By showing (instead of telling) how the products behave with eye-catching motion graphics, the pages feel lively and captivates the audience’s attention.

As an innovative brand, Kate Somerville stands behind the science of its products. All products are tested and proven in the clinic and laboratory to transform skin and deliver powerful results. Each product is accompanied by documentation of its ingredients and benefits as well as its intended usage and prescribed results. Guidance implemented designs that pin the “Add to Bag'' button to the side of the browser as the user scrolls down into the ingredients to ensure conversions are captured at all points of the decision making process.

kate somerville pdp

A pinned “Add to Bag'' button ensures interest is captured at all points of the decision making process.

Zendesk Chat Brings Customer Support to Life

Customer relationships are key to building trust with your devoted fan base and communication fosters strong ties to loyal customers. One of the hesitations around online purchasing of skincare products is that they are meant to be touched, smelled and sampled. To replace those in-person interactions, Guidance helped Kate Somerville integrate Zendesk customer support chat functionality.

Customer service reps can now communicate directly with customers through helpdesk and chatbot functionality. Communication has become more efficient and customer satisfaction rates have improved dramatically. It works with existing email addresses, social media accounts, SMS/Voice numbers and comes with built-in live chat, pre-built chatbots, co-browsing, status page, and FAQ features.

Auto-Replenishment Finds New Growth

The auto-replenishment program was a major consideration during the Product Description Page (PDP) design. Guidance paid special attention to creating an interface that favors ordering a product for auto-replenishment rather than just once. Ordergroove has helped to facilitate subscription automation and many devoted fans of Kate Somerville’s products enjoy the ability to order once and receive monthly (or a cadence of their choosing) renewals at their doorstep. The solution has built a profitable recurring revenue source for Kate Somerville as a substantial number of customers prefer to set and forget their skincare product deliveries. OrderGroove creates a new shipment notification depending on subscription cadence and the customers are seamlessly notified, charged and delivered their skincare products.

kate somerville auto delivery

Auto-replenishment has been a profitable recurring revenue source for Kate Somerville as a substantial number of customers prefer to set and forget their skincare product deliveries.

Growing Beyond Channel Conflicts

To support Kate Somerville’s in-person skincare clinic and to encourage loyalty, Guidance designed the new website to accept appointment requests by service and aestheticians. The company continues to operate their salons in Los Angeles and New York City alongside the growth in product sales both online across multiple channels and retailers and offline in brick and mortar stores across the nation. Guidance also helped to consolidate their US, UK and Canadian websites onto one unified platform.

Kate Somerville continues to operate salons in LA and NYC alongside the growth in product sales.

Ratings and Reviews are Essential Tools

Ratings and reviews have been proven to increase customer confidence and ultimately boost conversion rates. This is especially true for higher priced products, like luxury skincare, where customer feedback through product ratings is crucial to the purchase decision. These ratings and reviews have become even more impactful as in-store visits (to sample the product) have slowed during the pandemic. Customers want to know what other customers truly felt about the product post-purchase and relevant content along with realistic product images is invaluable to the buying journey.

kate somerville reviews

As more customers turn to online purchasing where the product “try before you buy” isn’t available, customer reviews and user generated content (UGC) becomes ever more valuable during the purchase cycle.

As more customers turn to online purchasing where the product “try before you buy” isn’t available, customer reviews and user generated content (UGC) becomes ever more valuable during the purchase cycle. Guidance helped Kate Somerville integrate a ratings and review solution to drive increased consideration, awareness and conversion among shoppers in the digital aisles. Olapic User Generated Content (UGC) empowers shoppers to buy confidently by collecting authentic, “voice of the customer” content and displaying it during the customer buying journey.

Kate Somerville customers have the ability to generate their own reviews and upload real images of the product being used in their home. Customers feel confident buying products as social evidence in the form of reviews is a powerful motivator. They can easily find reviews through advanced sorting, product tags and filtering options that address specific skin types and concerns. Furthermore, customers are incentivized to leave thoughtful and honest reviews by rewarding each review with Ultimate Kate Rewards points.

Customer Loyalty Delivers Success

Loyalty programs that reward shoppers for consistent and recurring purchases are not only good for business, they’re great for the brand. In this case, a large portion of revenue is attributed to the efforts in building out a successful rewards program. Kate Somerville creates a strong network of brand evangelists by using loyalty marketing throughout the customer experience strategy. Based on points, the reward solution provides rebates to loyal customers, discounts during the customer’s birthday month and other incentives to keep the customer close to the brand. When a user checks out, free samples that compliment the products in the cart are immediately suggested. The rewards program provides a seamless platform for customers to earn points towards discounts and other specials. As a result, there has been a tremendous uptick in customer retention and product reviews from the loyalty program.


Guidance successfully delivered a fully redesigned ecommerce solution that embraces proven and effective conversion strategies to boost sales and expand customer loyalty.

Furthermore, the newly redesigned checkout solution emphasizes the lucrative (and beneficial) auto-replenishment service and upsells the skincare brand’s high-performance products.


Finalist for Web Redesign of the Year


Next Level, the global leader in white-label apparel, has seen a true manual-to-automated digital transformation as a result of their engagement with Guidance. Through the integration of an industry-specific ERP and an automated shipping solution, Next Level has realized a dramatic upswing in sales as a result of the decreased manual intervention involved with each order.

The new, custom built product matrix has given Next Level the opportunity to showcase their large network of warehouses across the nation with full insight into inventory, shipping times and prices.


  • Custom Development
  • Adobe Commerce (Magento)
  • ERP Integration
  • Multi-Channel Inventory
  • Global Delivery
  • Ecommerce Website Migration
  • Web Development
  • Ecommerce Web Integrations


  • Adobe Commerce (Magento)
  • Full Circle ERP
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Fastly CDN
  • Redis Database
  • Elastic Search
  • SendGrid Email
  • ShipperHQ Logistics
  • 3 Delta Payments
  • LiveChat Customer Service

Find out how top brands are breaking boundaries and exceeding sales projections with Guidance.