Ellana is a mineral cosmetics brand that formulates and distributes naturally-sourced and vegan high-quality products in the Philippines. Unlike most cosmetics Ecommerce stores in Asia, Ellana is not a marketplace but sells its own brand.
Over the last 3 years, the business has been experiencing high growth, with the expansion of Ecommerce and social media marketing in South-East Asia. As of today, 40% of their business is located on their Shopify website (vs. 60% offline in department stores). To reach the next revenue tier, the company is currently betting on social commerce and 'over chat' purchases, which is extremely common in Asia.
“90% of our customer queries come in through Facebook Messenger. The Gorgias-Facebook-Shopify integration is amazing. We’ve stopped hunting and matching Facebook users to customer accounts on Shopify. The information we need is surfaced so we can respond better and faster. Gorgias allows us to operate both an e-commerce and social commerce business seamlessly."
Guita Gopalan, Chief Revenue Officer at Ellana
Theresa Carbonell Buenaflor created the brand in 2007 when she realized there was an important lack of local brands in the beauty industry in Asia, especially in the mineral makeup market. Most of the cosmetics game was indeed driven by department stores and marketplaces that would sell international brands.
Nevertheless, the birth of Ellana Cosmetics was also driven by the willingness to find the perfect make up that would make Asian women look and feel good at an affordable price. The word "Ellana" means to illuminate - and that's what the company promises to its customers, along with skincare benefits. The brand does not only sell classic makeup but also formulates products that include natural sun protection, anti-inflammatory properties for sensitive and acne-prone skin, and Vitamines C and E to conceal skin blemishes.
During its first years of commercialization, Ellana products were sold solely offline. However, the founders quickly understood that the online business was a growing acquisition channel even though Ecommerce barely existed. This is when they started building an online presence on Internet forums. That is why, back in 2008, you could already find Ellana products on Multiply, a social networking service that allowed users to share photos, videos and blog entries (namely the ancestor of Ecommerce).
However, until the mid-2010s, it was actually pretty hard to compete with established international beauty brands as well as with more recent and innovative companies such as the ones created by Rocket Internet - a startup studio that is very strong on the Asian market, and especially in the beauty industry. Ellana started getting traction in 2016, which coincides with their switch from Magento to Shopify and with the expansion of social media and digital marketing in the Philippines.
In less than three years, the company skyrocketed in terms of revenue (x75 in revenue over this time period). This online boom for Ellana Cosmetics also helped them grow their offline reputation: the brand offline presence went from 6 stores at the end of 2017 to more than 30 stores across the country today.
Ellana's challenge in terms of customer support can be categorized in 3 main aspects:
1. The business is growing fast
Along with a boom in terms of revenue, the brand is experiencing a boom in terms of tickets created. While they would receive 20-50 inquiries a day early 2018, they now get 300 to 600 tickets per day.
2. Their customers are new to Ecommerce, thus need additional help throughout the buying experience
A typical Ellana customer is a 25-45 working woman, living in a urban area. Today, the brand makes most of its revenue from the local market in the Philippines (but the company is planning to expand overseas in 2019-2020). The thing is, for these typical customers, Ecommerce and social media shopping are pretty new, which means extra support is needed during the online purchasing process.
3. Facebook is omni-present in South-East Asia
Now that more than 1/3rd of their business comes from their online store, Ellana Cosmetics needs to have a solid customer experience strategy, all the more that, in the Philippines, Facebook is the primary communication and shopping channel. 90% of the company's support tickets are created via Facebook (Comments and Messenger), while emails represent less than 10% of their total ticket count.
For all those reasons, Ellana needed a support platform that could provide a strong social media integration that would enable them to operate social media interactions (receive, like, hide and reply to comments and messages), while being able to match social media inquiries with Shopify orders.
Also, since the support team is growing fast (they went from 2 support agents in 2018 to 4 in 2019, with a 5th agent about to be hired), the company was also looking for a support tool that would not penalize them for their growth by increasing the cost with the number of customer care agents.
Though at this time, the Ellana team was not aware of Gorgias so they subscribed to Zendesk - the most renown player on the market. But they quickly realized Zendesk was great for managing emails but was not designed for support over social media. For instance, with Zendesk, every time you close a Facebook ticket, it will re-open as a brand new ticket whenever the customer reaches back (which makes it impossible to keep everything in one thread, leading to impossible tracking).
This was time consuming for the team and insufficient regarding customer experience. Also, the Zendesk-Shopify integration was not strong enough to recognize a Facebook user and match them with with their Shopify data, which means that, on every Facebook ticket, the agents would need to open Shopify and manually try to match social inquiries with existing customers. And with the great majority of their support tickets being handled through Facebook, the team was not even logging in Zendesk anymore but was instead managing support directly from Facebook.
From Zendesk to Gorgias: how Ellana Cosmetics benefits from the Shopify-Facebook profiles match
When she discovered Gorgias, Guita Gopalan realized her team would be able to:
1. Match Facebook profiles with Shopify customers, thanks to the Shopify integration and the first name - last name recognition implemented in Gorgias. Even though the matching is not 100% perfect nor a 100% automated, it's still extremely significant in terms of hours saved per week.
2. Handle orders where payments are not processed through Shopify, but via Facebook. Indeed, in the Philippines, an important part of Ecommerce happens via Cash On Delivery (COD) - which is very different from Credit Card Payment - and that does not exist on Shopify but occurs on Facebook instead. See how does it work? Customers send a proof of payment, manually attached to a Facebook message, and thanks to the Facebook-Shopify match inside Gorgias, Ellana's agents don't need to ask for the order number each time a customer send this proof of payment anymore!
And the less you ask a customer to give personal information, the better their experience. This is what prompted the company to switch to Gorgias, after 3 months spent on Zendesk.
Identifying Social Leads in Gorgias
In the Philippines, social media ads - and especially on Facebook - are amongst the top investments. That means that, potential customers are likely to comment on those sponsored posts that they see everywhere on social networks. They might tag each other, ask questions and then continue the conversation on Facebook Messenger.
In order to handle that, the Ellana team decided set up auto-replies for social media directly from Gorgias, using Messenger bot combined with Gorgias rules. Here's an example of how it works from Gorgias interface:
Auto-tagging system and revenue statistics: from a nice-to-have to a must-have?
Two other features the Ellana team is excited about are Gorgias's auto-tagging system and revenue statistics. Indeed, with Gorgias, you can tag your tickets based on keywords recognition and Shopify data to help you prioritize tickets. It's also a smart way to better understand your support statistics since you can break down by tag, enabling you to go deeper in your analysis of customer needs.
The second feature Guita is excited about is the revenue Statistics feature, that we just released for our Gorgias users in February 2019. Generally, you can separate customers’ inquiries in two categories: pre-sale tickets (questions asked before placing an order: product-specific questions, availability etc.) and post-sale tickets (questions related to deliveries, returns etc.). When your agents are responding to pre-sale messages - and especially over the chat - they have an opportunity to influence the sale and to convert the customer. Revenue statistics allow you to measure money generated from your support when helping customers through the purchasing journey.
As mentioned earlier, Ellana is betting on 'over chat' purchases and conversational commerce to reach its new revenue tier. Remember also that their typical customers are new to Ecommerce and asking several questions before buying online. In their case, the revenue statistics will likely become a must-have feature that will support Ellana’s growth.
While they were on Zendesk, Ellana's support team was not benefiting fully from having a help desk, specifically because the Facebook integration was not satisfactory in their case. Ever since transitioning over to Gorgias, the agents are very satisfied to be able to handle social media inquiries from a support platform where you have an easy access to macros and automation capabilities.
The resolution time has significantly dropped, from 1+ day to 13 hours now.