The brand promise for e.l.f. Cosmetics (the acronym stands for “eyes lips face”) is: “to offer luxurious cosmetics in gorgeous colors, but without the big department store price tag.” e.l.f. launched online in 2004 with its “$1 essentials” line of products. Today, e.l.f. Cosmetics products are sold at major retailers such as Target and Walgreens and at its flagship “studio store” in New York City, the company’s home base. Its e-commerce presence expanded in 2012 when e.l.f. launched its mobile site.
Ever since e.l.f.’s first e-commerce site opened for business, the company has kept a tight focus on creating a fun and engaging place to shop for makeup. “We want to give our customers the best possible shopping experience with access to lots of information and product options,” said Lesley Klein, director of e-commerce for e.l.f. Cosmetics. However, the company’s original site search – a default solution packaged with its e-commerce platform – wasn’t doing a good job of surfacing products or helping customers find compelling content like videos and blog posts. The lackluster search performance dampened shopper enthusiasm.