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How paint brand Valspar brought new life to its online brand

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 8 min read

Paint brand Valspar gave their website more than just a fresh lick of paint as they looked to streamline their consumers' onine journey - a journey that ended with them winning the Retail award at the Drum Awards for Digital Industries. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning digital work

Valspar is a subsidiary of the world’s biggest paint manufacturer, Sherwin-Williams, and one of the most popular paint brands on the global market. While Valspar has built its name on the quality of its paint products, it didn’t yet have the ecommerce functionality or digital experience to match. This was significant, as when the national lockdown struck, consumers were investing more in their homes, and digital demand was quickly on the rise. Valspar’s objective was to capitalise on this demand by transforming its existing website into a marketing leading digital presence, bridging the gap between its online and offline offering.

It all started with discovery. Insight comes at the start and the heart of everything we do at Enjoy, so we kicked-off the project with our discovery phase, where we deep dived across four key categories (Company, Category, Consumer, and Culture), identifying insights to inform the transformation strategy.

To understand ‘The Consumer’, we conducted interviews with territory managers at B&Q (the exclusive retailer of Valspar) to discover current customer queries and pain-points when in-store. We combined this with a digital analysis, auditing Valspar’s website and identifying barriers and pitfalls in the user journey. We then looked at ‘The Category’ and, while not wanting to be defined by what competitors were doing, we undertook a competitor audit to learn more about the category and landscape, which would help us to take Valspar a brushstroke above the rest. Understanding the wants and needs of the audience is the foundation for any successful digital initiative. So, to develop our understanding of ‘The Consumer’ even further, we commissioned a survey with 2,000+ homeowners, gaining invaluable insights around audience behaviour, motivations, trends and triggers.

The Challenge

Thanks to its state-of-the-art colour matching technology, Valspar can create any colour the eye can see (that’s over 2.2 million colours). However, one of the key learnings from our discovery phase was that this USP presents consumers with a paradox of choice, which can hinder the decision-making process — especially online, where competitor products are never more than a few clicks away. Our objective was to simplify and streamline the user journey while accelerating the paths to purchase. And to achieve this, we left no stone unturned.

Interactive integrations and a Virtual Assistant: The key learning from our discovery phase was that consumers were calling-out for immersive, interactive, and inspirational digital experiences that at the same time, helped them find the right product, faster. As a solution, we developed a market-leading innovation, the Valspar Virtual Assistant. Accessible online or in-store (via QR code), the Valspar Virtual Assistant is a digital application designed to guide customer purchase decisions, offering interactive tools, such as: A photo uploader: helping users pin-point a paint colour by uploading a photo from their device; A colour visualiser: visualising what that colour would look like in their home; A coverage calculator: determining the quantity and cost of paint needed for the project; Informative video guides: guiding users through this journey from inspiration to purchase while suggesting the latest colour trends. All of these features are packaged into one helpful hub, helping customers define their project, choose the right colour, purchase the perfect product (and have fun along the way).

The Valspar Virtual Solution was recognised as “The Best Partner Solution” at the Global Umbraco awards, with the judges commenting: “The Valspar Virtual Assistant is an exceptional resource for individuals looking to make crucial decisions regarding home and decor. Its sleek, user-friendly and enjoyable interface is a handy tool to have. One of the remarkable features of the product is its design, which is tailored to meet the users needs. The technique used to determine colours based on photos is outstanding and the interactive website enhances the overall user experience.” “The use of custom-built micro-services, Umbraco Heartcore and Vendr is impressive. These technologies come together to make an otherwise complicated process simple and user-friendly. Congratulations to the Enjoy team for their outstanding work.”

More than just a fresh lick of paint: In addition to the Virtual Assistant application, we crafted a fresh design concept for the website’s homepage. Then, we used this as the baseline to introduce a site-wide design language. This features neutral tones contrasted against brushstrokes of colour and contemporary photography, to help refresh the Valspar brand and bring it to life. We also revamped the menu design to improve ease of navigation, redesigned on-page components — such as the call-to-action pods — and simplified the user-interface, resulting in a friendlier and more modern aesthetic.

A flexible and scalable CMS: While we were optimising the front-end, our development team migrated the Valspar website — previously hosted on Umbraco 7 — onto Umbraco 10. This was important as Umbraco 7 was nearing its end-of-life and would no longer receive updates, security patches or community support. We implemented a custom-solution that helped maintain the website’s integrity and structure, providing all the flexibility and scalability needed for a market-leading paint brand. Then, to get the Valspar team up-to-speed with the solution, we provided expert CMS training, so they felt comfortable editing and interacting within the back-end of the site.

A simple, seamless user journey: To further enhance the user journey, our team delivered wide-scale improvements to the website taxonomy and page structure, while optimising ecommerce functionality, and tweaking call-to-action terminology and positioning. Then, we set up A/B testing to put our solutions to the test before launch.

Supercharging site speed: Our development team then set their sights on the overall performance of the website, optimising the site's code and enhancing the caching mechanisms to ensure it ran at lightning-pace — great for users (and search engines). On top of that, we integrated Elasticsearch to provide a speedy and scalable product and site search.

Powerful performance marketing: Soon, after rigorous testing and reviews, the new website was live and kicking. But every new site needs footfall — after all, there’s no use having a fantastic shop hidden down a quiet side street in a busy town. So we delivered a roadmap of omni-channel marketing activity to build brand awareness, drive traffic, clicks and conversions, and keep customers coming back. We left no canvas untouched, targeting key audience segments using the personas developed in our discovery phase, and turning up the volume across a range of channels, from paid and organic search to PR, paid social and programmatic. We also set-up robust reporting measures to ensure that all activity could be continually traced, tested and optimised.

The Results

Everything we do is ultimately to drive growth for our clients, and, being insight-led, this project was driven by the changing needs of their customers. By working closely with the client at every step, we built a transformational digital experience for Valspar that’s simple, slick and seamless, while fast, fun and friendly to use. Valspar’s new digital experience quickly got people talking; receiving praise from its internal teams, partners, and customers. And thanks to this campaign, Valspar saw a significant increase in ecommerce sales, website conversions, sessions, users and paid ROAS. “Thanks to Enjoy for transforming our ambitious vision for the Valspar website into reality. We’re very proud of our new digital experience; it’s received a lot of positive feedback from our customers, and it’s delivered some fantastic results, too.” - Tobie Lewis, Head of Marketing, Valspar

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