SSENSE Editorial CMS

SSENSE Editorial CMS :

The Context:

SSENSE creates a lot of editorial content; this is part of the company brand. As such, SSENSE has an entire team dedicated to bringing its customers the best content in luxury clothing. Historically, SSENSE has always used the style and workflow of a traditional agency (Design->html integration->deployment) for every content piece, and has never used CMS to manage their content.

While that enabled them to create high quality pieces every time, it is not a scalable system unless you were to hire a whole design/integration team. We needed to optimize the workflow. We also needed something that would allow us to go faster while at the same time reducing the number of people required in the process.

The plan:

We wanted to provide the editorial team with a tool that they could not only use to write their content (instead of using a word processing app), but also completely design their article directly within the CMS. We eliminated time wasted in Photoshop, text revisions, integration changes which was costing the team a lot of time.

If you have worked with an editorial team before, you will know that not only do you have to approve the design, but you also have to approve the content and then verify it all again when the integration is done. With our CMS, we wanted to eliminate all of this waste so that we can be left with only one tool to do everything.

Our other goal was to allow the design of the article in the tool to be quick. We did a number of small tests throughout its development where we asked our designers to recreate different website layouts in order to be sure the tool was easy to use and fine tune the system to be quick.

The result:

We built the CMS in 5 sprints with a subset of the normal team.

Not only can the editorials be designed directly on the website CSS grid, but private previews can now be sent to our editors easily; scheduling articles and the homepage publishing workflow is now easy. That means that it is possible to change the homepage in 1 hour for a flash sale, and then go back to our regular homepage without any code deployment or direct human management, enabling our marketing team to have a lot of fun by testing different campaigns.

In the end, not only did the CMS streamline the workflow of the editorial team making them faster and more reactive to quick changes, it also relieved pressure on the IT department regarding editorial content integration and deployment. This enabled us to get a small boost on our overall speed of deployment and at the same time help the marketing team improve the conversion rate of the homepage and editorial content.

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