The prestige skincare brand unlocked full creative control and the ability to scale fast with Shogun Frontend.
TULA is a clean and effective skincare brand built on the power of probiotic extracts and superfoods clinically proven to nourish, soothe, and balance skin. Founded by Dr. Roshini Raj, TULA is a digitally native, omnichannel brand with DTC as its core capability. The brand also retails in ULTA Beauty, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and more.
Since 2014, prestige skincare brand, TULA Skincare has been on a mission to inspire confidence by focusing on skin health rather than perfection.
And they’ve seen exceptional growth along the way. The brand quickly expanded from DTC to multi-channel—partnering with major retailers like Ulta Beauty and, regularly working with top influencers like Christina Milian and Krista Horton. They’re known for creating products with cult followings.
Recently, TULA chose to create a richer frontend experience for their online shoppers. The brand wanted to exceed customer expectations and future-proof continued growth. As Savannah Sachs, CEO of TULA, says:
“Rather than relying on Shopify Plus for that front-end experience, the way we have in the past, we wanted to innovate and build in-house using our digital and tech teams. Speed is incredibly important and is one of the biggest reasons we have gone headless. By building our own frontend, we can really optimize speed and the shopping experience. How quickly your website loads, and how fast your customer can navigate through it, is a huge determinant of performance.”
TULA wanted to “control their destiny” with their ecommerce experience
When TULA’s brand campaigns, influencer partnerships, and cult products like Glow & Get It Cooling and Brightening Eye Balm started capturing the attention of customers and the skincare industry, it became clear that the brand needed an ecommerce experience that matched their growth and market reputation.
As Ilan Levine, the Head of Technology & Digital Product describes:
“Before, we had a standard site that had tech debt from third-parties, apps, and themes that were added throughout. It boiled down to: ‘Do we go with a fresh start and a new theme? Or do we take it to the next level with a progressive web app?’ And a progressive web app, being in a serverless environment, has the speed we wanted. It’s unrivaled.”
A decoupled frontend would help the TULA team stay agile, experiment, and offer the best shopping possible. They’d get creative control of everything a visitor sees, without compromises.
Choosing a unified frontend platform
At a previous company, Ilan oversaw an entirely custom headless build, which required tons of oversight into the tech infrastructure, plus ongoing maintenance. He wanted things to be different for TULA’s build:
“[For the prior build I was part of] we had to figure out DevOps, and there was a lot of custom code needed. For TULA, we looked into using Contentful and Shopify’s API, but there were still some missing pieces—like the CDN and DevOps. After learning about Shogun Frontend, we realized it would help us do exactly what we wanted as fast as possible. And that was it, especially because—at the time—we had such a small team. Between the work and hiring required for a custom build, it didn’t make sense to go it alone.”
Choosing an all-in-one frontend platform like Shogun Frontend meant TULA could avoid assembling their frontend layer entirely from scratch. They could prioritize the shopping experience instead. Plus, they could go headless faster.
TULA launched their new Shogun Frontend-powered frontend on September 21, 2021.
Now, not only does TULA.com offer an incredible experience for visitors (conveying the quality of their products instantly with dynamic, rich merchandising), but it’s also lightning-fast, offers the web team flexibility with UX, and primes the site for global expansion.
TULA’s ecommerce team can now make site-wide updates faster thanks to Shogun Frontend’s reusable codeless sections and site preview:
What’s more, TULA can test and learn how customers are interacting with the site through a consistent feedback loop, which enables them to build out their digital product roadmap and optimize the customer journey.
For example, with their new Shogun Frontend-powered frontend, TULA has improved their subscription offering by allowing customers more purchase options at-a-glance.
“We streamlined the process of setting up and managing subscriptions [customers can now purchase both single items and subscriptions at the same time], which is a major gain,” says Jessica Zhang, Digital Product Senior Manager at TULA. “Our team is really proud of this improvement.”
Influencer partnerships have also been a big part of TULA’s marketing, and now the ecommerce team can add rich user-generated content (UGC) throughout the site fast without worrying about lags in site performance.
Expanding globally is on the horizon for TULA. With their new frontend, this will be a much more turnkey process, says Jessica:
“Now that the site’s frontend is separate, we’ll be able to sync code and content from one store to multiple, global stores more efficiently as we expand internationally.”
A fast, high-converting site shoppers can’t get enough of
TULA’s new speedy frontend matches the prestige skincare the brand offers. The site is now an asset the team feels confident customers will have a great experience on, says Ilan:
“Having a slow site hurts brand perception. As a digitally-native brand, we absolutely require a fast-loading site to meet shopper expectations. Now, running as a progressive web app, this site elevates our experience from an internal lens, and as a brand.”
With their new PWA, TULA has seen faster site load times by approximately 35%, which has impacted their conversion rate on mobile devices (85% of TULA.com’s traffic). What’s more, page-to-page clickthrough is now 5x faster (versus the traditional template).
Transforming their frontend experience for the customer (and empowering their ecommerce team) has primed TULA for even more success across the board. As Ilan advises other brands looking to grow to consider a unified frontend platform:
“It comes down to ROI and the bang for your buck. Choosing an all-in-one frontend platform like Shogun Frontend that does the heavy lifting for you on the server infrastructure, and is optimized for speed, is the way to go.”
A new flexible frontend has given TULA:
Digital platform design freedom and opportunities for an improved and more personalized site experience
Creative control and development capabilities
Stronger upsell features to positively impact AOV
The ability to scale quickly for international rollouts and site development
The ability to test and learn from consumer behavior, and both quantitative and qualitative data.
"Rather than relying on Shopify Plus for that front-end experience, the way we have in the past, we wanted to innovate and build in-house using our digital and tech teams. Speed is incredibly important and is one of the biggest reasons we have gone headless. By building our own frontend, we can really optimize speed and the shopping experience. How quickly your website loads, and how fast your customer can navigate through it, is a huge determinant of performance.”
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