American cosmetics brand, Urban Decay, is launching a content hub this autumn, where customers can interact with the brand through blogs, video tutorials and social media.

"It's so easy to fall into the trap of a brand's website being a store and only a delivery system for products," explains Urban Decay's assistant vice president of digital, John Perasco. "But we see ourselves as authorities in the beauty space, people come to us to understand where we see trends going in beauty and that's important to a luxury brand like Urban Decay."

The cosmetic retailer's global content strategy will be powered by e-Spirit's content management system, FirstSpirit, which will allow the various global Urban Decay eCommerce platforms to access the central system and download relevant content to their websites. The retailer is effectively creating a content cloud for managing its brand across the world.

The Urban Decay products are available internationally, sold online or distributed in department stores such as Nordstrom, Macy's and Sephora in the US and Debenhams in the UK. Urban Decay first begun its international expansion to the UK, Europe and parts of Asia in 2013 after it was bought by L'Oréal, but it is about to expand further across the globe both physically and online.

The new content management system will seamlessly plug into Urban Decay's existing eCommerce platform which runs on Demandware. Customers will soon see a new 'UD All Access' tab on the website, which will double the size of the retailer's website.

"Urban Decay has been extremely eCommerce focussed, but [the new CMS] will give us a way to manage content to ensure the heart, soul and DNA of Urban Decay is maintained as we roll out and expand," Perasco tells Essential eCommerce.

But Perasco says the retailer does need to be careful as it expands into different countries. "Some of our shade names can be very provocative and we need to be extremely aware and respectful of how those word choices can be perceived."

All content is created by in the Californian headquarters in Newport Beach. The Mothership, as Perasco affectionately calls it, develops content, how-to make up videos, notes from the founder, press articles and blog posts, but it is then down to the country teams pick and choose what to display to local customers. For instance, the content cloud may contain a blog post on a particular shade of eyeshadow which is not available in the UK, the local team can then choose not to pull down that blog post to keep local customers happy and engaged.

"We don't want countries to go rogue, but certain countries can choose to maintain, localise and adjust timings of content," adds Perasco.

Content is king

"The design of All Access is pretty cool," continues Perasco. "It offers a much more immersive experience and lets people just lose track of time and explore without feeling like they are being screamed at to buy, buy, buy."

Perasco says Urban Decay – which is known for its coveted Naked eyeshadow palettes – needs to continue this type of customer engagement. "There are so many brands out there, it's easy to spend a wide range of prices on a type of makeup. But people come to us for our quality and the sense of fun and danger we provide.

"If we always concentrated on what is selling, we'd miss out on what we stand for," he explains. "The investment in resources and people to tell these stories is absolutely critical and an unshakable part of who we are."

Perasco says the digital team already engages heavily on social media channels – including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat – considering it part of the company's DNA. It also uses a lot of visual media to capture the imagination of their sweet spot customer who is between 18-24 years old.

"The new content management system is just taking what we're already doing and consolidating and enhancing the site," he says. "We're ensuring we're speaking to our customers in the Urban Decay voice and sharing our visions with her – that's more important than the [ROI] dollars."

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