L’Atelier Paris Haute Design, LLC designs, manufactures, and sells custom, high-end French ranges, cabinets, appliances, and entire kitchens.
With showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Paris, their products are custom designed and hand made in France, combining exquisite design with exceptional craftsmanship, exclusive materials, rich finishes, and ultra high-end quality.
Since appreciation of the finer things in life extends well beyond the physical reach of their four showrooms, L’Atelier decided to take to the internet to reach this untapped market. This presented some unique challenges. Since the products on offer are custom built by hand to exacting specifications, they are also highly customizable, offering virtually unlimited options in terms of size, configuration, colors, finishes, and more. And, of course, their customers expected an immersive, intuitive experience combining powerful configuration, real-time pricing, and the ability to see their dream kitchen come to life online as they design it.
Making all this work required creating a digital user experience offering powerful product design and configuration that combined the millimeter-exact precision and detail of a CAD tool with the ease-of use, high-resolution imagery, and responsiveness of a consumer application. Add to that the need for a powerful pricing engine that could capture every change made and recalculate the product price in real-time. To do so requires enforcing certain compatibility constraints via a flexible rules engine to ensure that what the customer designed could be built and would prove practical and safe in the real world.
This was a tall order indeed. Finding a digital solutions partner able to combine L'Atelier's luxurious design and aesthetics with intuitive user experience design and the engineering muscle needed to bring it to life seemed like an insurmountable challenge.
Luckily, after a few false starts with agencies and a failed attempt with another configurator vendor, L’Atelier Paris found Salsita Software, a unique solutions provider that brings all of these skills together under one roof.
When Ricardo Moraes, CEO of L’Atelier Paris, first spoke with me, Salsita’s Chief Strategy Officer, Dan Backhaus, his frustration was apparent. His current configurator vendor had led him to believe they could handle the complexity of the project, including the fully-customizable nature of the components down to a single millimeter, only to discover later that they were in over their heads. This wasted valuable time - and considerable budget and effort - only to result in a disappointing outcome that failed to measure up.
I immediately recognized that this project would be a great fit for the recently launched Salsita Configurator Framework and the Salsita team. With a decade-long history of developing business-critical digital solutions, an engineering team second to none, and a strategic focus on UX design and eCommerce, Salsita was well-equipped to tackle the L'Atelier project.
Having been burnt before by heady promises, Ricardo was a bit nervous about bringing on board a new vendor. Not to mention writing off the sunk cost of his initial attempt. But, after a series of online meetings with the Salsita team, he decided to give it a try.
I’ve never experienced the delivery team living up to the sales team’s hype, but in Salsita’s case, they actually exceeded it. - Ricardo Moraes, L’Atelier Paris
As is our standard practice, Salsita kicked things off with a one-week Design Sprint. During this fast-paced week, the multi-disciplinary team (consisting of product management, digital strategy, UX design, and engineering) went to work dissecting and understanding L’Atelier’s brand, their product offering, customer journeys, functional requirements, competitive landscape, and more.
The outputs and deliverables from this work, which included competitive benchmarking, a robust project plan for implementation, concept sketches, design explorations, and an initial prototype guided the subsequent 6-week development plan.
Leveraging Salsita’s Configurator Framework as a powerful foundation, the engineering team, in conjunction with our UX and design professionals, then went to work bringing the vision of L’Atelier to life. Applying agile practices, our team started work on the La Provençal product line during Phase I. La Provençal is L’Atelier's consumer-focused offering, while La Grande Cuisine Professionelle targets professional chefs.
The La Provençal line is offered in three distinct styles, known as Le Classique, Le Transitionnel, and the Le Contemporain. Each of these styles can be adorned with the classically French fleur-de-lis.
Once a customer has selected their style, they can select a basic size to start with. Since all L’Atelier ranges are fully configurable and can be built to any width desired, these basic sizes are merely a convenient starting point. Next, the customer can select which elements they would like to have under the counter, where options include ovens, warming cabinets, or custom-sizable cabinets with either drawers or doors. You can view the process steps in this video.
After that, the customer selects the cooking elements for the top of the range. With a dozen options to choose from - which include ultra high-efficiency burners, built-in multi-cooker, various griddles, a BBQ grill, and even a coup de feu or built-in bain-marie - you can truly create your unique dream kitchen.
Once you’ve built your perfect range, you can select from three distinct styles of hood, or choose to forgo an exhaust hood altogether.
Finally, once your perfect range and hood options have been selected, sized, and configured, you can choose from hundreds of different color options and customize it further with ten different high-end trim options ranging from burnished brass to polished copper to give it that personalised finishing touch.
Throughout this process users see their selections brought to life with stunning high-resolution 3D imagery affording a view from various angles and the ability to zoom in and out to examine elements and get a detailed view of various colors and finishes. Thanks to the powerful pricing engine provided by the Salsita Configurator Framework, customers also see every configuration change reflected in the total cost of their dream range in real time. The experience is as close to real-world as possible. In some ways it is even better, since changes can be made on the fly, information on each option is just a click away, and it all takes place at a time and place of the customer's choosing, using any laptop or smartphone, without requiring a download or app. And at any time, customers can choose to share their configuration with their spouse, partner, friends, or via social media.
Once customers have concluded the configuration, they can download a detailed PDF with all of their options selected, complete with a breakdown of components, high-resolution images, and the price quote. This document - which also includes a link to access the configuration online to make further changes - can also be shared via email.
By giving customers the option to configure and price their dream kitchen online, L’Atelier Paris is able to reach prospective customers and kitchen designers for whom a trip to one of their four showroom locations just isn’t practical. Or, they can choose to preconfigure and explore options collaboratively with their friends and family (or clients in the case of a kitchen design professional) before visiting a showroom to experience the unique design and quality offered by the brand in real life.
L’Atelier Paris now has a powerful and engaging way to show customers that all of their products are fully customizable and built-to-order. This was more difficult to communicate in the past, without a well-designed tool to spur the customers’ imagination and channel their creative energy.
Moreover, once a customer has designed their very own perfect kitchen, they often want to show it to friends and share it online, using social channels. The new configurator solution makes this easy to do, which drives word-of-mouth, unequivocally the most powerful channel for referral business.
This level of convenience, coupled with a powerful and uniquely immersive experience, is what today’s high-end consumer expects from ultra-premium brands.
By offering a powerful, engaging 3D configurator on their website, L’Atelier Paris is able to greatly expand the reach of their brand and offer their customizable products to anyone, anywhere, and on virtually any device.
The reaction to the new configurator has been universally positive, from prospective customers, kitchen designers, as well as the team at L'Atelier, whose sales staff regularly use it as a sales tool.
Since the initial launch in late July of 2021, L’Atelier Paris Haute Design has seen the engagement rate on their website increase dramatically as hundreds of prospective clients have accessed it to configure their dream kitchen. Giving customers the ability to design their dream products uniquely tailored to their needs also provides a powerful competitive advantage that drives sales. Research shows that this leads to higher conversion rates and increases average transaction size.
In the fall of 2021 L’Atelier will launch a PR campaign to help get the word out to both affluent consumers directly as well as connecting with the design professionals who serve this market. This will be accompanied by a media and advertising campaign to drive even more interest in the brand and get more consumers to engage with this impressively powerful yet intuitive and engaging product configuration tool.
Upon successful launch of Phase I, Salsita conducted a series of user testing sessions. As a UX-centric solutions company, this is something that is part of our standard process for all projects. We then used this user feedback to further refine and tweak the configurator experience with incremental improvements and enhancements, a continuous data-driven process that is ongoing.
The team at Salsita continues to work with L’Atelier and great things are planned for subsequent phases, not only to continuously refine and optimize the current experience but also to expand its scope to include further products. Stay tuned for future updates and announcements.