Case study . Ecommerce & Retail


Afibel builds up its composable platform and delivers better UX with TwicPics


In collaboration with

Revenue in 2021
55+ year-old women
Senior Fashion

About Afibel

Afibel, a subsidiary of Damartex, is a French company specializing in providing comfortable and elegant clothing for women over 55 years old.

It all began in 1954 with the creation of the Afibel brand, which sells "plus size" clothing purchased from suppliers in sizes 46 to 62 to large department stores. In the 1960s, the founder, Mr. Delaby, opened the first sewing workshop in Hirson. This was the beginning of black-and-white catalogs. Due to its success, he opened another workshop in Valognes in the Manche region and started Mail Order Sales, which was a huge success. The manufacturing workshop then dedicated itself 100% to the Afibel brand. Afibel distinguishes itself through the quality of its materials, attention to detail, and commitment to customer satisfaction. With over 60 years of experience in the fashion industry, Afibel has become a trusted brand for senior women looking for suitable and modern clothing.

Because many women do not fit into the aesthetic "standards" constructed on values of performance and youth, they are often underrepresented in the world of fashion and consumption in general.

Afibel is a contraction of “affine et rend belle” in French which means “affine and makes beautiful"! However, the real female audience is diverse, far from idealized representations: in France, 41% of women are over 55 years old, 58% wear size 42 or larger, 20,000 women undergo surgery following breast cancer each year, sometimes resulting in reduced arm mobility. More and more women aspire to clothing that enhances and beautifies them, without discrimination or judgment.

The challenge

Ensuring a sustainable digital transformation plan

Digital transformation is a significant challenge for companies that must face declining revenues. They must technically seek optimizations to continue to exist. For the past two years, Afibel has focused on its e-Commerce site as all other fashion players are gaining online skills, making platform evolution a strategic priority for the brand.

Since the end of the health crisis, the company has implemented a global transformation plan that ranges from improving the customer experience to repositioning the brand, including optimizing IT. Unfortunately, La Maison du Jersey and Dellaby brands did not survive the crisis, so the group refocused on its flagship brands, including Afibel and Damart.

By maintaining a robust, faultless architecture and ensuring operational excellence of the web platform, Afibel's IT department plays a central role in implementing the brand's strategic transformation plan. It is responsible for the evolution of the e-Commerce site and must find technical solutions to meet business challenges.

For example, the homepage of the website is at the heart of the IT department's concerns. Critical in the purchasing process, it also serves as a showcase for the brand. In the case of a poor navigation experience, the perception of the brand image is deteriorated, and users leave the site. Unfortunately, the teams responsible for contributing to this page are not always aware of web constraints. Images of several megabytes broadcast online caused significant performance issues.

The TwicPics solution

A composable approach for hyper-personalization

Six years ago, when the Afibel e-commerce site was launched, it relied on a monolithic architecture using Magento 2. Although this solution initially brought many advantages, the IT team quickly realized that Magento only offered basic tools that did not meet their specific needs. For the past three years, the IT team has been searching for the best solutions on the market and has been gradually breaking down the platform by replacing Magento tools with specialized bricks, adopting a cutting-edge composable approach, and going "headless" without even realizing it at the beginning of the project.

A concrete example of this evolution is the Magento mailing tool, which was replaced by a specialized one, allowing the business team to manage mailing campaigns more easily and autonomously to achieve better deliverability rates without the need for developer intervention.

Web performance issues were addressed with the integration of TwicPics. Media optimization is now automated on all devices, including mobile and tablets, from which the majority of the brand's traffic comes. This has notably helped to remedy loading latency on the homepage. In real-time, the solution resizes and compresses visuals uploaded to the website, which are often poorly formatted for the web.

Search and e-merchandising tools have also been added to improve the user experience and accelerate time-to-market.

Thanks to these new bricks, the marketing team no longer requires IT intervention to perform actions or modifications on specific topics such as SMS & email campaigns, search & e-merchandising, and homepage & static pages of the site. Team members gain independence as the platform gains agility.

The new e-commerce site, launched in England, is fully headless: a multitude of APIs allow for the connection of different specialized components. The back office is also fully API-enabled. This approach allows the IT team to quickly respond to demands and continually improve the brand's online services.

This new architecture is reinforced with high-value APIs, such as the one that allows real-time stock availability on the product page in a multichannel environment (with still many paper and phone orders).

The upload process is optimized from the PIM and DAM and can be decoupled from the roadmap of paper catalog submission dates with the new web repository. A new product publication now takes only a few minutes, compared to several hours before.

The Octipas solution will allow them to be more efficient in e-merchandising.

The results

A constantly evolving user experience

Our composable architecture allows us to personalize the user experience to the extreme. The integration of TwicPics is part of this strategy and we have already planned multiple projects until the end of 2023, especially the integration of videos on our product pages!

Frédéric Vast
Afibel CTO

The transition to composable architecture at Afibel is natural and gradual. Each brick is replaced gradually, always prioritizing two essential points for the brand: improving customer service and increasing revenue.

In this logic, there has always been a question of significantly enriching the content of the website while maintaining acceptable performance. Indeed, both the business and technical teams are aware that the longer the loading time, the fewer conversions there are. TwicPics allows customers to navigate their site smoothly and quickly.

Following a study conducted by the observatory of seniors, which allows for a better understanding of their needs and adapting the offer accordingly, the decision was made to integrate short videos of clothes being worn on the product pages. This integration is made possible thanks to TwicPics, which also optimizes videos to avoid impacting the page's display speed too much.

Each morphology is different and changes with age. For Afibel's target audience, people over 55 years old, it is important to be able to show the dress in motion. Afibel's teams have also taken into account the needs of people living in rural areas, who may not always have access to nearby fitting rooms, or who may not have spacious and comfortable ones for their senior clientele. Thanks to videos online and Afibel's teleconsultants' advice, customers have a better experience than in-store.

The product videos will be released when the new collection launches in July 2023!

To improve the online experience, the IT department is always proposing new tools to the business teams. Thanks to the composable architecture, they are able to add tools to the technical stack to anticipate business needs. For example, adding a "Total Look" product recommendation system that offers their customers a more enjoyable shopping experience.

In conclusion, Afibel's teams hope to increase their results and recruit younger seniors thanks to:

  • A hyper-personalization of their offer.
  • A highly-performing website despite rich functionalities and content.
  • A memorable online experience with a polished UX.
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