Founded in 1925, French cookware brand Le Creuset is best known for its colourful cast iron pots and pans. Its products have long been a staple in middle class homes, but over the past few years, they have also become popular with a whole new generation of cooks. A recent piece in The Atlantic noted the brand’s growing appeal among design-conscious millennials who liked to spend their weekends watching food documentaries, cooking and sharing their culinary creations on Instagram. According to writer Amanda Mullen, Le Creuset’s products – along with Kitchen Aid’s pastel mixers – have become “small markers of stability and sophistication, coveted by young people for whom traditional indicators of both often remain out of reach.”
Now, Le Creuset fans can satisfy their desire for Insta-worthy kitchenware and cooking inspiration through a colourful new website designed by R/GA. The new site offers a more engaging online experience, with colourful photography and carousels displaying popular items, as well as a gift finder option that allows people to shop by colour or collection. A discover section features a range of recipes – from one pots to quiches and barbecue mains – along with content about the brand’s heritage and production process.
The website forms part of a wider project to transform Le Creuset’s direct-to-consumer business. “When they came to us, they asked about not just doing an online commerce revamp, but also thinking beyond that, and helping them revamp the whole direct to consumer proposition,” explains Ilia Uvarov, ECD at R/GA in London.
While Le Creuset already had a functioning e-commerce platform, its online presence varied from region to region, so R/GA set out to create a more unified experience that would bring the brand’s values and story to life – and give people a reason to engage with Le Creuset in between purchases.
The team also set out to inject more emotion into Le Creuset’s digital communications and create a platform that could be used to tell a wider range of stories. From speaking with consumers, R/GA discovered that people felt a deep attachment to their Le Creusets, associating them with major life events – such as moving home or getting married – and get-togethers with family and friends. Some had used the same products for decades, while others had inherited Le Creusets from their parents and grandparents. “When we looked at the digital experience, it lacked [that emotion], it was very transactional, so for us, the objective was clear – we had to bring this more emotional side to life,” adds Uvarov.
With this in mind, R/GA and Le Creuset decided to build a platform that combined shopping with editorial content and lifestyle tips, tapping into people’s emotional connection with food and cooking and turning the website into more than just a place to shop. “We were looking at creating I guess not just a best-in-class experience where you can buy a product, but something that goes beyond the immediate purchase into how we can help people use it, and inspire them on a daily basis, and even further on, in reaching out into lifestyle. The ambition was [to touch] those three pillars – how we can help people buy, use and live.”
The new website has a simple but playful design, with bold pops of colour and aerial shots of products alongside mouth-watering images of food. Colour is a core part of Le Creuset’s appeal – with its products coming in a wide range of shades – and this is reflected throughout the site.
“Le Creuset has a unique approach to colour … so we had to celebrate that,” explains Uvarov. “Our designers spent a lot of time thinking about how we can use complimentary and contrasting combinations of colours [to showcase products], and how we could make [colour] more present throughout.”
The team was also keen to create a “tactile” experience that would show off the design details and unique features of Le Creuset products. To complement the website’s vibrant look and feel, R/GA worked with Le Creuset’s marketing team to devise a new, more playful tone of voice: “We felt that there was potential to speak with more confidence, and be a bit more expressive and playful,” adds Uvarov.
Along with creating a richer experience, the website aims to help make it easier to navigate Le Creuset’s vast range of products. Items are grouped into clear categories and carousels allow consumers to browse ranges at a glance. Individual product pages also provide clear information on sizing – helping consumers to choose the right product for their household – along with tips on using and caring for that item.
While the website puts products front and centre, Uvarov says the aim of the project was to provide “a whole lifestyle service”. The website was built with the aim of not just helping people shop, but also helping them become better cooks. “We tried to apply this to every element of the experience,” he adds.
The website is the first step in Le Creuset’s plans to modernise and grow its direct-to-consumer business. Along with helping the brand reinvent its digital platforms, R/GA has been working with Le Creuset to rethink how its business works – “how they can market and be structured better, and optimise for the future, and do more things internally and bring in the right talent”, says Uvarov. The website, he says, has provided the foundations for Le Creuset “to create new relationships with their customers”, something the brand hopes to build on in future.
Le Creuset isn’t unique in providing recipes or cooking tips within its ecommerce platform – but with its new design and a focus on creating helpful content, the brand has created a more distinctive online experience, and a useful resource for Le Creuset fans, young and old.