Luxury French swimwear brand uses sponsored ads to launch in EU

The company’s challenge

Vilebrequin is a French luxury apparel brand with a rich history of manufacturing fashionable swimwear and swim accessories for the whole family. The brand was founded in 1971 alongside the beaches of St. Tropez and has since grown into a global entity. Today you can find Vilebrequin products in more than 150 shops that span across 52 countries.

With a focus on international expansion, the brand viewed Amazon as a channel where they had a real opportunity to grow in France. Vilebrequin chose to partner with SEELK, an agency that specializes in Amazon Ads, to help develop a strategy that would increase their visibility and accelerate sales on Amazon France.

quoteUpAmazon is a store that requires skills and tools to be successful. We wanted experts who understand the tricks of the trade on Amazon and were capable of enhancing our brand identity. SEELK combined their software and know-how to build a global approach to our business on Amazon.quoteDown
– Anthony Lesueur, Global Digital Director, Vilebrequin

SEELK created a strategy focused on three areas: simplification of their product catalogue, generating awareness of their brand, and increasing product sales.

The product solution

Vilebrequin offers a wide selection of designs and patterns on their suits, each available in multiple colors and sizes. Originally they were creating a new ASIN for each size, color, and pattern combination, which proved challenging to manage and complicated the customer experience. If a customer wanted a different size or color, they had to go to a separate product detail page to find it.

To resolve this, SEELK focused on merging products together to create variations (known as child ASINs) that lived together on one product detail page. SEELK’s implementation of this new organizing system greatly improved the shopping experience for customers engaging with Vilebrequin’s products on Amazon. Now customers are able to explore different color, design, and size options without being required to navigate from page to page.

The awareness strategy

With Vilebrequin’s newly overhauled Amazon catalog, SEELK shifted their focus to driving greater awareness of the brand’s products with shoppers. To achieve this goal, they leveraged the creative format of Sponsored Brands. By using this ad type, they could showcase multiple products, the brand’s logo, and a custom headline all within a single creative execution. These campaigns allowed them to efficiently introduce a wide audience to Vilebrequin’s brand identity and the variety of their product portfolio. SEELK specifically used these ads to increase awareness around some of the brand’s lesser-known product categories: accessories, ready-to-wear, women’s swimsuits, and children’s swimsuits. They used the headline feature to amplify brand messaging around these less-seen products to drive greater awareness.

SEELK optimized the campaigns based on the awareness goals they’d set before launch that prioritized impressions and engagement. They looked to increase bids on keywords that had low impressions and they doubled down on keywords that had a higher CTR (click-through rate) by increasing bids.

This awareness-driven strategy delivered results for the brand. SEELK’s strategy delivered over 1MM impressions through Sponsored Brands campaigns in 2018.

The sales approach

Awareness was an important goal, but ultimately increasing Amazon sales was the key to justifying Vilebrequin’s investment in the channel. SEELK utilized Sponsored Products campaigns to execute upon this sales goal. To start they created automatic targeting campaigns for all of Vilebrequin’s products.

quoteUpWe launched auto-targeting campaigns to 1) build our first stack of local keywords, and 2) have a better local knowledge in terms of search terms, and shopper preferences (sizes, colours, brands, etc).quoteDown
– Jérôme Homer, SEELK Head of Client Services

After using the downloadable reports from these campaigns, SEELK confirmed which keywords performed best in terms of driving sales. They then added these top keywords into a manual campaign with a higher maximum bid in order to help win a greater amount of these relevant, sales-driving search terms.

This optimization process is consistently evolving. In order to manage campaigns successfully, they analyze performance twice weekly during peak seasons, and weekly during off seasons. This analysis primarily focuses on assessing ACOS (advertising cost of sales) and total sales. For Sponsored Products campaigns, they download the search term report and advertised product reports to see how they can optimize bids for keywords that are driving sales and those that are not. They also dig into what products are being purchased as a result of the campaigns to see if they can gain any insights.

quoteUpWe certainly would continue using sponsored ads. SEELK generated a 20% increase of total sales in just a few months, with very little engagement and effort from us. Sponsored ads is probably the most ROI-oriented lever to generate visibility and sales to customers searching in your product category.quoteDown
– Anthony Lesueur, Global Digital Director, Vilebrequin France

Results and expansion

With SEELK’s new strategy implemented, Vilebrequin had a successful launch on In 2018, the advertising campaigns drove over 3.6MM impressions for Vilebrequin products with just over a 25% ACOS. SEELK was able to drive efficient sales for Vilebrequin while also promoting the brand to millions of Amazon customers in France.

After they successfully launched in France, they decided to expand to other marketplaces. SEELK created a unique locally tailored strategy for each marketplace to best serve each shopping audience. For example, while in France, they spent part of the budget to drive awareness of Vilebrequin’s lesser-known products. But in the UK, they focused on driving sales of some of Vilebrequin’s hero products, like men’s swimsuits. Each required testing and keywords needed to be adjusted to accommodate the nuances of the local language.

Automatic targeting campaigns proved helpful in determining the best keywords for each marketplace and provided the basis for initial optimizations. The strategy initially deployed in France continued to yield success when applied in the UK, where they generated over 10MM impressions with just over 25% ACOS.

When asked, Vilebrequin confirmed they will continue to use sponsored ads as a part of their digital advertising investment strategy in 2019 across multiple NA/EU marketplaces.

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