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Resource Type: Case Studies

Delivering International DTC Expansion: THG Ingenuity x ELEMIS

ELEMIS partnered with THG Ingenuity in 2020 to expand its DTC operations to new markets, launching 16 new sites across Europe and APAC in just 10 months. Find out how the skincare brand did it in our case study.


months to deliver a 5-year expansion plan


sites launched across the world


new customers in EU markets since launch

May 24, 2022

“A game changer in speed and cost efficiency to market; service to end customers, and delivering the dream of in a box globally, profitably and successfully.”

– Sean Harrington, co-founder and CEO at ELEMIS and executive director at L’Occitane International S.A.

Why was DTC on the rise in the market?

DTC had been explored extensively by brands in the lead up to 2020, but two key recent changes have driven a fundamental shift in the suitability of DTC for many:

1. Consumer demand has skyrocketed

This has had a material impact on order level DTC economics – customers are easier to acquire via DTC than they were pre-pandemic and they are more likely to continue buying from that channel over time.

This unlocks DTC for brands that would previously have to pay hefty sums to acquire customers who spent too little. 

2. Entry barriers have diminished, thanks to the advent of ecommerce models like the one offered by THG Ingenuity.

This platform integrates a comprehensive end-to-end ecommerce system, offering a fully managed service encompassing technology, fulfillment, trading, marketing and customer services.

This substantially reduces the obstacles for brands contemplating direct-to-consumer (DTC) approaches, providing a swift and efficient avenue for scalable entry.

ELEMIS, with a robust and successful DTC strategy, demonstrated high-performance operations in its primary markets – the US and the UK. Recognizing an opportunity for rapid expansion into markets with lower existing penetration, ELEMIS aimed to accelerate the rollout of its DTC channel.

A woman holding an ELEMIS skincare product

How ELEMIS embraced and executed a DTC strategy

Since the start of their partnership in 2020, THG Ingenuity and ELEMIS have collaboratively devised a strategic roadmap for the global expansion of the brand's direct-to-consumer (DTC) presence.

Commencing with the pilot launch of the first ELEMIS site in Germany in May 2020, the partnership leveraged insights gained to swiftly roll out an additional 15 sites across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

This rapid expansion condensed ELEMIS's initial five-year digital strategy into a timeframe of just 10 months.

THG Ingenuity and ELEMIS worked hand in hand, utilizing THG Ingenuity's end-to-end infrastructure, which encompasses elements ranging from the proprietary platform to fulfillment via THG Ingenuity's distribution centers and warehouse management system The collaboration also included fully managed trading and marketing services.

This collaborative effort empowered ELEMIS to establish a strong foothold in international markets, tapping into THG Ingenuity's extensive expertise in developing, managing, and trading beauty sites—all achieved without substantial upfront investments in digital solutions.

“It’s been an incredible learning curve, and fascinating to be involved in the process".

– ELEMIS' Global President and Co-Founder, Noella Gabriel

May 2020


August 2020

France & Italy

September 2020

Spain, Netherlands, Hong Hong, Taiwan, Singapore

October 2020

Belgium, Poland, Thailand, Malaysia

November 2020

South Korea

February 2021

Japan & Switzerland

March 2021


Using DTC to drive tangible customer insight

THG Ingenuity's approach to trading, marketing and UX has positioned the partnership to begin driving data collection in these new markets, generating customer records and learnings from an operational perspective. The speed to market with which the partnership was able to deliver, enabled ELEMIS to move from strategizing to analyzing real world data in under a year. 

Two areas were particularly valuable in delivering insight:

Customer acquisition and data
In addition to generating more than 132,000 new customer records in EU markets since launch, THG IQ – the platform’s customer insight and data solution – has been used to provide insights into ELEMIS’ consumers in new markets and the way they behave.

Operational learnings
The pace of expansion has uncovered learnings for ELEMIS in new markets, with trading levers, marketing campaigns and even fulfilment models iterated and tested continuously. The adaptability and appetite for growth on both sides of the partnership has enabled rapid optimization of the model, with decision-making driven by the data obtained.

Looking ahead

As the partnership continues to develop, there is huge potential for the DTC sites to bring value to other channels by acting as a real time barometer of customer behaviour through further integration of DTC-based insights into the broader ELEMIS business.

As THG Ingenuity's global operations continue to evolve, the capacity to delight customers across the globe will increase and DTC will play an even more important role in ELEMIS’ global growth.

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