Will mobile move the needle for J. Crew – this holiday and beyond?
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday spike lifted struggling shopping malls as much as other retailers. Both online and mobile spending were up as well. As we continue on toward Christmas, a once popular mall apparel brand hopes to succeed during the holidays and beyond by doubling down on digital.
J.Crew, as it continues to shutter brick-and-mortar stores, is expanding its mobile and online offerings, according to Ad Age. The company, which is slated to close 50 locations by the year’s end, has been working with Google since the summer to accelerate its mobile page speeds and integrate auto-populating shipping fields.
While such changes may seem like getting up to speed with what’s considered table stakes in today’s omnichannel retail environment, for J.Crew they represent the beginnings of an aggressive move into a more frictionless mobile and online customer experience under the company’s new CMO, Vanessa Holden. Ms. Holden has been in the role since July.
While it remains to be seen what the final face of a mobile overhaul will look like for J.Crew, some mall retailers have been quite radical in their attempts to stay alive online in the face of dwindling foot traffic. For instance, the 170-store Bebe earlier this year announced it was closing all of its physical locations and becoming a pure-play online retailer.
J.Crew has perhaps had a tougher time than the average mall retailer in recent years. The company currently struggles under a $2.1 billion debt load, according to Reuters.
In fact, former J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler sought out Amazon for the purpose of trying to secure a buyout by the company, according to Business Insider. The brand also turned down a deal with Japanese fast fashion retailer Uniqlo in 2014.
Whether technology, branding or some combination can help the chain remains to be seen.
J.Crew is also working on improving its social strategy with a new holiday initiative, according to Ad Age. The campaign, called #CastMeJCrew, invites customers to post photographs of themselves wearing J.Crew gear to compete for a chance at being cast in a future J.Crew photo shoot.
- Under New CMO, J. Crew Lays Into Digital, Social as More Stores Close – Ad Age
- Will struggling retailers find new lives as pure-play e-tailers? – RetailWire
- U.S. fashion retailer J. Crew launches debt restructuring deal – Reuters
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What sort of steps will J.Crew need to take with its mobile and online efforts to turn the brand around? How should similar brands work to balance their physical store and online presence?