November 25, 2002, 12:00 AM

Specialty/Apparel and Accessories: An ensemble of approaches

(Page 3 of 4)

Bulebar says HannaAnder-sson.com kept its pages simple to avoid long downloads for customers without broadband Internet access. At the same time, it has also found ways to make shopping easier, he adds. For example, it recently launched a Baby Gift Ideas section that groups products with a package price. “That makes it easy for the customer to pick out a great gift without having to go through the site and put together a coordinated package themselves,” Bulebar says. Grandma Hanna wouldn’t have it any other way.

HannaAndersson.com

Date
1998
Unique Visitors
150,000/mo.
Sales
$27 million/yr.
Design By
in-house
Site Search
none
CRM
in-house
Affiliate Management
none
Fulfillment
in-house
Order Management
in-house
Returns Liquidation
in-house
Web Analytics
Coremetrics Inc.
Payment Processor
Paymentech L.P.
Content Management
in-house
E-mail Management
in-house

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J.Crew
Crazy about casual at J.Crew

Although J. Crew Inc. specializes in merchandising comfortable clothes, there’s nothing casual about the way it has been growing its online business.

In its current fiscal year, the company expects sales at JCrew.com to surpass catalog sales for the first time, says David Towers, vice president of electronic commerce operations. “People are very comfortable with our web site,” he says, sounding as if he were selling a pair of chinos and matching sweater instead of promoting his online strategy.

Towers notes that online sales for the 12 months that will end Feb. 28, 2003, are projected to hit $130 million to $140 million, surpassing expected catalog sales of $125 million to $130 million. If online sales reach $140 million, the increase over the prior year’s online sales will be 12%, up from $123 million.

But J. Crew doesn’t take for granted the hike in online sales. After building most of its site’s technology between 1999 and 2001, it concentrated in the past year on improving its merchandising strategy to build relationships with the more than 100,000 unique visitors to its site each day.

“The strongest thing we’ve found is showing a lot of images of our products, placing our catalog images throughout the site,” Towers says. By extending catalog imagery to the site, including extensive photographs of models in settings that show multiple products and categories, JCrew.com is more effective at cross-selling from its broad selections of apparel and accessories, he adds. “We’re really trying to assist the customer in making decisions,” Towers says.

The company is also working on a new web site personalization program. “We’re moving forward with personalization so we can make one-to-one recommendations,” Towers says.

J. Crew still does most of its overall sales in stores, which accounted for 60% of fiscal 2002 sales, or $398 million out of a total of $656 million. But its sharpest growth has been online, where sales have increased more than five times since 1998 from $22 million.

To keep sales growing in all channels, the company has stepped up e-mail marketing campaigns and run ads on Yahoo.com. “Their web site has been very effective for J. Crew, but they have to realize, and I think they do, that the catalog is still the primary driver of sales to the web,” says Ken Cassar, senior analyst with Jupiter Research Inc. For the near future, J. Crew is looking into improving how it monitors, analyzes and leverages information on customer behavior across all channels. “We want to drive people to the channel that works best for them,” Towers says.

JCrew.com

Date
1996
Unique Visitors
949,914/mo.*
Sales
$130 million/yr.
Design By
in-house
Site Search
Oracle Corp.’s Intermedia
CRM
Art Technology Group Inc.
Affiliate Management
LinkShare Corp.
Fulfillment
EDS Corp.
Order Management
Art Technology Group Inc.
Returns Liquidation
in-house
Web Analytics
in-house
Payment Processor
Paymentech L.P.
Content Management
Akamai Technologies Inc.,
in-house
E-mail Management
Kana Software Inc.
*As reported by comScore Networks Inc.

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Lands’ End
On top and still climbing

The recognized leader in online retail innovation, Lands’ End needed no further acknowledgement of its web-merchandising prowess. But then Sears called.

Now the famed online merchandiser’s new parent, Sears, Roebuck and Co., has put Lands’ End CEO David F. Dyer in charge of all online and catalog operations, reporting directly to Sears CEO Alan J. Lacy. “That recognition of Lands’ End’s leadership shows what the web can do with good merchandising and product marketing,” says Chris Merritt, principal at Kurt Salmon Associates.

Still, the news of the acquisition was taken with a mixture of hurrahs and gasps. Among those expressing the latter is former Lands’ End vice chairman Bill Ferry, now a consultant to start-up e-retailers. “I’m afraid Sears could put a monkey wrench into Lands’ End,” he says. “The strength of the Lands’ End brand is in quality, value, service and innovation, and that’s at risk in the current environment.”

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