Friday, July 25, 2014

Seek & Find: Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopping by a J.Crew store this weekend to see what's available (if anything!) in the SALE, or to see some NEW ARRIVALS {sigh!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

P.S. I noticed that many of you have already been reporting sale items (and in which stores) in other posts which by the way "thank you!" :) I really appreciate how helpful we are for each other!

Extra 40% Off Madewell's Sale Styles!

"Thanks!" to many of you, including R (in this post), who let us know about the following promotion.

Madewell is offering customers to take an extra 40% off all Sale items with promo code ENDLESS. The offer expires July 28, 2014. The fine print includes:
*Offer valid on purchases of sale items at from July 24, 2014, 12:01am ET through July 28, 2014, 11:59pm ET. Offer not valid in stores or on phone orders. Offer cannot be applied to previous purchases or the purchase of gift cards and cannot be redeemed for cash or used in combination with any other offer. To redeem, enter code ENDLESS in the promo code box at checkout. Limit one promotional code per order. Terms of offer are subject to change.
I love love love this promotion! Madewell has a lot of great items both on sale and on promotion (like the amazing Outbound Jacket for $79.50 before discount applied!) right now too.

Will you be taking advantage of this promotion at Madewell? What Madewell item are you hoping to pick up? Please share!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

JCA "Help Style Me!" Weekly Post

This is the weekly "Help Style Me!" post, where we can share items we are having trouble putting outfits together with. Elaine (in this post) says it best, "You know, that thing you bought because you love it and you keep pulling it out and then putting it away without wearing it?"

Please share your J.Crew item (either that you own or are thinking about getting) that you would love help creating an outfit with.

Also, please help out by offering your styling advice. Feel free to include links to your blog (where you incorporated that piece) or to Polyvore (where you showcased an outfit with that piece). Thanks in advance! :)

J.Crew's Media Approach {thoughts?}

"Thanks!" to GigisGoneShopping who shared a post over at Track Maven (click here to read in its entirety). It chronicles J.Crew's use of social media.
J.Crew’s Data-Driven Approach To Fashion (And Marketing)

...Every trend and every seasonal success can be tracked, measured, and even proactively predicted by those who treat every customer interaction as part of a larger data opportunity. ...

As of late, J.Crew has served as a standout example at the intersection of being fashion forward as well as analytically proactive. J.Crew’s CEO, Millard “Mickey” Drexler, has been at the forefront of this transition. As chronicled in The Business of Fashion, Drexler’s data-driven approach to fashion borders on infamous.

This data-driven approach to fashion has remained a mainstay of Drexler’s approach, a point the At Work With Mickey Drexler authors describe beautifully:

“A big part of what makes J.Crew the most compelling American retail — and dare we say it,  fashion — success story of the past 10 years is Drexler’s uncanny ability to pick up on market trends and patterns incredibly quickly, consult data to back up his observations, then bring those trends to the masses. It’s perhaps the core reason he was able to transform a once-promising, long-struggling catalogue business into a powerful arbiter of taste.”

Under the stewardship of Mickey Drexler, digital marketing has grown to become an integral part of J.Crew’s overall strategy. According to J. Crew’s annual S.E.C. filing, which was made available online earlier this year, J.Crew’s marketing and advertising strategy is summarized as follows:

“We communicate our brand message to customers through all channels, including our websites, our catalogs, email marketing, online advertising, and our social media presence. Our core marketing objectives are structured to drive awareness and differentiation of our brands, increase new customer acquisition, maintain and build customer retention and loyalty, and build brand awareness internationally."

Digital marketing and social media have played an important part of our strategy in our recent history and are among our most effective marketing tools. We have found that J.Crew customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (facebook, twitter, Pinterest or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer. Facebook is the current leading player in terms of size and time spent on site, but there are significant growth opportunities in our new visual platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram.”

Yes, you read that right: “J.Crew customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer” (emphasis added). By driving meaningful engagement across a variety of social media channels, J.Crew’s data-driven marketing has succeeded in cultivating an online audience that spends twice as much as the average customer.

What’s more impressive about this statistic is that it stands in stark comparison to the description of J.Crew’s marketing and advertising efforts in their 2013 filling, which focused largely on their print catalog, with barely a whisper of digital marketing:

The J.Crew catalog is the primary branding and advertising vehicle for the J.Crew brand. We believe our catalog reinforces the J.Crew mission and brand image, while driving sales in all of our channels. We believe we have distinguished ourselves from other catalog retailers by utilizing high quality photography and art direction. We have also expanded our marketing strategy to include online, print and outdoor advertising.”

So how does J.Crew plan to continue to develop and leverage this connection between digital marketing and customer spend? In their report, J.Crew explained its strategy for competitive positioning as follows:

We believe our success depends in substantial part on our ability to originate and define product and fashion trends as well as to timely anticipate, gauge and react to changing consumer demands. Some of our competitors are larger and may have greater financial, marketing, and other resources than us. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully with them in the future.”

When it comes to competitive positioning, J.Crew is right to identify Pinterest and Instagram as “significant growth opportunities.” According to a study from Vision Critical featured in the Harvard Business Review, 21% of the Pinterest users reported buying an item in-store after “pinning, repinning, or liking it.” The percentage was even higher among Pinterest users under the age of 35, with 36% reporting doing so.

But as J.Crew noted in their filing, Pinterest is just one of many social channels they are employing to build an engaged fan based. To take a look at the content strategies driving J.Crew’s newfound success on social media, we analyzed J.Crew using our marketing analytics platform.

...Facebook is by far the most dominant social channel for J.Crew. With 1.2 million Facebook fans and counting, J.Crew has found success on the network with content that serves as a digital counterpart to their print catalog (which is referred to not as catalog, but as a style guide). Over the past year, the vast majority of J.Crew’s Facebook posts with the most social interactions featured a styled photo with short, relatable copy, and most importantly, a link to where you can buy the featured items on their website.

...With 480,000 followers and counting, J.Crew’s Instagram account is their second most popular social channel. Unlike the catalog-esque content on Facebook, J.Crew approaches content creation on this more image-focused network as an opportunity to cultivate a J.Crew culture. Notice that among their most engaging posts from the past year, few are peppered with links to the online store. Rather, the images are supported with branded hashtags — and a few links to the J.Crew blog.

...J.Crew has amassed nearly 143,000 Pinterest followers to date. Comparable to their strategy on Instagram, J.Crew’s most popular Pinterest pins speak to a larger J.Crew-related lifestyle. Five of the top ten most re-pinned, liked, and commented on pins featured travel images from exotic locales. ...
I thought this was a really interesting article about how J.Crew utilizes social media. Although the article fails to mention that J.Crew was late to board the social media bus. Remember when J.Crew's Twitter account was silent for the longest time? Remember how long it took for them to get a blog?

I also want to comment on the following quote:
"J.Crew customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer”. Is this based on J.Crew's social media expertise -or- the more likely scenario that customers who engage in their social media outlets are the biggest fans of J.Crew? (I love J.Crew so I seek them out, but I don't do that with other brands that I just "like". Even if they have a great social media presence.)

Lastly, I hope J.Crew does not give up on its catalogs. I remember getting all excited about the catalogs (especially destination ones!) and tagging each page. I don't do that much now. J.Crew needs to make those catalogs feel special again. (I still get excited when I get the Pottery Barn catalog. The formula is pretty much the same and it works on me!)

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you feel like J.Crew has harnessed the power of social media? Do you think there are areas it does really well or really poorly with?

"Looking to LOVE" with J.Crew

This is the weekly "Looking to LOVE with J.Crew" post, a place to share our favorite experiences with J.Crew.

If you have recently experienced a positive situation with J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including stellar experiences with purchases & orders, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

J.Crew Factory Exclusive Early Access: Shop new arrivals before everyone else

"Thanks!" to many of you, who shared the following news/email from J.Crew Factory with us.

J.Crew Factory is offering a sneak peek at the latest arrivals with prices up to 30% off! They are also throwing in free shipping (no min!). Both these offers are just for today! So check your email to see if you got the invite and code.

The Excursion Vests are back at Factory! Now is the time to stock up on these items, because they sell out fast!

Lots of cute items that are taken straight from regular J.Crew a season or two ago, like the Factory Long-Sleeve Jeweled Necklace Tee. Plus, Factory re-issued some of their Factory offerings, like the Factory Colorblock Elbow-Patch Sweater.

J.Crew Factory is also using promo code SHOPMORE to get an extra 20% off purchases of $100+. Yey! This offer expires July 27, 2014.

Have you received this email? Will you be taking advantage of this promotion? Any items you are interested in? If so, please share!

J.Crew Updates Website with New Arrivals!

"Thanks!" to many of you, including GigisGoneShopping (in this post), who let us know that J.Crew had an update to its website (click here to view online).

There are some new arrivals for men (click here) & women (click here). {wahoo!} It looks like Crewcuts (click here) has been updated, as did the J.Crew Collection (click here).

The July catalog (click here to view) is still up. However, the latest AUGUST catalog is not. As mentioned by several JCAs, J.Crew posted several images of the newest catalog over at Pinterest (click here to view).

Even better! J.Crew is offering free shipping on all orders (today only!), in addition to the extra 40-50% off final sale styles using promo code TREAT. The latter offer expires August 3, 2014.

What items are you most excited about and why? Which items are you surprised (or not surprised) to see? Which items did you hope would be included? Were you expecting a bigger roll-out? Also, did you receive the latest catalog? :)

"Looking to VENT" with J.Crew

This is the weekly "Looking to VENT with J.Crew" post, a place to share our not-so-stellar experiences with J.Crew.

If you have recently experienced a frustrating situation with J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including poor experiences with purchases & orders, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Weekly Share: Other JCrew-like Retailers

This is the weekly "Other JCrew-like Retailers" post (similar to the "Off On A Tangent" posts), where we can share our finds from other retailers that have offerings similar to J.Crew (like Anthropologie, LE Canvas, Gap, BR, Talbots, Ann Taylor, and the like.)

If you have recently encountered items that are similar to J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including experiences with certain merchandise pieces, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs!}

This is the weekly "J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs}" post, to help each other share our reviews.

So if you have recently purchased, or stopped by a J.Crew store to try on an item (or two) from J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Also, this request is not just limited to clothes. Please feel free to discuss bags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc.

In particular, if you could mention a few of the noteworthy details like fit, size, fabric, and the like— that would be fantastic! Thanks in advance! :)