Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Would You Recommend {at J.Crew}

I was thinking the other day about how J.Crew could integrate a few things that would make customers' shopping experience better. I know most of us have similar thoughts, around what we want to see at J.Crew (either at retail stores or online).

So I thought it would be great for us to share, in hopes that J.Crew might incorporate them one day. Since J.Crew corporate regularly reads this blog, they might take one or a few of these suggestions under consideration. And they get it for free! (A lot of companies would love this kind of marketing research.)

In particular, what are the top three things that you would like to see from J.Crew?

The following is my list, in no particular order:
  1. Online reviews. Other retailers seem to integrate this feature with no obvious issues. I think it would be informative to find out if a garment or footwear runs too small or too large before I purchase it. It would also be beneficial for J.Crew as they could avoid returns.
  2. Local store inventory checking. Just like the red phone that is available for customers to use, I would love to see a computer set up to show J.Crew's available inventory at local stores. This idea is not so far fetched since Banana Republic & Gap have something similar in place. In particular, their store associates can check local stores for an item's availability on their register and print out those locations on a receipt for customers. Instead of going through a store associate, it would be great to just use a computer provided.
  3. Shipping costs. I would love for shipping costs to be lower, but that may not be feasible for a variety of reasons. However, I was thinking about perhaps having a incentive or rewards system for customers. For example, maybe if customers spend X amount, they get free shipping on any order for a month.
What are your top suggestions for J.Crew to implement? Does your suggestion relate to online or brick & mortar stores? Please share! :)

42 comments:

  1. Your three suggestions are great, Alexis. The online inventory is particularly helpful, and almost all their competitors have it: Anthro, BR/Gap, Nordstrom. Personally I find that Red Phone a big pain, it just takes up too much time. At Nordstrom or BR/GAP, they print out a list of stores that have what you are looking for, and let you decide if you want to follow up or not. No stress.

    My main suggestion involves their return policy. I've missed the 30 day deadline a few times now, and it really makes me think twice about buying. And final sale, especially for online items, is just ridiculous. Ironically enough, Anthro has an unlimited return policy AND no final sale, and I hardly ever make returns at Anthro. Weird, huh? Something for J Crew to consider.

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  2. by the way, I gave you a Blogger award! no it's not junk mail. Read my latest post and blame Lisa the Call Center Gal, haha.

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  3. HI Alexis: What a grea post !
    1) I would like to see all the items in a styled picture on the same page, so if I am looking at a sweater and it is paired with a blouse and pants, show those pieces on the right side.
    2) I would love to have the actual numerical lengths given for skirts and dresses like with the pants, and not "false to mid-thigh".
    3) I wouid like a wish-list. They keep dumping my cart.
    4) Please make some longer dresses and skirts. How about Tall sizes in these items.
    5) I would like descriptions to be accurate as of late they have not been giving accurate info. (I got stuck with the nylon, not silk Tulle ruffle cami on Final Sale.
    6) Show more than the last 5 purchases made on the Account page.

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  4. I agree with what you said. In addition:
    - I would like bigger pictures. It's so difficult to see the photos, and sometimes the pictures don't work with Chrome. Or, maybe an automatic zoom when the cursor goes over the photo. (I love the way Zara's website handles photos.)
    - I would like a reminder email about when my favorite item goes on sale. Many people wait until sale anyway so why not help us out a little.
    - And definitely an option to see if other stores have the item.
    - No more Final Sale! Unless the items have a ridiculous percentage off (like at least 50%)!

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  5. Save for later option would be great to have!

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  6. Online wishlists or a "save for later" feature for the shopping cart.

    Oh, and stop dumping my shopping cart whenever there is a major update or promo. That would be so great.

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  7. Excellent post Alexis.

    1.) They need to at least give free shipping or a lower shipping minimum for cardholders. I'd be tempted to sign back up for my card if they just added this perk.

    2.) REAL information about items like measurements, % fabric content, and reviews.

    3.) Updated sale section of the website where we can actually see new arrivals to sale. And stopping the final sale madness. I understand final sale for items at a deep discount but final sale at a first cut? Please.

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  8. 1. Wishlists, or at least a "save for later" feature in the shopping cart.

    2.Customer reviews.

    3. my ultimate wish (and a way they could avoid the customer reviews they seem to fear) is to list the actual garment measurements for each and every item, in each and every size. If you call CS, they have it, so why not just list it? No more mystery "falls to mid thigh" or misleading size charts! It seems like it would prevent a lot of returns, and unnecessary use of CS. Boden does this, and it is immensely helpful. I never have to guess how anything will fit. I'd bet more people would be willing to buy final sale if they knew the exact garment measurments too.

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  9. I would love the in-store policy to allow store credit after 30 days, but I understand why it's changed.

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  10. Besides what has already been mentioned, I would advise:
    1. To allow us to keep our items in the shopping basket for at least 15 minutes. Gives us time to shop rather than having to rush for fear of seeing our items disappear once we reach the check out.

    2. Overseas shipping from a European warehouse, not from the US as Mickey Drexler hinted. Anthropologie, Land's End, LL Bean, Forever 21 all ship from the EU. This means lower shipping charges, no customs fees, and more importantly the delivery within a few days rather than weeks.

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  11. I totally second PearBeary's Chrome suggestion. I use Chrome to browse, as it is slicker and lightweight, but some of J. Crew's images don't work (other online shops do). It's a bother to open the same URL on another browser. I hope J. Crew catches wind that Google Chrome is a serious contender as a web browser!

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  12. OT: There are a handful of New Arrivals added to the website today. :)

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  13. When browsing through categories, search results, or sale sections, I would like to see color swatches below the pictures, a la Anthropologie. I don't want to have to click on an item to find out what colors are available. And I would like to be able to mouse over the item's picture to see what sizes are available, a la Bluefly.

    I also want a wish list, product reviews, garment dimensions (could be given just for one size), and new arrivals to sale.

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  14. all of the above

    on more thing why does the initial product descritption have to be just a few lines requiring a click? why cant it just be there to begin with?

    BTW I wrote to them yesterday and actually got an answer, lets try it with some of these.
    and again final sale at first MD is such nonsense. They will never move the stuff that way

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  15. Would love to see the online review system. Particularly since there's no free shipping on returns from Canada (which is something else I would love! Particularly since the B&Ms are coming to Canada)

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  16. Great post! I had a long list of suggestions, but it got dumped when the page refreshed, so I will just say :
    ALL OF THE ABOVE PLEASE - and if the Copywriter from Space has a lifetime contract, then PLEASE hire a proofreader or other helper animal so that the descriptions bear some relation to (a) the pictured merchandise and (b) words that convey information.

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  17. WFF, upon reading "helper animal" the first image that flashed into my mind was a bear on a unicycle. I have no idea why!

    I'd like to see *correct* item descriptions - especially when it comes to fabric content and care instructions.

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  18. What it all comes down to for me is the simple fact that this company is not customer-focused. AT ALL. Look at the suggestions everyone has made. They would all help the customer and even push revenues through the roof. All these suggestions have been made repeatedly by us via many different channels. And still nothing.

    The buzzword in retail for the past few years has been customer-centricity. I have never in all my life seen a company that's LESS customer-centric than J Crew. Being a J Crew loyalist is like being in a one-sided relationship. Nothing is ever about what you want, it's always about the other person. And we all know how that usually turns out. How's that song go? Sometimes love just ain't enough?

    We -- us, right here on this blog -- we are the customers most retailers dream about. We are brand champions in every sense of the word. The information and deep insight that's available to corporate through this site is worth its weight in gold, yet it falls on completely deaf ears. It is astounding to me.

    So go ahead, J Crew. Keep pushing us away with your pricing inconsistencies, insanely high shipping costs, shabby treatment of cardholders, random doling out of promotional codes and rewards. because eventually I'm going to walk and take my big fat wallet elsewhere.

    If J Crew were my boyfriend, I would never tolerate this treatment. I'd have dumped its ass a LONG time ago.

    It made me really sad to write this post.

    And oh, how apropos. My verification word is codes.

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  19. Faster shipping to the west coast. Anthro uses USPS priority and I get my packages in 3 days. JC takes a full week. I emailed them once about this and was told I could call in my orders and ask for usps but this should just be an option on the website, just like expedited shipping is.

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  20. The 30 day return policy sucks. Just another example of how this company has been headed in an anti-consumer direction for a long time. I wrote to them and told them that I was going to start shopping elsewhere at their expense, and that's exactly what I've done. Hello, Ann Taylor, Talbots, and department stores. I'm getting better customer service elsewhere.

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  21. My gripe is shipping. $150 is too high for a minimum, I'd love free shipping no minimum offers more often for cardmembers. I'd prefer free shipping over an extra % off final sale any day!

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  22. Free shipping for cardholders would easily double the amount I spend with them. I feel like their card offers very few perks, compared with other retailers' cards. I'm tempted to cancel it in protest.

    I would also like a wish list or the ability to save things in my cart. Some things save there for ever, others disappear quickly. No rhyme or reason.

    Showing a sidebar with styled items would be fantastic.

    As a side note, I have spent about $6,000/year for the last 5 years with my JC card (3 JC-wearers in the family) virtually all of it full price and almost none of it returned, and I have never received any of the promo items. My theory is, my store (Westport CT) has a lot of high rollers so my business is not significant to them. What do you think?

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  23. See Cancan, that's what I'm talking about. Craziness. I'm in the same spend range as you, but usually nothing at full price (not that it should matter, a dollar's a dollar) ... but come on! And you're a cardholder no less!

    Hell, Kohl's treats me better and I spend 1/10th as much there. *grumpy*

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  24. Fantastic suggestions everyone! There are so many ones that seem could be easily implemented today too- like wishlists, bigger pictures, and measurement info for each garment!

    Elaine: LOL! I couldn't agree more, if J.Crew were a boyfriend, I would never accept the crappy treatment experienced from time to time. But dang it, I love J.Crew so! ;)

    Cancan: I shop at the same J.Crew as you! I totally know what you mean about the high rollers. I often get ignored in the store because I shop the sale section.

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  25. My top three items would be:

    * A wishlist/save for later feature. Enough taking a snapshot of my cart and emailing it to myself. Seems when I add a number of new items and forget to do that, my cart is dumped and it's not just when there are new arrivals.

    * Fabric content listed by % and care instructions and make them accurate for heaven's sake! I don't want to buy a silk item that is really synthetic or an machine-wash dress that arrives with a dry clean only tag. J.Crew often talks about their designer's attention to detail. How about the rest of the corporate team?

    * Customer reviews. So often we are asking each other about an item's quality, appearance and especially fit. Even if J.Crew would add reviews that are rating on these topics only and no text, it would be more helpful than nothing.

    I love free shipping but I know that it really is not free and in fact, shipping costs are rising with the price of fuel. In the end the customer will pay for shipping some way, some how, or the retailer will lose money and that is just not realistic. Maybe free shipping for cardholders would be a big incentive for those of us without a card but the shipping costs will always have to be paid.

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  26. Elaine, your boyfriend remark is hilarious! J Crew is like a really great looking boyfriend who is fun some of the times but other times a total PITA or complete jerk. :)

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  27. Reiterating Hexicon's bad boyfriend analogy from 08:

    "I have figured out what's going on here. I was never one of those drama queens who always had the on-again, off-again, masochistic, dysfunctional relationship with a bad boyfriend. (I was always the stable friend who helped pick up the pieces.)

    So, it took me a while to recognize that J.Crew = bad boyfriend. He ignores my phone calls and e-mails, he lavishes his attention on other women (e-mails them but never me even though he has my address), he's wildly inconsistent with all kinds of strange "rules," he makes me spend money on him that I know I shouldn't . . . but I'm so attracted to him that I keep going back for more punishment. I would totally dump him, but he's so . . . hot. "
    (Hexicon)

    Many of us have been in this relationship awhile *lol*

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  28. oh my gosh, all of the above!!! HOW LONG have JCAs been suggesting these?? So many are so ridiculous (like the return policy and shipping costs) - other comparable retailers manage to do it. I can't understand why JCrew chooses not to.

    And relatively minor, but when you aren't in the sale section, make the site function so when you click on an item and then go back, it takes you to where you were on the page instead of at the top.

    Heads up, someone at 770 Bway!

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  29. I would LOVE to have a reviews section! That would be absolutely amazing. ModCloth's is incredible helpful as is L.L. Bean's. I can't see why they don't have one.

    And a wishlist. I really wish I could put items into one. Even for holidays and gifts :) I love surfing the catalog and circling things but it's kind of annoying when describing things I'd like for my birthday or Christmas.

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  30. Gigi, too funny! Thanks for posting that! "He's so hot" ROFL

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  31. 2 things:

    1) Online reviews are a great idea and necessary since all of JC's main competitors have implemented this idea. Not having reviews has actually stopped me from buying items.

    and

    2) Friendlier sales associates!!! I regularly shop at one of the stores in Wester New York and, without fail, the only time I am ever addressed by a sales associate is when I am checking out with my purchases. I know sometimes I am not the best dressed in the store, but at least make everyone feel comfortable!

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  32. One more thing (and I am unsure if anyone has already mentioned this): have a "fresh cuts" section like Anthro! I regularly buy from that sale section to ensure that I get my size.

    Also, the reason I regularly read so many Crew blogs is because of the lack of online reviews for the JC site. However, now I am addicted and will not stop reading these even if reviews are incorporated.

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  33. I love JCrew, but the last year I had shopped at Anthro more mostly because they have great customer service. Three things I love -

    1. Online reviews, because sizing is all over the place for me. I return alot at JCrew because things don't fit.

    2. Wishlist on the website, I don't spend a lot of time browsing, and when I do, I make a list so I can go back in and look later on without searching/browsing again.

    3. No end date on return policy.I never buy final sale because sizing is all over the place, having no end date to return make me feel like my purchases are less risky.

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  34. I would even be OK with reviews that are moderated before they're published. J Crew has an image that they control very tightly. Or how about this: at least have a "runs big/small" slider like some of the shoe web sites have. Any extra fit info would be incredibly useful.

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  35. Seconding What They Said -

    1. Wishlists/Save For Later (or - Don't. Touch. My. Cart.)

    2. Online reviews

    3. Online fabric descriptions that match the care tags (really, how hard can that be...?)

    4. Free and/or flat fee shipping - many models to choose from - the Gap model (slower free shipping or faster flat-fee), the Bloomingdales model (2 tier free shipping, higher minimum purchase threshold when using non-store card), the Nordstrom model (free standard shipping as an annual reward)

    5. A Recently Viewed section

    And my own pet peeve: don't "disappear" things when a sale comes along. You want exclusions, fine, just post them as excluded. I might STILL want to buy 'em, ya know.

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  36. 1. Online reviews. (like anthro)

    2. Wish lists/ save for later (like anthro)

    3. Ability to check in store inventory from my home computer. (like loft, nordstrom)

    4. Ability to buy online from store inventory and pick up in store (like nordstrom)

    But mostly....treat your customers like you care they are your customers.

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  37. I would love an "Outfit Maker" feature like on the Boden website. You can mix and match the offerings on a model to see what looks good together. I use it a lot when buying from Boden.

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  38. Alexis, what a great idea of a post!

    I'd love to see posted reviews like BR does. I find these help me with everything from sizing, to fit to colour and even fabric.

    As a Canadian I'm hopeful that when the three stores open this year in Canada J.Crew uses a approach similar to BR. The prices are in Canadian and best of no duty or tariffs. We can often pay anywhere from 20% to 30% depending on the country of origin and materials.

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  39. I can't even believe I forgot to add this...Hire people to actually check the product BEFORE they ship me the wrong item or the wrong sized item. I just received a dress with a size 8 purchase tag but the dress was a size 6. And, don't send me torn shoes, snagged scarves, or faded and stained silk! While I am at it, please step up the overall quality of the merchandise you sell. I just had to throw away 3 "dream yarn" sweaters that looked just horrible. Geez !
    Oh and OT, but my SAs in Vegas are FABULOUS !

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  40. Alexis: This is the great post!
    I would love for shipping costs to be lower, too. Now even TOPSHOP offers free shipping (from UK!!!). Many retailers make efforts to cut costs and benefit customers. J.crew would increase customer loyalty by offering free shipping.

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  41. I do most of my shopping online, and it majorly sucks to have to pay that amount of shipping all the time. So...
    1. Lower shipping costs (and let us remember that anything helps)
    2. A "request" section for things that we would like them to make again(like this amazing linen cotton shirt that they made last summer ahhhhh!)
    3. A quick video of what the clothes look like on, how they move, etc. (saks does it and let me tell you, it is FAB-U-LOUS)

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Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

And now back to J.Crew! :)