J.Crew launches marketplace and debuts diversity campaign

March 22, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

The fanfare this week may have seen all the noise reverberate around New York fashion week, but collegiate brand J.Crew launched a new online selling platform, which has so far been kept rather quiet.

Called the J.Crew Marketplace, the new service which started in May, allows
third-party sellers to list items on its website. Payments are handled by
J.Crew whilst shipping is done directly from seller to customer. Like eBay
and other fashion re-sale platforms, J.Crew takes a percentage of each
sale. It is not known if J.Crew is responsible for third party product
photography.

According to Market Insider partnered brands include a mix of smaller,
boutique labels like New York-based jewelry brand Odette and swimwear
company Onia. Neither of these brands has its own store, but their products
are sold online and sold via wholesale channels to other retailers. J.Crew
does not hold stock and neither manages returns.

J.Crew currently sells brands such as Nike and New Balance in its stores
and online, hence third-party styles may not immediately be apparent to
shoppers. In its product descriptions there is a note that informs the
shopper that this is a “J.Crew Marketplace” item and will be shipped
directly from the seller.

Its marketplace is a new strategy for J.Crew

This new marketplace is part of J.Crew’s new strategy to make the brand
more diverse in its offerings and appeal to more customers, notes Market
Insider. Amazon’s own marketplace has become one of the most successful
areas of its business and is now responsible for more than half of all
units sold on Amazon.

“We must reflect the America of today, which is significantly more diverse
than the America of 20 years ago,” new J.Crew CEO James Brett told The Wall
Street Journal in August. “You can’t be one price. You can’t be one
aesthetic. You can’t be one fit.”

J.Crew has been notoriously absent from New York fashion week and hasn’t
had a show or look book published on Vogue Runway since its Fall 2017
collection. In April 2017 its longtime creative director Jenna Lyons left
the company, as did CEO Mickey Drexler.

While the company has been undergoing agile changes behind the scenes, it
has made headway with its pricing strategy and re-focusing its core product
groups.

Brett has been leading the charge in J.Crew’s turnaround efforts after
several years of flagging sales. The store had been accused of becoming
unaffordable and impractical under the leadership of its former CEO, Mickey
Drexler, and longtime creative director, Jenna Lyons. To combat this, Brett
has lowered prices, added plus-sizes, and most recently started selling its
low-cost Mercantile collection on Amazon.

His strategy seems to be paying off, as J.Crew’s same-store sales numbers
turned a corner in the company’s most recent quarterly results after
dropping for the last three years. In August, J.Crew’s namesake brand
reported a 1 percent increase in comparable sales for the second quarter.

On Monday, J.Crew unveiled its new look with a diversity-driven ad campaign
featuring groups of people from creative and non-profit organizations
dressed, of course, in J.Crew. Called “New Crew,” its ads features
organizations such as Save the Waves, which protects coastline ecosystems;
Creative Mornings, a lecture series; and Girls Inc., a girl-empowering
nonprofit.

“The point of the campaign was to show that J. Crew truly is for
everyone—for every body, for every kind of person,” Vanessa Holden, chief
marketing officer of New York-based J. Crew told AdAge.

Photo credit: J.Crew AW18 campaign, source J.Crew Facebook