Crew is known for its style statement and unique style and preppy fashion including khakis, jeans and other items sold to customers through its catalogs, websites and nearly 520 retail stores across the US, under J. Crew and Madewell banners.
Madewell is a women-only collection of casual clothes. Outside the USA the retailer has 32 stores, present across London, Hong Kong, and Paris. The company sources 87% of its merchandise from factories outside the USA and 60% of which is from China.
The company offers a wide range of products including men’s, women’s and children’s apparel Clothing. The company conducts its business through retail, factory, crew, Madewell stores catalogs and online stores
Strengths in the SWOT Analysis of J. crew
1) Data-driven approach
The company tracks and measures every seasonal success and even predicts the customer preferences the customer choices based on the previous interactions with them. The data-driven approach to performing marketing and positioning activities has helped J. Crew cultivate an online audience that spends twice the time as the average customers. They have found that the customers who interact with the brand via social media spend twice the time than that of the average customer
2) Strong Online Presence
The brand has the Omni-channel presence and communicates the brand message through all channels, including catalogs, email marketing, websites and also social media.
The core online marketing strategies are developed to drive differentiation and also to foster awareness about the brand and make customers aware of it internationally as well. Social Media and digital marketing have played an important role in the strategy of J. Crew. The brand has found significant growth opportunities in platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
One of the strategies that have worked extremely well for J. crew is the Catalog that is the main vehicle for advertisement by the brand. The catalog reinforces the mission and brand image and is also helping in driving sales in all the channels J. Crew has differentiated its catalog from its competitors by using high-quality art direction and photography. They have also expanded their marketing strategy to include the outdoor and print advertisement.
Weaknesses in the SWOT Analysis of J. crew
1) Less physical stores
The retailer delivers its products in major countries of the world but it has no physical stores worldwide and the stores are only focused in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and France. The main problem with the retailer is that the customers want to touch and feel the product before buying it. In such cases competitors like H&M, Zara are gaining market share
2) Currency fluctuation
crew has been planning to expand in U.K for a while. It launched its U.K website in 2011 and also plans to open the number of stores across the country. The Times newspaper, however, found something curious about the retailer. The apparels in U.K. were priced much higher than that of the US. The average came to be 40% higher. This was said to be due to currency fluctuations in the market. Currency fluctuations have impacted the firm throughout its business cycle. The exchange rates also significantly affect the customer’s choices.
J crew has suffered from its own strategy of providing discounts and coupons consistently to its customers. This has seriously hurt the image of the brand resulting in customers only shopping in the periods of deep discounts and offerings. The customers were indirectly trained to wait for the deals. J. Crew provides so many deals that customers didn’t even have to wait for so long. Its sister brand Madewell is doing well but it is still much smaller. J. crew has been trying to carve out space for itself but has been unsuccessful with its strategies.
Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis of J. crew
1) Loyalty Programs
The company has reported 13 straight quarters of sharp decline in sales. J. Crew has now announced a loyalty program that provides perks such as a credit of $5 for every $200 purchase and free goodies with standard shipping to people who have signed up for the program.
The rewards, however, are not very creative and are almost standard among most of the loyalty program, but according to J. Crew, they are just setting up the stage for rolling the program. It plans to use data to better target its customers with personalized. promotion and better-targeted ads
2) New Business Opportunities
The company is planning to relaunch itself and the banner is already refreshing its merchandising and is planning to introduce the new line of intimates, a swimwear sub-brands and also “heritage collection” which includes the classic collections by the brand. The company also plans to introduce products that are denim-focused with much expansion in sizes, washes, and fits. The company also plans to have wholesale partnerships for further expansion.
Threats in the SWOT Analysis of J. crew
1) Decreasing business
The company s struggling like many retailers with the unprecedented transition from brick-and-mortar retailing to online which represents about 30% of the sales. The company is carrying more than $2bn debt and has cash that is less than $150 million. In April, the company cut 20 jobs. It is a tiny company with billions of debt, trying to make it in a highly competitive environment.
Zara and H&M provide cool experiences to the customers. They provide them with the latest design and fashion. They appeal most to the millennial customers. J. Crew, however, falls between the two, it wasn’t really a department store nor was it able to provide exciting product lines or create appeal like H&M, ZARA and Forver21 has been able to achieve.
3) Evolving fashion Trends
What seems to be trending now gets obsolete very quickly. The changing fashion trends are one of the major threats for a retailer like J. Crew. There is a major trend in athletic wear and fast fashion in the market. J. Crew needs to respond very quickly to the fast-changing need of the consumers. Customers are fashion conscious and they also care about the price. J. Crew needs to adapt itself to the changing fads and also not take much heat on its budget