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An American Classic Debuts in London

Posted by: Floortje Beemsterboer on Monday, December 9 2013 10:30 AM
Regent Street

Recently J.Crew solidified its presence on the London high street with the opening of its first international flagship store on Regent Street. As the brand’s fastest growing online market, the UK is a viable growth opportunity for the classic American brand. Senior management has described the brand’s international growth strategy as “thoughtful” and “careful” and the success of the London store will determine whether or not J.Crew moves forward with their plans of expanding to Asia next Spring.

The brand’s establishment of bricks-and-mortar in London has provided a unique opportunity to engage and delight customers beyond the experience the brand offered them thus far online. On its opening day cabs in J.Crew’s signature bright colours waited in front of stores, ready to take customers for a complimentary ride. Shoppers were feted with tulips and umbrellas decorated with fun statistics about the rainfall in London and NYC, a clear indicator of the brand’s cool yet accessible persona and a nod to its growing international presence. The highly anticipated opening succeeded in being an engaging and memorable experience, a testament to the brand’s attention to detail and commitment to delivering exceptional shopping experiences.

Lauded for the level and consistency of its customer service, J.Crew is a brand that understands in business, people come first. Indeed, the example is often cited of CEO Millard Drexler personally calling customers who have had a negative experience with the brand.

Whether online or in-store, J.Crew offers an experience tailored to the customer’s increasing demands for efficiency and quality. Ahead of the Christmas shopping season, the brand has partnered with MasterCard to offer an easier and faster payment method for customers shopping both online and in-store. It is fast becoming clear that the brand is setting an example for other retail brands on how to engage consumers successfully and consistently across all touchpoints.

Reportedly, finding salespeople in the UK with the brand and product knowledge necessary to deliver a customer experience on par with that in the US was a challenge. In response, the brand has brought staff from America to train British employees, to ensure they deliver the service and product knowledge the brand prides itself on and that customers have come to expect. Maintaining this consistency as the brand enters new markets will be key to its continued success.

Although a higher price tag relative to the US may deter some shoppers in the UK – those looking for the inimitable J.Crew experience will no longer need to cross the pond to find it.

Floortje Beemsterboer is a Consultant on the Strategy team at Interbrand London.

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