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Six things you may not know about JD Williams’ digital strategy

Rebecca Smith, marketing and ecommerce director at N Brown Group, fills in delegates at the Drapers Digital Festival on the digital strategy at its brand JD Williams.

Since JD Williams relaunched in September as the UK’s first online department store to specifically target the 45-to-60-year-old female shopper, the multichannel brand is piloting a string of initiatives to engage its key demographic.

Seven months in, Rebecca Smith, marketing and ecommerce director at N Brown Group, shared an update on how the brand’s digital-first strategy is progressing.

  • · Online style adviser

JD Williams has been testing an online style adviser with its shoppers, who are relatively new to online shopping, for the past few months.

“To really engage [the customer] in the online experience we are testing our online style adviser,” says Smith. “After a series of questions, she will see recommendations that correspond to her answers.

“The tool employs intelligence based on the data to recommend products that suit her style, shape and colouring to give a much more personalised shopping experience.”

She adds that although it is “still early days”, average items per order have increase by 60% after interaction with the tool.

  • · Mobile app launch

JD Williams has launched a mobile app, which is also still in its “early days”.

Smith also pointed out that JD Williams had experienced a surge in mobile traffic after employing a digital-first strategy. Mobile traffic has increased by 125% and email engagement via mobile devices is also “exceedingly high”. Of its mobile traffic, 84% is female within the 45-to-54 age range.

  • · 3-D fitting

Through its JDWorks incubator programme, which launched two years ago and aims to foster start-up talent, N Brown plans to launch a three-dimensional fit solution.

Smith said: “[We are] working on exciting, new, disruptive solutions so that we can continue to innovate, learn and grow.”

She added that the incubator initiative had paved the way for its new mobile app and online style adviser.

  • · Putting data science first

N Brown has “just completed” a 10-week programme to map its customer journeys across all its brands, using research and insight to uncover opportunities to grow revenue.

So far in the programme it has logged 1,500 observations and found 245 ways to improve the customer experience.

“We have a big focus on data and are using that to improve the customer experience,” said Smith. “Our data scientists are making a major contribution through extensive forensic analysis and testing.”

  • · Forming a ‘colour council’

As part of an effort to reach out to its customers with language that resonates with them, the brand has put together a six-strong committee of lifestyle journalists and bloggers, specialising in fashion, interiors, health, relationships, families and leisure. The group “offers tips and advice to engage customers”, and creates content to put out to its social channels, website and emails to consumers.

  • · Facebook focus

The brand is using Facebook in particular to push social media engagement with its key demographic.

Smith said that it has found its shoppers placed particularly heavy importance on interaction: “They liked to be asked a question – from product, to what they would most like to do with their spare [time], or if where they would go on a dream holiday. A lot of it is asking questions about their lives, and they really get involved with that.”

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