Live from J. Crew’s online analysis

New York—-In J. Crew’s most recent fiscal quarter, the apparel marketer’s online sales surpassed its catalog sales for the first time. In a May 7 session at the Conference here, the company’s director of Internet marketing, Jayson Kim, gave some insight into how J. Crew managed that feat. The conference is cosponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and the Association for Interactive Marketing.

In his session, entitled Analytics for eCommerce, Kim emphasized the importance of use Web metrics without forgetting the basics of direct marketing. Just as you wouldn’t measure the number of people who flipped through a catalog, he said, neither should you measure site traffic. The meaningful metrics are not unique visitors and click through rates, but conversion rates and revenue.

J. Crew had an abundance of data regarding its site, Kim said, but no concept for using the information. To that end, Kim worked with data-mining solutions provider digiMine to identify the sites that drove traffic to the J. Crew site and the best search engines in terms of referrals and to analyze which pages were the most popular.

Among the findings: A large number of visitors—-more than 1,700 a month–came from the Website of cable-TV network Lifetime, which could be attributed to affiliate marketing. Also, traffic was significantly slower on weekends than during weekdays, spurring J. Crew to create promotions to increase weekend Web traffic.

J. Crew also studied registered users who did not return to the site, analyzing their paths around the site to pinpoint navigational bottlenecks.

The biggest improvements, Kim said, were made on the product pages, with the creation of upsell/cross-sell opportunities. DigiMine helped select four products that complemented each selected product. In A/B split test in which the control group received no cross-selling/upselling options, 8% of users who viewed the product suggestions clicked on the recommended products, 6% added the products to the cart and 2% purchased the products. Within eight months, he added, J. Crew saw a return on its investment.

The company also got a 2% lift in sales by implementing a cookie database to tailor offers such as free shipping to first-time buyers.

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