I agree that digital doesn't need to replicate the physical – my point was that the brand experience should be seamless across different touchpoints. From the reputation Colette has, I didn't think the e-shop presented a great online experience, at least not to me. It reminds me in some ways of the MoMA website – conceptually some good things but execution-wise, not great.]]>
Anytime an e–shop goes up, the people behind it are hoping to sell stuff. But the sale might not be immediate, setting the right mood and tempo takes time. Maybe a person visits a site many times before they decide to buy, or maybe it's the opposite and it's impulse and with a simple click stuff is bought. That scene takes place all the time, not just on J.Crew's or Colette's site.
Not to be too biased but the music thing could be generational, and to be honest if you only had time to check one store Colette might not be it. That sort of goes to who's the person most likely to enjoy the experience of Colette. The same goes for the curation of stuff. It's pretty subjective—I'd rather see ten really exceptional things than thirty okay products. I also think you might be missing the point of the photos and store like replica site. Digital is different so it doesn't need to look like the store. A lot of people hate the style of photos that AA uses, me not so much. It's their distinct look. For Colette they're being inspired by myspace is guesstimate.
Also, my point about online and offline stores is more about perception and goes back to my original premise about why someone would bother starting an online shop. Sure it's too make purchases but also enhance the brand.
Hopefully that didn't come across too weird…]]>
It is truly an amazing store (if you have a lot to spend). You really need to go there!]]>
I've been looking forward to your take on Colette vs. J. Crew, mainly because my reaction to the Colette e-shop was so different from yours. You are right that the audiences for both are different so it is not exactly an apples to apples comparison. The other question I would add up front is – is the goal of an e-shop to entice people to the online store or to sell online?
Both stores use music, though J.Crew doesn't make it a standard feature – instead they weave it into documentary-style videos of their shoots. With JCrew, that gives me some sort of “warning” that music is starting, vs Colette, which annoys me with the music that turns on as soon as the site loads.
I like the idea of curation but Colette shows such a small % of their stock online, I was left feeling like they are making a half-effort, rather than a curated effort. (They would fit right in with most Canadian e-tailers!) Instead they could use their website to create more dynamic experiences using video/animation/photography to give a flavour of what their bricks-and-mortar stores are like, if the goal of the e-shop is to bring people into the store.
You are right that J.Crew's online store is a more catalogue-like experience, since that's where its roots lie. I think that is helpful from a navigation point of view – I can find what I'm looking for easily. Yet the scrolling images at the top put clothes together in combinations I wouldn't have figured out on my own and highlight pieces I may not have seen at all. For a lot of shoppers, this is helpful – i.e. the curation is in the styling.
I agree that the J.Crew online experience makes it less necessary for people to visit their physical stores. But I am not sure that's a bad thing.
One final point of difference – J.Crew is actually not as upscale as Colette, in terms of their pricing & brand so it's interesting to me that you got that impression. I think J.Crew's physical stores are a step down from their online experience in terms of perceived affluence, whereas Colette is the opposite.
Enjoyed this post!]]>