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E-Commerce: J. Crew 3 May 2010

Posted by Scott Loughran in Design, Development, e-commerce, Examples, Trends, Websites.
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J. Crew is an apparel brand that has made the conversion from catalog sales to brick-n-mortar and e-commerce since opening in 1983. Their casual lifestyle apparel is about simple colors and bold combinations. Through every stereotype in my head, I would expect to see people wearing their clothes on a lady at her favorite coffee spot on a Saturday morning, or on her boyfriend as they run hand-in-hand down the beach. Their collections also allow their patrons to create their independent sense of style for their professional lives.

Homepage

The homepage is focused on the visual representation of their brand, the photo, more than the logo or the product categories. This gives a strong emotional cry to the audience and connects with them through the related intimate text with words like “paradise, escape with us, and enchanting travel journal.” The primary colors are white and black which make background and text work with proper contrast.

The only non-black text, is some orange text informing the audience about a shipping special. In comparison to my few experiences in J. Crew retail stores, the homepage has the same clean, relaxed feel but lacks the warmer texture and vibrant colors as the stores. The page does give me clear definition or where to access the information I want and follows a traditional layout in the bolder text across the top representing where to find products, with smaller text across the bottom to grant access in to information about corporate offices and such.

Product Detail

On these detailed pages I’m given everything visually I would expect: Product name, a brief description, drop down menus for size and color, a couple of images of the product and a button to add the product to my cart. The thing that I think was the best choice about the page is how the page centers on the screen instead of hugging a left or right margin. They did this on the homepage as well, but I did not notice it until I saw this great close-up of the shirt, giving me insight to the material, texture, stitching and color centered in a large image. This gives me no question to what product I’m looking at.

They also introduce two gray boxes that frame the product and its details on the white background. The right gray column houses a detailed category breakdown for the men’s line, while the right side remains empty. A new text color of taupe is introduced in the right column as well to show me which category I’m currently in and the other lines in that category. This choice also follows traditional e-commerce layout for a product details page, especially with apparel. The overall feel of the page is still very sterile, like the homepage; a feeling I don’t get in the retail store.

Shopping Cart

As I look at the cart the design has shifted a little, still with the same navigation panel across the top as on all the other pages, but a darker gray now fills the remain ¾ of the page. The details of my selections are proportioned well to the page but the images are much smaller than the items they’re suggesting to me. A black box with lime green letters is introduced as the checkout button. These sporadic colors that do not particularly “match” with the color scheme of the major site I would say is expected and matches some of the brand’s personality.

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