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E-commerce Evolves at Lands’ End

Chief marketing officer Karen Hung credits a multifaceted approach for its success.

Lands’ End has always been a remote retailer, having started as a catalogue business. But it has been active in e-commerce since 1995, and chief marketing officer Karen Hung credits a multifaceted approach for its success.

This story first appeared in the May 23, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

She emphasized the importance of creating an omnichannel experience that spans consumer touch points from online to catalogue to in-store.

“We have a strategic framework, and we want to be accessible, relevant and working toward creating an omnibranded experience,” said Hung. “Within digital, it’s making sure we have relevant product, relevant messaging, a great shopping experience and also telling a story. It’s a dynamic marketplace. The way we win the consumer with our brand is to be agile in the market.”


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Nearly 80 percent of the brand’s sales transactions happen online at landsend.com. Although the majority of Web traffic to the site still comes from desktops, Hung sees mobile as the way of the future. Lands’ End launched a mobile app in January 2010, and she said the firm keeps investing to improve the handheld experience. It’s also examining how to bring the shopping experience to the tablet.

“Through the course of a full year, we have the chance to connect with consumers in almost 15 million ways — through social media, e-commerce, e-mail, text chats and catalogue. There are lot of different contact points and ways that the customer can connect with us,” Hung said. She noted most of the consumers engage via landsend.com, but e-mail has also proved powerful in reaching shoppers.

She added that starting in the second half of 2013 and moving into 2014, even more “unified brand moments” will take place for fall back-to-school and holiday campaigns. She also revealed that a lot of innovation around Lands’ End’s digital flagship at landsend.com will take place during this time, and updates like enhanced search features, improved site navigation and a more seamless checkout process will start to roll out.

“We’re doing a lot of things to engage the community and consumer base and people who have been loyal over the years, or who are considering us in their day-to-day lives,” Hung said. Lands’ End is further developing a content and media experience that now includes video on-site and increased Facebook interaction. “We are able to tell more real stories and show product and how consumers can wear it. In swim, for example, we’re telling much more of a lifestyle story.”

Facebook, where Lands’ End currently has more than 1 million fans, is the leading social medium where the brand connects with consumers, but Hung contends that leveraging Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is also integral to the overall social media strategy and, ultimately, garnering a bigger audience. Hung said much of the content is focused on different lifestyle moments — and the company continually gets stories from fans about how the brand has impacted their day-to-day lives.

 

“Our customers constantly tell us how they are using our products. They share photos and tell us stories. That’s very consistent. We get something interesting every day,” Hung said. For instance, she cited one customer who shared a Christmas photo in which 19 stockings — all Lands’ End — hung from the mantelpiece. Another painted her hallway in the colors of the packaging of the brand, and many fans post images of themselves wearing their favorite Lands’ End products.

As for the future of actual paper catalogues, Hung said, “There will always be catalogues. They may evolve over time as we continue to segment to our customers, but overall, catalogues play a vital role at Lands’ End. We know our customers like shopping with us through all our channels — online, retail and through catalogues. Our goal has always been to engage with our customers how they prefer, in the most effective ways. As technology continues to evolve, we have the ability to understand what information our customers want to receive and how they want to receive it.”