Eileen Fisher unveiled a new Web experience in August, coinciding with its 30th anniversary, where highlighting the brand’s sustainability message is key.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In addition to factoring customer feedback and site analytics into the redesign, reflecting the brand’s sustainability was a focus, according to Lauren Croke, director of e-commerce.
“The real story around our clothes is the social and environmental issues that inform the way we make them. It’s such a huge part of our brand message,” Croke said. “But it’s been buried on our site, and a big piece of our redesign — especially around our 30th anniversary — was to elevate that.”
The Web site, designed in-house by senior graphic designer Maiko Fronteddu and art director Shanti Durkee, plays an integral role in the business, according to Croke, who said that of Eileen Fisher’s 67 freestanding stores globally, the site is the number-one retail door. Sales from eileenfisher.com represent 29 percent of the total retail volume. Currently, more than 50 percent of traffic comes from desktop, with 30 percent from tablet and the remainder via smartphone. As for revenue, more than 70 percent of e-commerce sales come from desktop, 25 percent from tablet and three to four percent from smartphone.
Croke said the site has seen double-digit increases since 2013, but in the coming year, she hopes for a more integrated, cross-channel experience for the consumer.
To do this, she explained that the customer will be able to access product wherever she is — whether this means integrating inventory across stores and online or finding places to incorporate mobile access. She added the company is even looking at ways to leverage wholesale partnerships online, although she admits she’s not sure what they will look like yet.
“The brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going away. Online needs to influence offline and give the customer easier ways to find what she’s looking for,” Croke said.
She noted that although it’s common for many shoppers to visit online and offline, there is a bit of a difference in consumer behavior. Typically, the online customer is younger by a few years and tends to spend more.
“She’s in our top three segments,” Croke said, meaning that this customer shops in-store if there is one nearby, and at department stores that carry the brand, as well as online at eileenfisher.com. “She ends up being the most valuable customer — she shops in all three places. You would think that customers farthest from those places [stores and department stores] would be shopping most online, but customers closest to the stores shop most online. It’s more is more is more.”
Since the site relaunched, the brand has reported 8 percent growth in orders, with average time spent on the site also increasing. The “& Behind the Label” portion specifically has seen page views multiply by 10 times since the redesign, with the most visited sections being Certified Dyeing, Made in USA, Repair and Care, Green Eileen and Organic Fibers. The “& Behind the Label” design was led by Eric Nevin and Martin Bone of Bone & Black, Eileen Fisher’s creative agency of record, and was built and produced in partnership with the digital agency Createthe Group.
“We feel that we have transformed the site as a primary artery for a seamless brand experience and a platform for storytelling. We don’t see the site as just an online store,” Croke said.
For the time being, updating the front end and focusing on the look and feel of eileenfisher.com is the first step in the brand’s digital evolution. The brand worked with Createthe Group to offer a “clean, modern and simplified experience” — with the most noticeable change being an emphasis on content. A complete back-end overhaul will take place next year, including the launch of an entirely new technology platform.
According to Monica Rowe, public relations and social media leader, the brand began using social media in 2011, starting with Facebook and Twitter. Now, it’s active on Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube as well — with about 70,000 followers combined. Pinterest drives the most referral traffic, even though Facebook and Instagram have the most engaged fans.
The brand’s digital strategy will continue to evolve, Croke added. “[Digital] provides a platform that clears out the noise a bit and allows us to continue to tell deeper stories, connect with more women and hopefully dress them, too.”