J. Crew gets Futuristic as it celebrates its Past

Published: June 13, 2023

min read

J. Crew is 40 years old! And in celebration of this milestone anniversary, J. Crew has launched an inaugural immersive shopping experience in collaboration with the eCommerce platform Obsess, which creates 3D, virtual stores for retailers. J. Crew has launched 3D virtual stores that shoppers can access on their laptops and smartphones.

The setting has a picturesque brown shingled beach house with wooden steps, white-paneled rooms and a wraparound porch, a lighthouse and even a most enchanting boathouse. It is here inside the six themed rooms, that J. Crew displays a curated selection of its best-loved apparels and its history.

Inside this virtual space, customers can browse and choose and buy like they would at any physical J. Crew store. The brand decided to go virtual as they saw that there were limitations to hosting events in physical spaces at New York or LA, including the number of people who could participate.

We were really looking to have an exciting activation that we could execute for a larger audience … We really wanted this to be a passport to explore the world of J. Crew ...

Derek Yarbrough,

The Chief Marketing Officer of J. Crew and Madewell

Obsess aims to completely transform traditional online shopping into something more immersive – this way shopped stay connected and engaged, instead of losing interest and mindlessly scrolling. In the virtual stores that Obsess creates, customers are able to create their own avatars, engage with content, promotions and bonuses, based on what is offered by brands, and even play games that can unlock more content or prizes and promos!

Obsess has said that it helps brands offer rich and immersive digital experiences, borrowing the interface from gaming. They bring unique aspects and characteristics of their physical stores to life.

Virtually Brilliant

The pandemic forced the world to shop online – and even after things have returned to normal, some habits have stuck on. And online shopping is certainly one of them. While it brings the huge benefit of convenience and ease to customers, there are some instances where you wish there was more – you wish it was more like physical shopping. Fashion is certainly a case in point. Nothing beats the experience of actually touch and feel and try on clothes or make up or accessories before buying.

This where a virtual store can make all the difference! J. Crew has found a great way to celebrate their milestone anniversary – by treating their customers to a fabulous virtual shopping experience that is beach-themed.

Virtual stores like this can keep be the differentiator for brands who wish to stay ahead of the competition. And appear young and trendy – appealing to the younger demographic, which is the target audience of J. Crew anyway. This is a great way to appear relevant and for customers to take their virtual selves into virtual trial rooms and try out the swanky outfit that catches their fancy. In fact, customers can just about try on as many different clothes as they wish – virtually, of course!

On the other side of the coin, J. Crew will be able to get a lot of data and information about their customer, as they enter this virtual dimension and reveal so much about their preferences. What outfit is most popular? And with which demographic? Is there a specific kind of outfit that people with a certain body type, prefers? Does the setting affect purchasing decisions? Are there opportunities for cross-selling? How about up-selling? This kind of valuable data helps fashion brands to make relevant recommendations, and thereby improve conversion rates.

Some brands have virtual clothes and accessories for the avatars of the customers. They are sold as collectables. NFTs - which the young Gen Z and Millennial demographic sees as valuable and worth possessing.

The novelty of these virtual stores will go a long way in keeping the brand strong and relevant. Customers are engaged, deeply – the existing ones and the hordes of new ones who want to see what’s going on! And the various novel items will make them stay in the store a lot longer than they would have, in a physical setting, making them spend more time and dollars!

(You notice people are not saying ‘metaverse’ – clearly shows this is here to stay – minus the negative syntax)

All in all, this is a great move for J. Crew – to celebrate history by doing something completely futuristic!


Grace Wang

Grace is an advertising professional who keeps abreast of the latest and greatest in the marketing and advertising space. She is a traditionalist in lifestyle and modernist in her profession. Outside of marketing and advertising, she helps younger generation try and adapt traditional lifestyle for a healthy living.


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