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Madewell Launches Mobile App, but Is It Too Late to the Game?

Madewell is launching its first-ever mobile app.

The J.Crew Group Inc.-owned label debuted the new offering to members of its Insiders loyalty program today as it seeks to build its relationship with existing shoppers and amplify its digital presence. It will be available to all customers starting tomorrow.

In an exclusive interview with FN’s sister publication WWD, J.Crew Group CMO Derek Yarbrough said that the app was “centered first and foremost” on its membership program “with a heavy focus on personalization, seamless omnichannel and app perks, such as early access to seasonal collections and exclusive offers.” He added, “There’s really a focus on our best customers.”

Like many other retailers, Madewell suggested that it enjoyed a spike in e-commerce amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove shoppers indoors and online. However, nationwide chains and competitors like Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Gap, among others, have already been players in the mobile app space for years.

Still, the company explained that its app would best service its loyalty program members, who would be able to easily track their points, see what products are available at their favorite or local stores, as well as make purchases with one-tap checkout or use its buy online, pick-up in store services.

The app’s debut also comes just over seven months after J.Crew Group emerged from the Chapter 11 process with a new strategy to reposition its namesake and Madewell labels. (The group became the first major American retailer to go bankrupt amid the coronavirus outbreak.) In a statement at the time, Madewell CEO Libby Wadle said, “We will remain focused on maintaining our place as a leader in denim and innovating to create a differentiated shopping experience. We are also continuing to grow our offering of everyday essentials and are well positioned to lead the casualization trend offering our customers clothes they want to wear now.”

Last year, Madewell — which had continued to outshine its sister brand — was preparing for a split from its parent company through a widely anticipated initial public offering. The spinoff, which was expected to raise $100 million, was shelved as the stock market grew erratic due to investor concerns over the global health crisis.

Today, more than 70% of Madewell shoppers are members of the brand’s loyalty program. The company recorded $602.4 million in revenues in 2019, with e-commerce accounting for more than two-fifths of total sales. What’s more, mobile users account for 60% of its site traffic.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen more customers shopping mobile-first than ever,” J.Crew Group VP and head of digital and consumer experience Chris Maliwat told FN. “We want to meet our customers where they are, and we’re eager to show how our new mobile app will not only provide our loyal Madewell Insiders with a seamless shopping experience, but also allow them to track their member points and gain access to new collections before anyone else.”

This story has been updated with a statement from J.Crew Group.

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