Jigsaw’s journey to omnichannel

British fashion retailer, Jigsaw, was relatively late to the eCommerce game when it launched its first website in 2008, followed by a mobile website with an external partner in 2010, as well as an online launch in the US with another external provider in 2011.

Speaking at the BRC Omnichannel Retailing event in London this week, Kate Holt, director of eCommerce at Jigsaw, said all of these online increments were considered different channels, provided by a different technology partners and managed internally by a separate teams. 

In 2012 it moved its website onto BT Expedite’s platform, as well as creating a connected website for Jigsaw’s luxury London boutique, The Shop at Bluebird.

“All of our digital elements were very disparate,” she said, and in 2015 the retailer decided it needed to consolidate. 

The main focus for Holt was to redesign the website to be mobile responsive. Jigsaw upgraded onto BT Expedite’s newest platform and worked closely with the vendor on the upgrade which went live in October 2015, with Bluebird going live earlier this year and websites for the USA and Australia planned for later in 2016. 

The Jigsaw responsive website reported 115% increase in mobile sales over the Christmas period, while mobile and tablet sales now contribute to 57% of total sales. “Since the re-platform and becoming responsive, we’ve seen mobile conversion increase by 50%,” added Colt. “Whether that’s simply down to re-platform, I don’t know, because a lot of people were using mobile devices over Christmas.”

The retailer also saw a dramatic increase in Click & Collect, with the service hitting its peak of 45% of online orders in the run up to Christmas. “You see how it differs – in Islington she has a bit more time and opens the parcel in store and tries is on, but in our store on the Strand she’ll pick it up and run for her train.”

She also said Jigsaw is considering partnerships with companies like Collect+, which will allow customers to pick up orders at other non-competitive retail stores. But Colt said it is very important to ensure the store fits the brand, saying DPD even suggested Halfords as a collection partner.  

But as well as being digitally disparate, with 75 UK stores, 34 UK concessions, 7 stores in the US, 18 overseas franchises and three websites, Holt said two years ago the retailer realised it had issues because its younger customers were no longer familiar with the brand and it was beginning to lose its edge.

While Jigsaw has proudly gone against the fast-fashion trend, instead producing pieces “for life, not landfill”, Holt said the brand had been quiet at communicating this USP. Two years ago Jigsaw began to remind its customers that style never goes out of fashion and they should not feel enslaved to follow the fashion world.

As well as standing its ground in the competitive world of fashion, where many retailers sell cheap, disposable trends, Holt said the retailer also stood firm when it came to Black Friday.

“We trade full price for 44 out of 52 weeks of the year, so Black Friday we decided we wouldn’t take part,” she explained. “But Black Friday still kicked off our Christmas season in the same way as for everyone else, but our full price sales accelerated right up until Christmas Eve.”

Holt said the retailer also took a decision to remove its links from voucher code affiliate sites and focus on key bloggers. “That drove less traffic to the website, but those who visited spend more and cost us less,” she said. 

“Omnichannel is about all our channels working harmoniously together, but we’re not always in control of all of our channels,” she said, referring to Jigsaw concessions in John Lewis. “But there are underlying indicators you see which shows how well the channels are working together, if there’s a John Lewis store close to Jigsaw store, the like-for-like growth in Jigsaw is double than a standalone store.”

Colt also said when Jigsaw launches a new store, the web demand in the geographical area increases by 15%. This means it is even more important for retailers to consider online sales geographically. The Jigsaw stores are now fitted with in-store iPads, which are simply tools to use the website in-store (and now account for 15% of all online sales), but Colt said the retailer now adjusts its store sales to include iPad online sales to encourage the store employees. 

She said Jigsaw also has a single view of stock across its standalone stores – updated every two hours – which is exposed to customers online. “This will see us fulfilling from store in the future,” she added. 

Meanwhile, for its Bluebird store – which also features on Farfetch as well as its own separate website – the stock levels are updated every 15 minutes and orders are fulfilled from the store on King’s Road. “Staff have to act fast to get that product off the shop floor,” she said, noting that 50% of Jigsaw’s Click & Collect orders are taken up by Bluebird, “I tell Bluebird employees to treat the store as a private version of Doddle or Collect+.”