American fashion retailer J. Crew decided to partner up with the massive online store Amazon and their "J. Crew Mercantile" label is now available for purchase on the site. As opposed to fighting off the online competition, J. Crew saw a great opportunity to be flexible to their customer's needs by offering their products where they shop - in this case on Amazon.
J. Crew Mercantile was initially sold at J. Brand Factory locations, which are stores located in outlet malls. The J. Crew Mercantile label is a collection of men's and women's fashion that retails at a lower price than the rest of the products offered by the company. As of 2015, J. Crew Mercantile stores opened up in regular shopping malls, becoming an even more accessible point of purchase for their customers.
All of the pieces in the J. Crew Mercantile collection retail for less than $300 and the price point is significantly lower than the other J. Crew labels. Buying the collection via Amazon will give customers free shipping, and with clothes ranging from denim jackets to t-shirts, it is a perfect place for anyone to revamp their wardrobe of basics without spending too much money.
After Walmart, Amazon is the second largest apparel retailer in the United States, so it's safe to say that it is an important player in the industry. And as they say, keep your friends close but your enemies closer; joining forces is a great way to gain a bit of control of the situation and hopefully establish a mutually beneficial business model. J. Crew is definitely not the first to enter a partnership with Amazon. Nike and Calvin Klein are two examples of prominent brands that are already available through the now trillion dollar e-commerce company.
However, there are some brands that are wary of partnering up with the retail giant, worrying that Amazon will use the sales information only to introduce similar products but at a much lower price point. There is also the worry that customers will be less motivated to visit the physical shops when everything is available through a reliable online shop with free shipping.
Only time will tell how this collection fairs, and what sort of gains (or losses) are in store for J. Crew.