Here comes the winter – sweaters, coats, boots, mittens, etc. Time to think about outwear that’s been has been out of mind for the past several months! For me, especially as the parent of a small, growing child who needs a whole new wardrobe every year, Fall is the best time to start stocking up on outwear for the upcoming winter season. As an online shopper, I much prefer to do the shopping over the internet than go to the store and trudge through those heavy coats so my destinations for outwear shopping online tends to be the big two: LL Bean and Land’s End.
Even though LL Bean and Land’s End have both tried to diversify to become more of an ‘outdoor’ specialty retailer rather than focus on outwear alone, their website traffic clearly shows that are seasonal trends when it comes to their brands. Consumers start to think about their outwear just as the Fall and back to school kick in (glad to know I am not the only one that refuses to even think about this over the summer!) around the August/September timeframe and then continues to rise over the Fall peaking, of course, during the holidays when you start thinking about what others would like for outwear. By the time the New Year hits, you would think that most people have their outwear needs covered and the website traffic goes down.
That’s not to say that both these retailers have not made some progress on their branding as ‘outdoor’ specialists. Both LL Bean and Land’s End have worked diligently over the Spring and Summer months to promote their swimwear and summer sport accessories. There is some uptick in their website traffic during the spring to summer probably indicating that the positioning has been somewhat effective. But it is obvious that these retailers, unlike most of us, are pretty happy when summer vacation is over.
One more interesting note is that over time Land’s End has caught up and even exceeded LL Bean in web traffic for parts of year. Since I am an avid online shopper, I am on the emailing lists of both these retailers and have noticed in the past year or so, that Land’s End has used email marketing promotions very aggressively. In fact, it is at the point now, that I get almost one promotion a week! LL Bean on the other hand, uses email promotions less frequently. As a result, Land’s End referring traffic from email is higher particularly in the Fall. LL Bean does take over during the holidays, when they use email promotion more frequently and often couple that with very effective free shipping offers. As a strategy, the email marketing seems to be working for Land’s End in helping them to stay relevant and drive traffic over their main competitor for some part of year. As for me, it means a denser inbox, but I don’t mind as long as I am getting a good deal while stocking up on that outwear!
Alo Mukerji is the Managing Director of Product Strategy at Compete. At Compete she is responsible for identifying new product opportunities and long-term product roadmap. Before Alo joined the Compete team she worked at Constant Contact where she helped to expand the product suite beyond email marketing. Alo specializes in new product selection and definition, product management, and product pricing. She can be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/pub/alo-mukerji/0/154/9a7