Announcing The New searsStyle
I’m very excited and quite honestly relieved to announce that after nearly a year of planning, searsStyle has re-launched their site and made some big changes. SearsStyle’s goals have always been to drive consideration to a younger market. What does that mean? Quite simply we want 20 – 30 year olds to realize that sears sells trendy inexpensive clothing. To do this, searsStyle developed their website almost 2 years ago to provide both editorial content about trends as well as ways to shop.
Part of sear style’s problem was that they had no exposure on sears’ main site. Very few places externally or even on sears.com could you find a banner ad promoting searsStyle. Second, the few visitors we got weren’t clicking (or shopping) on much. Our hero had hotspot links that would shoot you down the page, but because there were no hover states or any sign of an actual button to click, people overlooked them. The old pinterest-like template was very limiting and we learned that no one cared to click-through all the slide shows. Our content also wasn’t very sharable, which made it difficult to increase social media engagement. Our “issues” also didn’t live on the site for long. After 4 weeks they would fall off and there would be no evidence that we ever wrote on that trend.
The Solution: 2.0
We really wanted to be a fashion authority, and to do that we decided to shift our focus from featuring product with a little editorial to writing more editorial based articles with some shapable product sprinkled in. There were so many people who touched this, that it really wasn’t “owned” by one particular designer or team. I helped out with the initial concepts for what the article page would look like, but our devoted Art Director, Michelle Hierzer and Creative Director, Mark Pelletier both finessed several revisions after that to where it is today. The result being a new homepage with a very modular approach where new stories are added to the grid up to 3 times a week and they live on the site permanently, rather than falling off after 4 weeks. After:
If anyone had seen searsStyle version 1, you would notice that searsStyle looks VERY different form sears, in fact the whole navigation to other parts of sears is non-existent. One of our new challenges was to fit our site within sears’s site while still keeping our editorial look and feel. We also had to make all the higher-up’s happy by ensuring that all the right pieces were called out in the right places, including our least favorite part: promotions.
On top of the new homepage format, new article pages and “drawers” for quick access to the content (will be releasing soon), we also have hotspots where you can shop product, slide shows, social media sharing, and social media integration to name a few. We launched today August 13th with the Jean Scene, which all of us toiled over to make sure it was absolutely perfect. There were a lot of bumps along the way, but after working so closely with the business unit, engineering, and the development team, we were able to tackle this new beast in record time. I feel really proud to have plaid a small part in the whole process and am excited to see what stories come out of our writer, Jill Manoff in the future. Take a look at the video going through the site: My favorite article is The SearsStyle Staffer 7 Day Challenge. This article is a streetstyle story about one of our searsStyle staffers who wore all types of denim for 7 days. I photographed all the outfits and designed the creative for each day. Checkout the website at: www.sears.com/style