JCrew Site Slows To A Crawl As Extensive New Features Launch

Written by Evan Schuman
July 8th, 2008

When the $1.3 billion JCrew apparel chain launched its new Web site on June 29, it was the culmination of a 2-year deployment effort. Seems that customers may have to wait a bit longer to fully use those new capabilities, as the site quickly crashed and has suffered significant slowdowns ever since.

On Tuesday (July 8), the tenth day of the problematic performance and with a "our Web site and call center are running slowly as we fine-tune the improvements" apology replacing JCrew’s homepage, JCrew spokesperson Margot Brunelle-Fooshee said the problems are still slowing things down and the associated disclaimer "will probably be up until Friday" (July 11).

The 260-store chain’s site changes include real-time inventory shopping carts, an online catalog interface (clicking on a picture in the catalog will display an option to add it to a cart) plus a new zoom feature and enhanced search abilities.

JCrew CIO Steve Dee said the slowdowns had been expected, because of the extent of the changes.

"Something this complex and this far-reaching has a lot of different variables in it, so we did anticipate that there would be periodic performance questions, because there’s just so many layers to what you’re dealing with," Dee said. "We serve images out to a third party provider, so everything needs to be copied down to them. You might find an image or Flash here or there that might take some time or might have even been wrong and you have to reload that. And every time it does that, it has to be cached out to that service provider. So they come back and they hit our server and they pull. So those were some of the periodic pieces that we found."

The CIO said the problems were not extraordinary. "You’re going to run into some bugs when every system goes live," Dee said. "So we had to put out bug fixes. Those fixes often require that we would have to take down a server here or a server there, causing us not to be at full capacity."


5 Comments | Read JCrew Site Slows To A Crawl As Extensive New Features Launch

  1. Cord Says:

    JCrew is glossing over the website changes. There are MAJOR PROBLEMs with their company right now and its new website….orders are still not in the hands of customers that were placed prior to the upgrade. Customers have been charged for items not received. Customer service can’t give accurate tracking numbers b/c they can’t communicate with the warehouse. I could go on and on.

  2. Lisa Fowler Says:

    Agree with Cord above….I can’t tell you how much money I have spent on over the years, but no more. Today was the last straw. Due to “the new system” I am now going to be charged 7% sales tax even though J.Crew does not have any operations in my state (MS). That’s the only explanation I was given..”under the old system you weren’t charged sales tax but for orders processed under the new system you will be”…ummm…hello?

  3. SteveK Says:

    They might have considered some QA before going live…

  4. Nadine Says:

    I have always loved J Crew and their excellent customer service, but I’ve had it! After 3 phone calls to customer service, 2 emails, constantly being put on hold and then being helped by someone different….and I still haven’t been refunded for the order that never shipped. It’s been 3 1/2 weeks. They have lost my business.

  5. formeremployee Says:

    jcrew has always been and will always be a crap storm of incompetence and customer service.
    this latest debacle is not a surprise – the whole organization is run with a lax attitude towards intelligence and an immediate need to be recognized as stylish and pertinent.
    they will always be the imitators. and sadly the throne to which they aspire – shall always remain out of reach


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