CASE: JOTEX - When an online first brand got curious about physical retail

September 17, 2019
Ilona Oksanen

Listing Nordic e-commerce pioneers, Swedish born Jotex will most likely pop-up on many lists. Their story started in 1963 crowing into a mail order business and since 2002 the Swedish home furnishing and decoration e-tailer has grown it’a business significantly in the nordic market. Currently owned by the Ellos Group, Jotex operates in Sweden, Norway and Finland. With a key focus on ‘home fashion’, Jotex has the ambition to bring its audience constantly changing fresh new ideas and a strong stylistic vision. 

The challenge of ‘online-only’

The most powerful brand encounters are built around seamless customer experiences, where the digital and the physical worlds are intertwined into a perfect symbiosis. For an e-tailer like Jotex with no brick n’ mortar touchpoints, this posed the simple question of how to benefit from this omnichannel approach when only operating in the digital environment. 

Could ‘Omnichannel thinking’ and enhanced visual contexts help improve the merchandising, the customer experience and the overall sales performance of an e-comm environment? 

Wanting to stay on top of the game, build a first class customer experience and bring a fresh new approach to their digital flagship, were the drivers to get curious about omnichannel with WERK.  

The Dual Approach

To tackle this hypothesis, we combined my personal expertise from the physical retail world and visual merchandising with the tech and visual talent of the Jotex UX team. Put in simple terms, our goal was to find ways to take the Jotex e-commerce experience from a ‘oh that’s nice’-state to a ‘holy crap that’s awesome’.   

In an afternoon workshop with the marketing, sales and studio team at the company headquarters in Goteborg, Sweden, we set our discussion around three main topics:

1. Curating the customer experience & Merchandising themes
2. Improving visual impact
3. Data driven merchandising & Money Mapping

1. Curating the customer experience & Merchandising themes

First we explored how Jotex would be experienced by customers if translated into real life store and the potential problem areas that could arise. A great exercise for all e-tailers by the way! 

It was clear that for a top notch UX, curating the customer experience was needed to make sure the huge amount of SKU’s wouldn’t become overwhelming to the customer, forcing the whole experience fall flat on its face. 

We looked at the best ways from the physical retail world to build consistent and enticing seasonal merchandise theming and how this could be integrated into the more prominent category-thinking. We discovered the importance of curating the customers movements in an ecomm environment and how the Jotex home fashion vision and expertise could be the perfect tool for this. 

2. Improving visual impact

Through inspiring benchmarks from the physical and digital world we looked at ways to improve the overall visual impact. With a world-class in-house studio team, Jotex is in many ways miles ahead of many of its competition, but a digital world always lacks the power of physical context. Through new approaches to product visualization, visual merchandising and the use of video content, the team was served with a pool sized portion of the best ideas the omnichannel world has to offer. 

3. Data driven merchandising & Money Mapping

Even though huge amounts of data are available from digital environments, our approach was to look at ways to become even more agile and dynamic in the seasonal merchandise planning with the available data. Understanding the customer journey better and ways to adapt the merchandising based on that data, the UX could become better equipped to the customers wants and needs. 

The team learned about workflows such as Money Mapping and result-driven visual merchandising processes and how this could be translated to developing the ranking rules also from a more visual perspective, rather than just sales performance.  

"Coming from a pure digital world, it was inspiring and refreshing to look at the customer experience from a physical world perspective. The benchmarks, stories and smart frameworks Ilona brought to the table naturally sparked innovative ideas to develop our merchandising experience outside the traditional “ecomms boring massive browsing” point of view. And of course infused emotions in the customer experience in ways that can benefit the brand, the sales and customer delight. Win-win-win!

If you feel there is a gap between the quality of your brand, products and content and the actual inspiration your customers experience on your (e)shop, it’s probably a good time to invite Ilona and creative people from both sides of the coin around the same table and step out of the too common vision of what merchandising can be!"

- Thomas Tonder - UX Head Ellos Group -

Curious to look on the other side of the coin?

The top takeaway from the day was definitely to always staying curious about ‘the other side of the coin’. Opening conversations between departments and moving away from siloed thinking towards more unified processes, is the first step in creating those kick-ass customer experiences.

Is your team or organization eager to explore new fresh approaches for your retail or e-commerce business? If you’re interested in exploring ways to bring the best of both sides of retail and find out how this ‘dual approach’ could benefit your future retail business, get in touch! We we would love to hear from you!

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