Once thought of as ultra-traditional and even a little dated, Joann (formerly Jo-Ann Fabrics), is fast becoming a modern day masterpiece in the world of marketing as it makes headlines with its new plan to go public.
The retailer reported that its revenue was up 24.3% in the first three quarters of 2020 as compared to the same period the year before, in addition to acquiring eight million new customers during the pandemic.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Even before the crafting craze conquered the pandemic, Joann has been busy curating a stunning digital presence. Its Instagram, which touts almost a million followers, taps into of-the-moment art trends and beloved and buzzy characters like The Office’s “Phyllis” to connect with consumers of all ages. On YouTube, its daily uploads have earned about 300,000 subscribers as yet. To top it off, in 2017 the brand acquired Creativebug, a subscription-only platform through which users can access art and crafting videos. Without missing a beat, Joann also invested in WeaveUp, a platform that allows people to print their own custom fabrics and enjoy unique services like laser cutting and engraving. The company incorporates the same stitch of technology through its stores as well, which carry digital printers in addition to staple services customers have come to expect like buy online, pick in-store. In addition to the influx of new customers, many of its existing customers began doing their shopping online for the first time. As such, Joann was more than ready to go with the perfect storm of content, customization, and a digitally elevated environment when the crafting boom came along.
Ad the pandemic progresses, Joann will need to continue tapping into its creativity bank to keep consumers captivated, perhaps looping in more video content, which has seen an uptick in popularity according to Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. But Joann isn’t the only art store on the block. Competitor Michael’s is undergoing a makeover of its own and Amazon continues to lurk in the minds of consumers. Still, brands looking for a lesson on digital investments paying off should look to Joann for a true tale of rags to riches.