Laying off 175 employees and hiring a new head of design, J.Crew is looking to take back the reign of mid-priced fashion. The brand’s drop in relevancy and competence applies to its digital operations as well: J. Crew was one of the biggest losers in L2’s latest Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. Its Digital IQ dropped by 36% as it fell in rank from Gifted to Average.

Behind J. Crew’s digital fall is an outdated site that lacks innovative features such as in-store inventory search and content integration. The expensive in-house platform – once a sign of a digitally forward firm – has now become a liability as in-house platforms are more expensive and slower than cloud. L2 ranked J.Crew’s site in the 13th percentile of all brands in 2014, whereas it was a clear leader in site features at the 96th percentile in 2010. And J.Crew’s decline in earnings has been synced with its fall in site rank.

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L2’s study on e-commerce agility finds that cloud platforms give brands the flexibility to implement new features on their sites quickly and at a low cost. See full report for more.

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