July 11, 2016

Lime Crime

Ok, I am preparing an enhanced version of my Customer Acquisition presentation (if you want me to visit your company to give the presentation, hurry up, my calendar is filling rapidly - contact me at kevinh@minethatdata.com).

And while going through my research, I come across an article about Beautycon in Los Angeles, where Lime Crime (click here) is mentioned. And my goodness, it couldn't be easier to see that this company has a fully-baked customer acquisition program. Given some of the problems they've had, they need a fully-baked customer acquisition program!

Let's compare Lime Crime to a catalog brand - say Potpourri.

As we speak, the catalog community offers a polite applause ... full catalog / online integration, new items featured (new this season, mind you), clearance and sale, sign up for email, call toll free (just in case you were worried about long distance phone call tolls).

You can pick the top 100 catalog brands and depict each home page ... and they all look nearly identical. They have to when the goal is to make the catalog the center of the universe and all catalogers are using the same professionals and same consultants and same boutique vendors and same blah blah blah blah. You get the picture.

Home pages are planned out months in advance and don't change for weeks or longer (#multichannelintegration).

Now, let's look at Lime Crime ... I read about the madness of their appearance at Beautycon in Los Angeles (you have a conference where your fans are crazed and travel long distances to spend time with your merchants and in-house stars, right?).

I know, I know, I can hear the complaining already. "But we're a catalog brand, we're not catering to a 16-34 year old woman, our customers love our laid-back presence."

So let me show you what hustle looks like, because their customer acquisition strategy is a hustle strategy. Let's go through a series of images.

They proudly illustrate a sold-out item on the home page ... I mean, that's serious real estate they're giving ... think of the urgency that creates on behalf of the customer ... the customer better buy something RIGHT NOW. Meanwhile, the cataloger is busy trying to analyze the purchase funnel and match it back to the catalog so that the catalog gets credit for generating the order and the inventory leader has to achieve 97% fulfillment so she couldn't possibly be sold out of anything or she'll be fired. Think about that one, for a moment.

Home page space dedicated to an interview with "Yungelita", whoever the heck that is.

Oh, the text says we're supposed to know who she is, with her million-plus Instagram followers. And then she's wearing product (#influencerprogram) and you can purchase the product she is wearing.

Who is the star in your industry that everybody follows ... and what are you doing to build a relationship with the "star" in your industry? And if the answer is "there are no stars in our industry", then create one, for crying out loud. Pick your best merchant and make him/her a star.

I know, I know, you don't want to do that.

But it's not just "Yungelita" ... you can see what fans are using and how they are using it, via their own imagery ...

... and then you can purchase the products fans are using (I know, your creative team will rebel if you do this ... that's their job, so you take a pass on connecting with your customers so that the creative team can roll out imagery from 2008 and can plug in copy from 2007).

Finally, on Instagram, there's a seven-digit following and more than five-thousand posts.

I clicked on the upper-middle post ... it's Pokemon Go.

That's what hustle looks like, folks. I didn't even dive into what they're doing on Snapchat.

They're reacting in real-time. The cataloger plans 3-9 months in advance so that what appears online and in email campaigns aligns perfectly with the catalog - whereas online brands have an advantage in that they are hustling to generate demand right now - the cataloger has an advantage in that demand is thoughtfully harvested via print.

I know, I know, the catalog brand is "unique" and "different" and "special" and doesn't cater to a 16-34 year old customer ... and therefore, should not even consider trying to work really hard for orders.

You can clearly see if a cataloger aligns with history or aligns with modern commerce ... just run this experiment for your brand ... instead of Potpourri, plug in your catalog brand home page. Is your home page communicating free shipping with a hurdle, a Google-vetted safe experience, 30% to 60% off various items, the word SALE in caps, a catalog quick-shop link, a catalog request link, promotion of new items (even if the items are four months old), email signup popups, promoting the catalog on the home page while not promoting products, links and copy everywhere, and 5-7 day shipping? Then the experience aligns with history. Those are the businesses that are struggling the most in my work, and based on what you tell me.


1 comment:

  1. Kevin -- I have enjoyed your blog tremendously. I like the thinking, and I try to put it in the context of my catalogs. This entry brings up a thought that is basic Michael Porter - Competitive Strategy: Differentiation v. low cost leader. One of the strategic problems companies get into is the "stuck in the middle" - neither the most differentiated nor the lowest cost provider. The Lime Crime kills you on the differentiated angle and a 3P seller on Amazon will start to work you over with clones of a Lime Crime substitute. That makes for a tough day at the office.

    John Bace
    LS&S, LLC


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