Hi, my name is Emily and I have a new addiction: LuLaRoe clothing! I’ve always been a, “dress for comfort and let the style come second,” kind of girl, but once I started about hearing about LuLaRoe and tried a few pieces on, I was hooked! After all, it’s rare to get both comfort and style in affordably priced clothing. But that’s not what fed my addiction.
LuLaRoe’s combination of direct marketing and social media management fuel women’s addictions across the country. This week’s blog post takes a look at how this clothing company has created an immersive experience for consumers, and marketing lessons you can take and apply to your own business.
An Introduction to LuLaRoe
Touted as “simply comfortable” and “where fashion meets comfort,” LuLaRoe mostly creates dresses, tops, skirts, leggings and wraps for women, children and men. The company’s founder and designer creates various styles of clothing and then releases them in different prints and colors. Each style is a set design, so shoppers know if they’re a certain size in the Irma top or Carly dress, for example, they’ll be that size in any of the Irmas or Carlys they purchase. In addition to set styles (which makes shopping easier once you know your sizes!), the designs are flattering on wide variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you wear a size 6 or 16, you can wear your LuLaRoe wardrobe with confidence.
Unlike major clothing lines at department stores, LuLaRoe is only sold through the company’s Independent Fashion Consultants (or direct sellers). These consultants will order which styles and sizes they want to carry and then receive a shipment from the company. The colors and designs are complete surprises to them when they open the box! Then they turn around and sell their inventory to shoppers. However, because they only have the actual products they have, they’re limited in the sizes and designs available for shoppers.
Speaking of shoppers, there are a few ways they can purchase new items:
- In-home pop-ups, where a host invites all their friends and gets rewards based on the amount of sales.
- Facebook Live videos, where a consultant will show a piece at a time and users can claim items in real time.
- Album sales, where shoppers can browse photos of inventory available and claim them on a first come, first serve basis.
It takes some time to get used to the LuLaRoe approach, but once you do, it’s addicting!
8 Marketing Lessons From LuLaRoe
Now that we’ve covered the LuLaRoe basics, how can you apply their tactics to your business? Even if you aren’t a direct sales company, there are all sorts of marketing lessons you can take away!
1. Create inclusive exclusivity.
Because LuLaRoe works well for a wide variety of body shapes and sizes, they’re very inclusive towards consumers. However, each print is only used on a limited number of leggings, tops, dresses, etc. So if you see one you like, you need to purchase it quickly or you may never see it again! These pieces are called “unicorns” because they’re beautiful, but hard to come by. In fact, it’s not uncommon for shoppers to tell consultants what their unicorns are so they can keep an eye out for any of those designs that arrive in their inventory.
How can you create inclusive exclusivity for your business? Think about all the ways you can use your product or service to help people. Can you offer a product that works well for a wide variety of people, or a service that can be applied to all sorts of consumers or companies? Now think about how you can create some demand. LuLaRoe does this by limiting prints available. Maybe you can release your product in a special edition color that changes every quarter or offer a particular service to the first five people who sign up each month. By offering something that appeals to a lot of consumers, but limits how many can actually use it, you provide a little extra motivation to buy quickly.
2. Keep things fresh.
Because LuLaRoe only has a certain number of items in each print, they’re constantly coming out with new designs. From Halloween or holiday prints to patterns, florals, food, animals, stripes, dots and anything else you can think of, there’s always something new and fresh debuting.
How can you keep your marketing strategy fresh?
- Think ahead to seasons around the corner; can you do anything to update your products or services with the changing seasons?
- Revisit your marketing plan every 6-12 months and ask:
- What’s working well?
- What’s not working well?
- What can I do to improve what I’m already doing?
- What can I try that I haven’t done yet?
- Will my new ideas help me achieve my goals?
- Watch what other businesses are doing; can you apply any of their tactics to your strategy?
3. Create brand advocates.
As Natalie shared in her piece about influencer marketing, “A study by McKinsey found, ‘Marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.’ And those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37 percent higher retention rate.”
I first heard about LuLaRoe from a friend raving about it while our daughters played together. She told me I had to check them out and that I would love them. Then, a few weeks later, a completely different friend invited me to her in-home pop-up party and told me how much she loved their products. After picking up and wearing a few items at her party, I was converted into a brand advocate and have since influenced multiple people to try out and purchase their clothes.
How can you create brand advocates? Natalie’s article about influencer marketing shares tons of helpful details, but to quickly summarize, provide a positive experience with your business and build a relationship with them. Speaking of relationships…
4. Make it a social experience.
LuLaRoe is extremely social! I’ve been to two in-home pop-ups, both of which were full of women giving each other advice on which pieces to buy and how to wear them. And as more of my friends have started buying and wearing LuLaRoe, we talk about it! In addition, we share photos of what we’re wearing on Facebook and Instagram, making a virtual shopping experience social.
Do you provide a social experience for your customers or clients? Although this approach is easier in some industries over others, it’s important to remember that people are social creatures; embracing this and using it to your advantage is beneficial for your marketing! Maybe host a party where your customers can shop for your products and complementary items all together, or host an event with an expert providing something of value to them.
5. Invest in social media.
This is another biggie for LuLaRoe. Although some items are sold during in-home pop-ups, consultants rely on Facebook for virtual sales. Here are just some ways I’ve seen them use social media:
- Publicizing upcoming in-home pop-ups
- Facebook Live videos showcasing new products for sale
- Facebook albums of items available for purchase
- Giveaways (more details below)
- Unicorn albums, where users can add photos of designs they’re looking for so the consultant can keep an eye out
- Asking for feedback regarding which product lines and sizes to carry
- Soliciting images of “How You Roe” (or wear your LuLaRoe) – a great way to give other users examples of ways to use the product!
How can you wrap some of these tactics into your marketing plan?
- Publicize upcoming events or holidays.
- Create a Facebook Live video of anything new at your business, such as a new product you’re debuting or an updated service. Make sure you post a few updates leading up to the event so users know to watch for it!
- Post photos of your products in albums or share images of employees performing services you offer.
- Asking for user feedback is a fantastic way to do a little consumer research! If you want to drive responses, consider giving incentive for their responses, such as a specific free product or service to a randomly-selected user that comments.
- Ask users to share photos of them using your product or service!
6. Host a giveaway!
If you’re immersed in LuLaRoe culture like I am, you’ll see giveaways pop up on your Facebook newsfeed daily. Many consultants use them as a way to solicit more followers in their Facebook groups, letting users know that if they join their group and comment on a specific photo they’ll be entered to win a particular item in their size. If you do enough of these giveaways, you can actually win (I’ve already won a pair of leggings, a kimono wrap and a sweater wrap!), which fuels your desire to continue entering giveaways, thereby joining more and more groups. Then, because of all the groups I’m in, as I scroll through my newsfeed I’m able to see new products coming out, which sellers’ inventory is available for purchase and make note of any new designs that catch my eye. Trust me, the constant reminder of LuLaRoe products is not good for my wallet!
Hosting a giveaway can be a fantastic way to stay top-of-mind to current followers and introduce new users to your brand. By asking followers to like, comment or share your post with their connections, you’re basically asking them to be like brand advocates to their Facebook friends. With the right incentive – such as a free product or service to a lucky winner – many will do this! Be sure you’re clear about how to participate, when the giveaway will end and how you’ll select the winner.
7. Provide excellent customer service.
As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How do your customers feel after working with you? I’ve purchased items from several LuLaRoe consultants, all of who were helpful and responsive. Plus, some of them even through in little extra goodies I the packages of products I received (such as a unicorn eraser or a lollipop). Although it isn’t much, it made me feel like they took the time and effort to take care of me as their customer.
Customer service is an important piece of your marketing plan! After all, “Everything you do or say is public relations.” The way you treat your customers will affect how they feel about your business. If it was a positive experience, they’re much more likely to return and recommend you to their friends.
8. Stay positive and encouraging.
LuLaRoe has a very positive company culture. “I believe in you” and “You can do it” are two of the organization’s guiding principles, and it’s reflected in the way consultants interact with consumers. Across their Facebook pages and groups, consultants post updates filled with positivity and encouragement, and it breeds more positivity and encouragement from their followers!
From your blog posts and social media updates to e-newsletters and everything in between, are you staying positive and encouraging? Think about the marketing messages you’re sharing. Even if you receive criticism, see it as an opportunity to improve. “The one good thing about negative feedback is that it presents you with the chance to turn a disgruntled customer into a brand advocate. People like personal attention. If you can engage with the customer and help them through the crisis, they will remember that and may even change their mind about the whole experience.” Instead of deleting that Facebook comment, ask for more information and provide contact details so you can connect offline.
As you can see, there are a lot of marketing lessons from LuLaRoe that can be applied to any business, from creating inclusive exclusivity and keeping things fresh to providing excellent customer service and staying positive.