A recent recall by yoga manufacturer, Lululemon, of a batch of pants that were…gasp…see through. Not really something that you want in yoga class, really in any class not done in the privacy of your own home. The company and stock suffered due to this recall which effects close to 17% of the inventory they carry in their stores and hit the stock with a 5% drop in value. It will be interesting to see how the Canadian company recovers from this recall. This will impact their in store sales as well as potentially drive clients to competitors such as Under Armor, Nike and the Gap.
It is also a PR nightmare. We are talking about a supply chain and design issue that involves a personal garment. It is one thing if Adidas or Nike were found to have a revealing sweat shirt or tank top. Lululemon has attempted to get ahead of the issue, but there is more they can do – what lessons can we learn?
How many of these pants will be recalled??
- Get ahead of the message. Lululemon has put out a large FAQ that answers many questions, albeit not as detailed as one might want – click here for FAQ. They need to do more. Maybe even have some fun with it. Yoga is all about bettering yourself and your mind. Play off this message. Lululemon is practicing good yoga but constantly reassessing and improving themselves. Their design issues and supply chain is part of that process.
- Get to the bottom of the supply chain issues…ASAP. Clearly there was a break in their supply chain at some point – most likely quality control issues (d’uh). They need to not only resolve the issue, but be transparent about it. Keep your clients aware that you have identified and are taking corrective action. Otherwise we will be left with the thought – you are just going to countries like Vietnam and Taiwan for the low costs and clearly don’t worry as much about quality. Not to be too cynical, but maybe near shore some manufacturing…at least in the short term (sorry I was being cynical there)
- Love your clients. Again another “d’uh” but sometimes companies forget this. When Apple’s iPhone had antenna issues did they really “love” their clients? I would say no. Jobs responded by blaming manufacturing, see FoxConn, or the way one would hold the phone. Where was the love? So don’t do this. Give a discount for shopping at the store, that could also drive more sales (yes I am again being cynical) make sure you send follow up communications with those clients that were impacted. Oh, and…apologize to those clients for any problems this may have created.
Lululemon will recover from this, I think. But it shows once again how vulnerable we are to any supply chain issues. Add to this social media, and that any issues that strike are instantly public. No company is immune to this, so have a plan on how to deal with this if and when it occurs.
Meanwhile, be conscious of your garment when you are asked to do the table or the wheel in yoga class…unfortunately I have not been able to do either yet. Maybe for the best.
I read an interesting article about the usage of big data and fighting crime – click here for piece. The basic premise is that law enforcement agencies are taping into the mountains of data that is out there to start determining where crimes might occur. Using predictive analytics coupled with the mountains of available data allows for an improved ability to understand where and even when crimes might occur. The article points out some measurable improvements of using some versions of the predictive solutions:
“the intermediate results look quite impressive. In Los Angeles, five LAPD divisions that use it in patrolling territory populated by roughly 1.3m people have seen crime decline by 13%. The city of Santa Cruz, which now also uses PredPol, has seen its burglaries decline by nearly 30%. Similar uplifting statistics can be found in many other police departments across America.”
Impressive to say the least, even if it remains early. There is even more discussion of how law enforcement could leverage sites such as Facebook to track and anticipate users who might have a higher probability of committing a crime.
Showing up based on your Facebook posts
“The police are also finding powerful allies in Silicon Valley. Companies such as Facebook have begun using algorithms and historical data to predict which of their users might commit crimes using their services. Here is how it works: Facebook’s own predictive systems can flag certain users as suspicious by studying certain behavioural cues: the user only writes messages to others under 18; most of the user’s contacts are female; the user is typing keywords like “sex” or “date.” Staffers can then examine each case and report users to the police as necessary. Facebook’s concern with its own brand here is straightforward: no one should think that the platform is harbouring criminals.”
So think twice when you drunk post on Facebook!
So what does this mean for us and our privacy? While there are some positives, what about the potential down side? Remember the movie – Minority Report? Tom Cruise and his police team would be able to anticipate crimes before they happened and arrest the future criminal…before they actually committed the crime. How would one feel to have big data “predict” that you are about to do something against the law…before you even do it. Is it worth to have a percentage of citizens be mislabeled to have a larger percentage of future crimes nipped in the bud? And what happens if big data predicts a crime and law enforcement does not act upon it…and it does happen?
It creates some very interesting issues. I think that this is an another example of Big Data and the potential it might hold, but also the dangers associated with advances in technology.
Another reason to be careful about what you post on Facebook!
I recently saw an interesting ad from Guitar Center –
This ad struck me as a great example of the changes we are seeing in retail. Why you might ask. All we hear about is the continuing battle between low cost – brick and mortar – online – home delivery and yes these will continue. And for the most part, the traditional brick and mortar stores are suffering. Stores like Best Buy are becoming show rooms for Amazon – consumers head to Best Buy, look at the products and then order at Amazon. Same goes for Barnes and Nobles – check out a book and order it at Amazon or get an e-version on Apple.
But there are those, like Guitar Center, who have made it their business to provide the experience. Going to the store is as much about purchasing product as it is about getting lessons, trying out new instruments or just hanging out with other musicians. This experiences adds a level of loyalty and stickiness that you cannot get via eCommerce. Think of how make up counters create an experience in department stores, or how golf shops have all types of services to capture your attention. Another example is how Microsoft, a bit to my surprise, has shown some success with their stores. Why? They make it all about the experience, and they really emphasis the Xbox and the video games. Great way to pull people in and hold their attention.
Now, not every type of retail can offer this experience. Some retail is subject to being a commodity and the experience is not as important. But retailers need to think about how they can make their brick and mortar footprints a destination, a place where patrons want to share in an experience. Otherwise they will simply serve as a show room for Amazon and other eCommerce giants.