Some interesting news articles have surfaced recently about some changes going on at lululemon HQ. I’m a bit of a nerd, so I find the business side of things interesting. Plus, nestled into those articles are some interesting tidbits about some things we can expect from lulu in the next few months to one year.
According to two different articles from The Globe And Mail and Huffington Post, lululemon will be rolling out a loyalty program in 2015. The articles imply that the reason this hasn’t happened sooner is that they simply have no way to track repeated orders from the same customer through their current system. Evidently, former CEO Christine Day was against collecting customer data, which I would call a pretty big oversight that shows a bit of ignorance about the depth and breadth of the lululemon fan community. An overhaul of their ordering/order tracking system is no small feat, however, so it’s no wonder that it will take some time before we see it go live.
Another system they are working to improve is inventory. As many of us have personally experienced, inventory management is a huge weakness in the company and a cause of a lot of headache for both customer and company. Sometime in 2015, lululemon is planning to have a singular inventory system, which I would speculate to mean one inventory system for purchases made anywhere in the world. This would be fantastic for those of us who get incredibly frustrated by the inability to order something from Canada to the US and vice versa. (It would be especially awesome if this inventory were similar to Nordstrom’s system, which includes inventory at all of their stores!)
On the product side of things, Chip Wilson, who still owns almost 30% of the company, has been voicing frustration with the board of directors. He used his stake to vote against 2 important members of the board of directors on the grounds that they’re taking the company in what he believes to be the wrong direction. He has said he wants the board “to focus more on long-term objectives and product innovation rather than just short-term results.” In a similar vein, a retail analyst noted that we customers “are growing impatient with the “lack of newness” and “lack of depth” among the merchandise.” I have to say I agree with all of this.
Thankfully, a lot of the crappy or basic products we’ve been seeing are reported to be on their way out. According to a Wall Street Journal article, “fashion” pieces only account for 20% of what lulu is putting out right now, but by later this year, that number should rise to 50%. This has resulted in a 23% increase in inventory in stores and online, something fans have definitely noticed as very few styles are selling out quickly. The newly hired chief product manager says she has been “has been chasing prints and working to improve the beauty of lululemon’s core products“. Sounds good to me!