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How Lululemon Squeezes Success from Several Key Online Ingredients

One of the greatest opportunities online marketing offers us is the ability to measure results. In fact, almost every aspect of a digital campaign can be tweaked to help add website visits, increase conversion rates, and in general improve overall return on investment (ROI).

It’s these metrics that help you define the success and failure of your online efforts.  However, success comes not from the numbers themselves but the steps it takes to get there.

And some just seem to do it better than others. For example, consider Lululemon Athletica. The yoga-wear company has bucked analysts’ predictions as of late to see its shares increase 36.5 percent in 2011, and an impressive 143 percent over the past 12 months.

How does a relatively young upstart make such a big splash in a space long dominated by big brands and even bigger box stores?

“You can see on their website and in their stores, they have built a very strong and distinct lifestyle brand that resonates with consumers and feels like an extension of who they are (or want to be),” says Mary Elise Chavez, director of Creative Strategy at Blue Fountain Media.

lululemon athletics

Chavez, who recently was asked by Reuters to conduct an assessment of Lululemon’s brand online, believes Lululemon’s ability to carry this in-store experience over to its online presence has been key to its recent success.

“Providing a unified branding structure deeply resonates with consumer’s lifestyle concerns,” she said.

Where Lululemon hits the mark

In addition to an ability to bridge the gap from in-store experience to online, Lululemon is very adept at creating a sense of community and remaining in consumers’ minds beyond the point of purchase through the company’s strong lifestyle brand ethos.

The Vancouver-based company focuses on educating the consumer and this, in turn, adds value and credibility to the brand, according to Chavez.

Check out this great example with video by Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson.

Other keys to creating a sense of community is the use of a blog, and positioning consumers as ambassadors for the Lululemon brand.

“Who better to speak about your brand than passionate consumers,” says Chavez.  “A peer-to-peer voice is much more powerful these days than a corporate voice.”

Areas of opportunity

Of course, even the most sophisticated ecommerce sites are continually tweaking their pages to make sure their ROI is optimized.

One way for Lululemon to optimize further, according to Chavez, is organic search engine optimization rankings and targeted landing pages to help drive traffic and conversions.

“Conversion optimization is necessary to assure site traffic is converting and there is a low abandonment rate,” says Chavez.

One way to achieve this is goal is by integrating social media to add product and brand exposure through word of mouth.  What our friends and peers think is already weighed more heavily when search delivers us relevant information (think Facebook’s Like Button and Google+1). By utilizing social media tools that target recommendations based on what friends “Like”, Lululemon would more likely increased conversations stemming from a trusted source.

A sure way to pull larger groups of buyers in would be through incentive-based events like the Flash Sale.  While companies like Gilt have had great success providing “ instant insider access”, Chavez says Lululemon’s brand would benefit from the more controlled approach employed by Oscar de la Renta .

Using QR Codes / Stickybits  is also a great way to empower consumers with access to exclusive information, tips, coupons, shipping deals and promotions by simply scanning with a smart phone, according to Chavez.

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