3 eCommerce Lessons From LuLaRoe’s Downfall

LuLaRoe was a force to be reckoned with as an eCommerce merchant a few years ago. Riddled with lawsuits and conspiracy, the once-booming clothing retailer has since hit its downfall.

LuLaRoe has an unconventional business model as a clothes retailer. LuLaRoe does not sell their products themselves, they sell through independent retailers worldwide. Through multi-level marketing (MLM), LuLaRoe requires their sellers to make an initial purchase of $5,000, to turn around and sell these products to customers.

LuLaRoe’s sellers price these items at a markup and sell them through their medium of choice. What LuLaRoe coins as, “a social retail model,” these sellers can create “shopping communities” in-person or online. A few years ago, LuLaRoe communities were commonly on Facebook: sellers would set up a group, a time for the sale, and then conduct the transactions themselves.

Now if there are alarm bells ringing in your head already, you have good instincts: this is a sketchy business model. As a company that provides eCommerce web design services, we could not agree more.

This unique way of conducting business has since caught up with LuLaRoe and they have been in many legal altercations: many accusing them of being a pyramid scheme, and violating sales taxes. LuLaRoe also received complaints about their quality and their refund policies.

So where did it all go all ‘LuLaWrong’ for LuLaRoe? What can we learn in the eCommerce industry from their mistakes? Here are three lessons that we can take away from LuLaRoe’s downfall:

  • You should be conducting business through a secure central medium

One of the most glaring issues with LuLaRoe’s business model is that they do not use a central secure medium to conduct their sales. There is no central hub that customers can return to for questions regarding their purchases. LuLaRoe conducts all of their sales through third parties.

Their company site is essentially a front, filled with graphics and photos, with no real substance. Customers can see items but have no way of purchasing them without an independent seller. Furthermore, the return policy detailed for LuLaRoe customers, is that they should, “Get in contact with the independent fashion retailer.”

So what purpose does the company site serve? Besides being aesthetically pleasing, I question its functionality otherwise.

This is one major takeaway from the LuLaRoe business model, you should be conducting your business through a secure central medium, to serve as the nucleus of the organization. With LuLaRoe, there is no core to their eCommerce business. You should be conducting your business through one consistent medium. Which can make an eCommerce business more efficient for you and your customers. As any eCommerce website design and development company will tell you!

This can increase your product and employee satisfaction. With LuLaRoe’s model, it was averaged that 70% of LuLaRoe representatives sold less than $5,000 worth of their retail goods. If business was conducted through their company site, LuLaRoe wouldn’t have inflicted this loss upon their retailers.

You should be conducting your business through a secure central channel, if you don’t want to make the same mistake as our dear friend, LuLaRoe.

  • You need to be prioritizing the safety of your customers

With LuLaRoe’s buying and selling process, as we detailed above— there are third parties involved. LuLaRoe does not have a single, secure channel that customers can complete their transactions and receive customer support.

In conducting their business through their independent sellers, LuLaRoe does not provide a safe channel to protect their customer’s information. LuLaRoe is not strict about which payment provider their independent retailers decide to use. Although they do not encourage their sellers to choose a new payment platform— there are no regulatory measures in place to prevent them from doing so.

As a result, there have been allegations that certain independent sellers have been swindling their customers. And with no secure payment avenue in place, LuLaRoe has made it easy for them to do so.

In the eCommerce industry this is something we can learn from, ‘less is more’ when it comes to outside parties. When it comes to handling sensitive customer data it should all be under one secure company platform.

  • You need to ensure the quality of your products

Aside from a rather blasphemous return policy, LuLaRoe does not provide a solid way to ensure product quality. As an eCommerce merchant, the most important thing you can do is: provide a quality product to ensure customer satisfaction.

LuLaRoe did not comply with this golden rule and has received multiple complaints about their product quality. There was no transparency from the company. LuLaRoe makes their independent retailers purchase their products, without seeing them first. Thus, the independent retailers have no way to ensure quality and sold these products to their customers. With this system: there was no check and balance regarding product quality.

Many customers complained about holes and weak quality of the products— primarily in their leggings. This issue was so significant, that the outraged customers banded together to start the Facebook group, “LuLaRoe Defective/Ripped/Torn Leggings and Clothes,” which boasts thousands of followers. When prompted about their quality control, LuLaRoe’s CEO simply responded, “We weaken the fibers to make them buttery soft. We have done all we can to fix them.”

As an eCommerce merchant, you should be listening to your customer’s complaints and making a product that is high quality. In eCommerce, learn from the mistakes of your fellow fallen retailers: ensure your product quality and listen to your customers.

You live, you learn

LuLaRoe has provided us with an example of what not to do in the eCommerce industry. With their flawed business model, it provides a learning experience for eCommerce providers everywhere.

If you would like to continue learning about what makes an effective eCommerce business, you should get in contact with a professional. Reach out to an eCommerce web development company, to ensure your company will be a success in the industry, rather than a flop.

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3 eCommerce Lessons From LuLaRoe’s Downfall

Beyond the Basics: Custom Icon Design

Icons are a small, but powerful feature to any website that can give users a lasting impression of a brand. While custom icons should blend and match with the rest of your branding and website design, they should stand out enough to get the user’s attention. Any company that offers user experience design services will probably recommend using custom iconography.

Although there are many websites that offer free icons to download, such as Flat Icon, Free Pik, and Icons8, using custom icons is a solid way to ramp up your brand. If you let your UX design company design custom icons for you, they will be available to use on the following:

– Website and Mobile App
-Blog Posts
-Print Material
-Company Swag
-Tradeshow Backdrops + Material
-Product Packaging
-Social Media Visuals

The list of places that you can use icons for can go on and on. If your business has a mobile application and a website, than pass the new custom assets along to your mobile app development agency and have them implement them into your design.

Be Original

People simply appreciate originality. All of the icons in the libraries of the above websites I mentioned, probably have the same ongoing list of icons, that tons of UX companies are using. You wouldn’t want to be the company that blends in with the rest of them, would you? I didn’t think so.

Be Clear and Usable

By using custom icons on your web pages and apps, chances are that the icons will be much more clear on what the message is trying to convey. For example, Codal is a mobile application development agency, offering iOS development services in the Swift language, instead of just using an iPhone to show off that we are iOS app developers, Codal could create a custom icon, incorporating Codal branding, along with elements that would show that that that we specialize in Swift.

How to Get Started?

Start planning and select a style

The first step to creating custom icons is to start thinking about the style, look and feel you want to go for. There are so many different routes of styles you could go, and you would want to make sure it aligns with the rest of your brand (fun versus corporate).

Gather resources

Once you have a plan and a style in mind, start looking for resources that specialize in custom icon design. As a user experience design agency in Chicago, we would love to sit down and have a consultation with you about your UX and brand experience.

Beyond the Basics: Custom Icon Design

Brief Comparison of Python and Other Programming Languages

More often than not, Python gets compared to other languages such as Perl, Javascript or C++. In this article, as a Chicago mobile app development agency, we will very briefly cover some comparisons between Python, and these other languages.

Realistically, the choice of a programming language is often in the hands of your application development agency. However, things like cost, training, timeline, can all be factors in choosing a software engineering language.

Javascript | Python

Python has an “object-based” subset that is very similar to JavaScript. Both of them support a style that uses very simplistic functions without including in class definitions. Anyone that offers Python development services would probably agree that Python supports much larger programs and applications.

Perl | Python

Both Perl and Python come from a similar background, Unix scripting. They also support a decent amount of similar features, but still have a dissimilar philosophy.

Perl highlights the support for typical app-oriented tasks, like file scanning and reporting. Whereas Python highlights support for ordinary coding methods, like data structure design; overall the methodologies involved with Python encourages developers to write clean and maintainable code.

Again, anyone that works for a Python development company would argue that Python and Perl come pretty close to each other, but Python goes way beyond Perl’s niche.

C++ | Python

Often times, Python code is typically 5-10 times shorter than C++ code. It has been stated that only Python developer, or Python development company can finish a project in two months, which is what two C++ engineers could not even complete in one year. Therefor, Python completely shines over the C++ programming language.

Brief Comparison of Python and Other Programming Languages

Follow These Steps Before Launching Your App

You’ve spent a lot of time and money on a mobile application development agency to build out your app, and now you’re ready to launch your app into the market! However, before you launch your mobile app, you have to prepare for launch that time and money could go all to waste.

Whether you are launching a brand new mobile app, or just launching a new design, or even a new feature, here are a few steps that we would recommend taking prior to launching.

Understand your target market

You didn’t utilize iOS development services for nothing! Knowing your target audience is a must; or chances are that your application may not be successful. Knowing what your target market wants, what their pain points are, and what is important to them is a solid foundation for the rest of your launch plan.

You need to understand their behaviors and their attitudes towards similar apps, or even similar features that are in different, competing applications. Typically, this is also some of the research that a UX design company will conduct.

Some questions that you should be asking yourself are as follows: who did you build your app for? What solution are you providing? What is the value that you’re providing?

Knowing the answers to these questions will position your app in a way that will deliver the correct messages to the correct group of people.

Set goals for your launch

Here at Codal (Chicago mobile app development), we always recommend defining what your success criteria is before creating a marketing plan. Without this criteria, you may not know if you app is succeeding or not.

Also, every team may have a different idea of what “success” means to them. Your goals do not have to be complicated, keeping it simple also works great. Some metrics you can use are:

  • Number of app downloads
  • Number of reviews
  • Average ratings
  • Amount of in-app purchases

Prepare a marketing plan

There are a lot of things that can go into your marketing plan. Below are just a few.

Content Promotion

Start creating content around your new design, new features, or your entire new app! Create a content calendar with dates of when you will release and promote certain content. With a consistent content calendar and consistent promotion of the content, your app should be in good shape when you launch.

Press Releases + PR

Start contacting PR companies, reporters, or influencers to start your journey with PR. This will get your app attention, and ultimately help you reach your goal. It is best to create a press kit so that it is easy for reporters and journalists to write about your app. Most mobile app design companies should be able to recommend you a good PR firm.

Landing Page + Website

If your app doesn’t already have a website or landing page, it definitely needs one (WordPress is always a good option for a simple marketing website.) If you already have one, than work with your WP design and development company to update your website to reflect the changes you’re making on the mobile application.

What’s next?

Now it’s time to launch your release of your mobile application! Pay attention to your metrics that your team decided to track. All mobile app’s should be updated quite frequently in order to keep your users engaged and interested.

Follow These Steps Before Launching Your App

Minimalism in Mobile App Design: Part 1

As a mobile app development company, we always have to stay on top of industry trends, and consider what users and consumers actually want while they are using their mobile applications on their smartphone.

In a recent survey that we conducted (part of our ux services), we found that users want minimalism. They want a simple, easy-to-use interface that doesn’t include anything besides what it needs to. Of course the design always needs to be usable, but being consistent and clear is sometimes just as important.

Below are a few simple ways that you can design your mobile application taking a minimalistic approach.

Typography

I great rule of thumb when designing a mobile application, is to stick with one font. Using different fonts can make the application’s interface look confusing and sloppy. Just from a quick glance at the two screens below, it is obvious that the screen to the right looks cleaner and more usable.

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Instead of playing around with the different fonts, play with the weight of the font. This can add more detail to the design, while not completely ruining it. The size of the font can also be changed to make certain text appear more important (or less) than other content.

Apple and Google both do this on their platforms, which also means it is a proven method that works, and all mobile app design companies should follow.

Whitespace

Many people assume that too much whitespace is a bad thing; it get’s criticized quite often. However, what people don’t understand is that whitespace is actually a powerful tool that can control what a user looks at on a website or app.

It can bring focus to a certain element on a screen, and can even organize a screen into different sections or elements. If you need to empasize something on a screen, you can use whitespace to do so.

Using whitespace also means you can take a minimal approach to the design on your app; and it is not a bad strategy.

Conclusion

When seeking out UI design services, you should keep some of these factors in mind while going through the UX design agency’s portfolio.

The fonts should stay consistent throughout the entire interface of an application, while you should utilize more white space than you may think. In part 2 of this article, we will explore different factors of minimalism in mobile app design.

Minimalism in Mobile App Design: Part 1

Introducing Innovation Days to Your Project

The mobile app development agency that I work for, Codal, recently introduced a new project exercise called iDays (or Innovation Days).

An Innovation Day is an extremely collaboaration ideation session that takes place in the discovery phase of a project. However, it is different than just any brainstorming session mostly because of who is involved. Typically, we will involve our ux ui research team, chicago app developers, visual designers, and even the clients.

The ideas that come from these Innovation Days are diverse in a sense, the approaches that a developer, versus the end user or the designer may take could all be different. However, it’s good to receive perspectives of all parties in order to come up with the best, most usable ideas.

How do you run an iDay?

Once the team that is participating has been assembles, it’s time to collect your materials. You’ll need post it’s (as a UX design company, we go through tons of post it’s per week), questions, prompts, and a timer.

The prompts are usually kept general and open ended. An example prompt could be “what do you think about the menu?”

On the other hand, some prompts can be much more detailed. When an iDay is conducted after a research phase, questions will be much more specific. For example, in a dating app project at Codal, research found that user’s may sometimes feel unsafe while using any type of dating app. A great prompt after this research could be “how can we make the user feel safe while using the app?”

Once a prompt is posed, everyone has “X” amount of seconds to write down as many ideas as they can on post it notes. Once the timer is up, each iDay participant goes around and discusses their ideas. Typically these ideas spark a meaningful conversation about their ideas and solutions.

The leader of the iDay then takes the post it note and places it in a category on the whiteboard. Once everyone has shared their ideas,another prompt is given, and the cycle starts again.

Once an iDay is completed, the room is completely filled with sticky notes.

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It is then the UX designers job to break down the data that was received from the iDay. Both qualitative and quantitative data are usually collected.

Introducing iDays into our Software Development Lifecycle has allowed Codal to come up with very scalable and innovative solutions.

Introducing Innovation Days to Your Project

Ways to Improve Traffic To Your Website Through Marketing Efforts

Having a strong digital presence across industries is becoming more and more important to the success strategy of a business. Engaging with a web development agency on ways to not only establish a digital presence, but to to make that digital presence current is the first step in achieving an optimal digital marketing strategy.

Below outlines some of the major components that contribute to an effective digital strategy. Incorporating all these elements in a digital plan of action is the most dynamic way to build your brand and increase traffic in the digital sphere.

It Starts With The Website

Although a fairly obvious statement, but to have a digital presence, on the most basic level you need a website. Regardless if you are selling products and fall under the category of “e-commerce” or just simply want to have a presence with a marketing website, being visible, findable and usable is key.

In the initial stages of developing your website, it is almost mandatory to hire a UX design agency so that your website is built for the specific user.

From color scheme, layout, features, and consumer pathway, user experience research services have the tools and testing capabilities you need to design the best experience for your target audience.

Display Ads

In almost all digital marketing plans is the inclusion of display ads. Although the movement of display ads is to be more relevant and targeted to the consumer, enter programmatic advertising.

Programmatic advertising to the process of ad buying that uses software and data to purchase ad space. This allows advertisers to be both dynamic and interactive in the ads that are created and served to the user.

Since ads can now be interactive, but the goal of getting the user to click through to a redirected page is still the same, the ads in and of itself need to be usable. This leads to the importance of using a UX design company for the creation of ads, not just design the website.

Search: Paid and Organic

Implementing a strong search strategy is becoming a top priority for many companies. As users are looking towards search engines to answer, offer suggestions, and provide endless amount of information, making sure your organization’s offerings is included is critical.

Having the combination of both paid and organic search greatly improves visibility and findability of your website. To organically rank, a robust and time intensive strategy needs to be implemented, one that can grow and continue; as investing in organic is investing in the long term.

Contrarily, paid search is for that immediate quick result, but one that requires payment for each click. Depending on budget, resources and timeframe will be the determining factors on how to tackle the search beast. Although since search is rather a difficult endeavor, enlisting IT strategy consulting may be necessary.

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs

Providing valuable and thought provoking content is super influential in establishing credibility and actively engaging the user beyond looking at the products or services that are offered.

Especially in an industry where decisions are more thought out and less immediate, for example being mobile app development company, continually providing why your company is superior will increase conversions on the site.

More importantly, continually updating the blog on a regular basis, posting the articles on social or an email campaign will give the users new material and another reason to visit the site on an ongoing basis.

Conclusion

Having a strong digital presence is essential to sustain a competitive advantage. Although since digital covers an array of practices, honing in on the important strategies is key for improving traffic to the website and ultimate long term digital sustainability.

Looking for more insight on UX design services? Are you wanting to develop an app and you need to know the cost of developing an app is? Visit Codal’s blog, or come talk to us on go@codal.com! We’d love to hear from you.

Ways to Improve Traffic To Your Website Through Marketing Efforts