L.L.Bean Takes First Steps Out of Northeast – 2/27/08
L.L.Bean already has a national franchise with consumers placing orders every day from the retailer’s catalogs and website. Now the chain is looking to build on the third piece of its multi-channel strategy by opening its first new stores outside the Northeast. Ultimately, the company is looking to open 32 new locations by 2012. It currently operates 12 stores in nine states as well as a number of outlet locations.
Discussion questions: What role do you see physical stores playing for L.L.Bean, a company that has established itself in catalog and online sales? Should there be concerns that a rapid expansion of its store base will somehow detract from the reputation L.L.Bean has built with consumers? What must it do to keep the brand experience consistent across all channels?
L.L.Bean’s terrific reputation and customer loyalty will be put to the test as they expand out of the Northeast. The key will be how they train the far-flung managers and staff on the “L.L.Bean way.” I would love to see them take a page from The Container Store’s playbook and provide that level of training and compensation to ensure truly indoctrinated and well-paid employees. One more nationwide “experience” outdoor store is likely to struggle without fanatic employees.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist
GO TO THE FULL DISCUSSION AT RETAILWIRE.COM:
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