What Crocs Can Teach Retailers About Adapting to Consumer Demand
In 2020, few shoe styles have been collectively embraced like the Swiss-cheese holed plastic clogs we all know as Crocs.
- Crocs sales increased 48% this year while overall footwear sales declined 20%, according to NPD.
- Searches for Crocs jumped 32% MoM this October on fashion search engine Lyst.
Everywhere isn’t an exaggeration. Instagrammers were #influenced to buy strawberry patterned Crocs; Dead Heads snapped up tie-dye Crocs; Ryan Duffy, my colleague and Emerging Tech Brew writer, is the proud owner of electric pink Crocs.
Shoppers’ newfound fondness for the official shoe of rec swim coaches put Crocs in a unique position. “While it was important that we maintained a lean inventory position during the pandemic, we immediately recognized surging demand for our product,” Katie Wagner, VP of Sales, Americas at Crocs, told Retail Brew.
To keep up, “we leveraged our strong manufacturing and distribution partnerships to chase supply for key products,” Wagner said.
But how will the brand maintain—and extend—its streak?
Jibbitz and bites
Croc’s path forward is one it’s walked many times: “continued investment in clogs, sandals, Jibbitz charms, and our innovative comfort technology,” Wagner told me. But Crocs is also deploying a mix of exclusive products and wholesale placements to make Croctober a year-round event.
The channel angle: While Nike pulls its products off Amazon, Crocs hasn’t backed away from third-party marketplaces—and the new customers they offer.
- “The digital experience with our wholesale partners provides opportunities to reach more consumers where they are already shopping and highlight our brand in ways that align with what our consumers value,” Wagner told me.
The collab angle: Crocs’s formula isn’t that different from other brands, Wagner said. “[W]hat we’ve found is that strong, authentic collaborations with various artists and creatives is something that excites our existing customer base and expands our audience.”
- Authentic = partners who wore Crocs before they became America’s preferred outdoor slipper.
- That includes Justin Bieber (whose custom Crocs are reselling at a 20% mark-up) and Bad Bunny (whose Crocs collab sold out in 16 minutes last month).
Source: Retail Brew