Monday, November 5, 2007

Crocs - What's Next?

The Crocs Story:
In 2002, Scott Seamans discovered an oddly shaped clog developed for use in day spas. The shoe had been created by the Canadian company Foam Creations (a company Crocs, Inc. now owns). Although the product design was unusual and had attracted his attention, Seamans was most interested in its material composition. The shoes were made out of a waterproof, lightweight, and bacteria/fungus resistant resin, PCCR (now called “Croslite”).

Thinking the clogs would make good boating shoes (holes allowed for air flow and water drainage), Seamans added a strap to the back, and took them on a trip to the Caribbean. While there, he presented the shoes to two friends (one a former hardware sales exec, the other a former Quiznos exec). After talking about the strange clogs, and believing there was a marke for themt, the three friends decided to start a company together. They branded the shoe “Crocs” due to its odd shape and took product samples to boating shows to introduce them to the public. People were at first hesitant to embrace the clogs because they thought they were ugly. However, once they tried a pair on and wore them around, people became converts and Crocs was an instant hit.

Communicating the Brand Image
The Crocs brand communicates images of child-like fun, and quirky, fashion rebellion. Most of its shoe models could be considered whimsical and toy-like, boasting bright colors and a cartoonish appearance, with blown-up looking rounded toes. The design of the brand’s most popular models, clogs called “Beach” and “Cayman,” are amorphous in shape, often called ugly, and made fun of by most who have never worn a pair. The shoe design is so distinct it causes instant polarization amongst consumers. Consumers either love or hate the shoes. Those who love them believe if you’re brave enough to wear them in public, you must be cool. Those who hate them, however, have created websites like “,” YouTube videos lighting the shoes on fire, and t-shirts showing Crocs clogs being attacked by scissors.

Crocs are made for comfort and the company claims the shoes have the coziness of flip flops but with arch support and toe protection. Various design cues reflect these claims, from the soft, pliable, light-weight material that loosely molds to feet when warm, to the puffed-marshmallow-like curves of the shoes’ styling. The products’ no-frills designs (simple styling, solid colors, smooth surfaces) go along with company claims of Crocs being easy to maintain, non-marking, slip resistant, and dishwasher safe.

The brand goals for Crocs are for its products to be all-purpose and appeal to an extremely wide market, from babies to grandmothers. To help make its product appeal to the masses, Crocs offers varying levels of customization. Besides offering over 20 models and a variety of colors, the brand has licensing deals with Disney, NASCAR, and colleges, and people can adorn their shoes with “Jibbitz,” snap-in, button-like charms. Additionally, the high-tech material and animal referencing “Croc” name suggest eco-consciousness.

When Crocs were introduced, they were sold in small shoe stores. However, their popularity helped move them to national distribution with Nordstrom and Dillard’s. The shoes are generally easy to locate, but are still primarily sold at specialty garden, gift and sporting goods stores (Hallmark, Dick’s Sporting Goods), and upscale shoe and department stores. They can also be purchased direct from Crocs (online). In-store displays of the shoes generally show them hanging from a rack (no box, within reach of customer hands), which further enforces the brand claim of accessibility. The Crocs’ distribution strategy is not unusual, although their price point is distinct and further enforces the brand desire to be a shoe for all people. Many shoe makers will push the base selling price of trendy shoes upwards. Crocs, however, wants their product to be accessible to many people, so the base price point for their shoes is $30.

So...What's Next?
Knowing that the market for trendy shoes might be short-lived, Crocs has branched out into other products like t-shirts, hats, socks, and bags. Unfortunately these offerings don’t reflect or use the proprietary “Croslite” material upon which the Crocs’ brand has been build. Instead of growing these products, I think Crocs should expand their “gear” line-up (which currently only consists of knee pads and garden kneelers). Croslite’s sanitary properties (bacteria/fungus resistant), and the brand’s use of bright colors, provides Crocs with the opportunity to move into many other “gear” related products like shin guards, mouth guards, beach toys, baby items (teethers, bath toys, pacifiers) and even dog toys.
Current Gear offered by Crocs:
Potential Products Crocs could market:

1 comment:

Siti Mcnally said...

this was helpful for my project. thanks!