Yoga-wear retailer Lululemon is facing more problems than its too-sheer luon pants.
There’s also the matter of the competition.
While Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas are trying to get in on the game, Lululemon’s most notable rival is Gap’s Athleta brand.
Athleta is growing in popularity for a couple reasons. It’s lower-priced than Lululemon and hasn’t had the quality-control issues currently plaguing the retailer.
But Athleta wisely beats Lululemon in another aspect: its return policy.
Lululemon’s return policy is notoriously stringent.
The retailer doesn’t allow any returns after 14 days, even on gifts. And even if you do bring the item back in that time it has to be in mint condition with tags intact.
Lululemon CEO Christine Day told The Wall Street Journal that the policy has helped the brand sell 95 per cent of its product at full price. It creates the concept of scarcity.
Meanwhile, Athleta’s return policy allows shoppers to return anything, at any time, for any reason.
Here’s the return policy from its website:
“Give it a work out. Take it on a run. Wear it to the gym. Sweat in it. If you don’t love it, return it. Any time, any reason.”
A shopper recently told The New York Times’ Stephanie Clifford that the return policy was a key reason she went to Athleta over Lululemon.
“There, ‘you can return anything at any time for any reason,'” she told the Times. “And while she had made some returns, ‘it’s never been a quality issue.'”
Yelp reviews of Lululemon are full of angry customers who couldn’t return products, such as this one:
“Lululemon- when you wrong a customer and misinform them, it’s your job to make it right. Shame on you. You have lost a customer and many future purchases for failing to simply take back the pant so I can purchase the one I originally wanted but was told, incorrectly by your salesperson, doesn’t exist. I will be sure to give Lululemon top prize whenever the topic of horrendous customer service comes up.”
The strict return policy could exacerbate customer relations at a time when shoppers are already concerned about quality.
It’s also another reason for fitness enthusiasts to shop at Athleta.
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