Lauren James co-founder on connecting to e-commerce customers

by Jennifer Joyner ( 236 views 

Lauren James Co. is primarily an online business, so the founders of the Fayetteville-based company have used free gifts, written lifestyle content and relatable ads in order to create a real-life connection between the brand and its customers. 

The tactic sets LJ apart from companies that mainly use social media, texts and email, in effect drowning out each other, said Lance Stokes, chief operating officer and co-founder with wife Lauren.

Stokes spoke on the subject “Connecting Digital Application to Tangible Experiences,” during a breakout session at the Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit on Oct. 7 at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.

The team is focused on enhancing the “in-box experience,” by including freebies like stickers, cups and magnets within the box containing a customer’s purchase.

LJ also provides a steady stream of online content that only sometimes promotes its products. Other times, the company produces lifestyle content that might interest the brand’s demographic, although not directly related to apparel. For instance, LJ has posted how to create a fall table-scape.

“We’re always thinking about our consumer in everything we do,” Stokes said.

LJ doesn’t measure the return on investment for each marketing move or each bonus promotional item sent out, he added. Instead, those gestures are made in good faith, with the hope that the company is building customer loyalty. 

Stokes’ strategy is: “Do things for your customer with no expectation of immediate return,” he said. “The apparel industry can be fickle, but we have an impact on people’s lives.”

The goal, he added, is to continue to “delight” customers after purchase. It lines up with the company’s trademarked tagline, “Your Day Just Got Better!”

 “Brick-and-mortar is not dead,” he said. “Experience and convenience are the only things that matter. Provide both and it’ll pay dividends.

“Retail is evolving. If you can’t connect with your customers on more than one medium, then you’re doing it wrong,” Stokes said.  

Lauren James was founded in 2013, and by the end of 2015 was one of the fastest-growing clothing businesses in the region. Its products are now sold in 600 stores throughout the country.

Earlier this year, Lauren Stokes said sales were projected to reach between $12 million and $15 million in 2016.