I’d been feeling optimistic about Pringle. They’re backed by huge investment from the Far East and they seemed to be making all the right moves to shake off the TK Maxx, golf jumper image.
They have some fairly interesting collaborations, projects and online content. Their image was blossoming into that of a very premium women’s knitwear brand, and it would need to with their prices! Each time an email comes in I like to have a cheeky click and genuinely find myself shocked EVERY time at how much a company can charge for a sweater.
Pringle were getting some good online coverage and had some excellent press out of their stint at London fashion week. It all seems to have ground to somewhat of a halt though (bar the CSM collabs). Perhaps the investors are getting a little peeved at losing a cool 9M pa?!?!
So your budget has been slashed but you want to keep an air of exclusivity about the brand. Will it help to become a little more unattainable and mysterious? Keep the customer interested? Maybe this explains the state I found their website in on March 23rd!
They sent out an email to customers giving them an exclusive password for the all new Pringle website. I went on, had a snoop around. It’s all very clean and nice. They’ve done well with the site design although there were a few typos (jumpers listed as twinset? Last time I checked a twinset was 2 items) which could have been ironed out before the launch.
Then I started thinking, what about those without the password? I Googled Pringle and found that the homepage I was directed to was still the new site with the password protection. There was a message telling me the website was open to the public 23rd March (see image above). That was the day I was looking. I couldn’t get in. My heart sank. Any shopper looking for the site today would be greeted with a big no-entry sign, you’re not allowed in, you’re not part of the club. I thought I’d check out just how many people may have been affected using Google Adwords- careful not to bias my result with those searching for the moreish salty snack. Turns out it’s only around 500-700 a day. No biggie. But you don’t know who that shopper is. You might have just pissed of one loyal shopper who didn’t sign up to newsletter updates or a prospective first time customer.
I can see why Pringle might have initially thought it was a great idea to block entrance to the general public (So aspirational right now!), however I can understand how the plan actually went through to fruition. Why didn’t somebody say “Stop. No. This is a terrible idea. It’s the least commercial idea I’ve ever heard. We’re losing 9M a year, we can’t afford to turn customers away. We’re not ‘Louis Vuitton’ exclusive, we don’t have the brand power to be able to piss off customers and it still be brand building!”
The fact is that you can still go into bargain stores and pick up a cheap pack of Pringle socks, boxers etc and whilst that is the case I don’t think that they can pull off these sorts of premium, anti-commercial stunts. It’s clear they still have a core money maker in their bargain goods to fund the higher level side of the brand (through licensee or otherwise) but I think if they want to make it as a luxury brand they have to pull the plug on the cheap crap and work a little harder for their customers at the higher end instead of shutting them out.
I’m pleased to say that the new Pringle site is now open for business- to everyone! Whilst it seems a little slow and the product descriptions and photography could feel a little bit more special I think the site is looking really good.