Save the Crocs

By Robin Reck

I love Crocs.  These three words are things I never wanted, nor ever expected, to say.  But, alas, I have reached a point in my life where Crocs are an integral part of my daily life.  Now, don’t get ahead of yourselves…I do not personally own a pair but instead spend a lot of money (a lot) on Crocs (and Jibbitz) for my kids.  These shoes are remarkable. 

Like most single working parents, time is of the essence in the morning.  I do not have time to sit and slowly sing the bunny tie shoe song for my 5 year old.  Instead, I simply offer her one of many patterns, icons and styles of Crocs.  Even my 3 year old, who doesn’t know her left foot from her right, can easily put the shoes on.  They’re so wonderful that they’re comfortable even on the wrong feet.  Which is why I am so worried this fantastically ugly rubber shoe is going to disappear. 

On Monday, earnings reports came out and unfortunately, Crocs stock fell sharply after reporting a 43% drop in second-quarter profits.  Once a tremendously fast growing business, Crocs is now having problems, serious problems, with consumer interest waning.  So, I have thought long and hard (again, not something I ever thought I would do) about how to save the Croc…

1. Stop expanding.  Crocs’ has gone completely overboard with its rapid expansion.  There are kiosks now in malls that one can simply swipe their credit card and out come a pair of florescent purple Crocs.  Not okay and not savvy.  What’s the allure of buying a pair of shoes from a glorified vending machine?

2. Sell strategically and smartly.  Again, stop selling Crocs in every nook and cranny you can find.  I don’t want to buy my Hallmark cards and Crocs at the same place.  While it may be convenient for some, it’s not for me.  I like going into a department store or even a branded Crocs store to purchase Crocs.  I like seeing everything neatly displayed and with all the color options available.  Someone should assist me rather than the elderly card stocker.

3. Stay out of the fashion pages.  Anna Wintour is not going to be caught dead in Crocs, like ever, so stop making huge advertising buys in Vanity Fair, Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily.  Instead, focus on the demographics in Parents and Family Circle.

4. Know your audience.  Kids shoes make up 25% of Crocs’ sales.  This is your market, this is your niche!  Like I said earlier, I would never wear a pair but I can tell you my kids love them and so do most parents.  Keep partnering with Disney, Nick Jr. and other merchandising partners.  Who doesn’t want another pair of Princess Ariel Crocs?

5. CSR.  You do it, but you don’t accurately and convincingly convey your good work to the world.  Increasingly consumers want to see and hear about your good deeds (see Toms).  Put those stories out for public consumption; let them see why it’s best to buy your product because of your corporate social responsibility.