Blue Ocean Strategy Sequence L.L. Bean

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Blue Ocean Strategy Sequence L.L. Bean
Caroline Pittman, Student (University), United States

The four steps of strategic sequencing for L.L. Bean's Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) begin with buyer utility and the six stages of the buyer experience. (Kim & Mauborgne, 2005, P. 121).
When I analyzed the buyer utility map in relation to internet or mail order shopping, I was able to notice the biggest blocks to non-customers quite easily. In the purchase stage, “risk” was one lever in particular that stood out:
- Non-customers may feel that internet shopping is not safe. L.L. Bean encrypts any banking information on their website.
- They may also worry that something they buy may not fit or serve the purpose they initially thought it would. This would be a risk in the “use” stage. L.L. Bean took care of this block also with a 100% satisfaction guaranteed. They offer a lifetime guarantee and advertise their products as “built to last”.
- They offer free shipping on sales and returns so the delivery aspect is simple and convenient with no risk. These policies have cut across the biggest blocks and offer exceptional utility for customers and non-customers.
In the “strategic pricing” step, L.L. Bean has priced their products in the low end of the “price corridor”, and they rely on volume sales, because their strategy is easy to imitate.
Cost: “Target costing” was accomplished by cutting costs in their manufacturing, distribution, and administrative departments. They streamlined distribution with the use of bar codes and RFID in their warehouses and used direct shipping from third party manufacturers. They utilized software to eliminate staff in their accounting departments.
When they got to the last step of “adoption”, they communicated to their employees and other stakeholders that their jobs were secure and the revenue streams were not in any danger of decreasing but rather that it would increase due to volume sales.

BOS Sequence for LL Bean
Chris Wiggins, Student (University), United States
Good examples of LL Bean engaging the 'risk' lever. The use of encrypted transaction data is an e-commerce necessity and will certainly make shoppers feel more secure about their purchase.
I think the 100% guarantee is their strongest factor, however. It helps close the sale since a customer knows they can simply send it back for a refund if they are not satisfied.



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