Lululemon shorts sold online for $480: What currency is it anyway?

A recent Lululemon ad make its rounds online has raised eyebrows for a minute yet important detail – the price of its products. The ad in question surprised some netizens for having a pair of shorts which cost SG$480. However, the brand was later clarified by another netizen that the price was stated in Hong Kong dollars, not Singapore dollars. This followed with a request for the correct link to the Singapore site.

A quick check by Marketing found while there was full disclosure on its official Facebook page that prices were in fact in Hong Kong dollars. However, it was not found to be the same case for its sponsored ads.

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In a conversation with Marketing, a lululemon spokesperson said that feedback has also been raised to both the e-commerce team and ad-buying team sitting in its Hong Kong office.

“We are looking at evolving into creating more currency options as we expand across Asia but our technical solutions doesn't allow for Singapore dollars at this point. We apologise for the inconvenience during this period of transition,” the spokesperson said.

With more and more brands looking online to build their store and customer bases, ensuring a seamless customer experience is a top priority. Just earlier this month, furniture brands IKEA and Courts upgraded their online store experiences to better meet the needs of customers.

In a conversation with Marketing, Prantik Mazumdar, co-founder of Happy Marketer, said that e-commerce brands need to be sensitive to the needs of the local market. This includes product portfolio, delivery options or pricing. He added that this is quite surprising for a brand operating in the Singapore market, which is quite savvy.

“If Lululemon is running ads which target users in Singapore, it would only be right to have prices in Singapore dollars so users do not have to worry about foreign exchange conversion rates,” he added.

Agreeing with him is Jeffrey Lim, general manager of Carbon Interactive who also said the problem is not a common one for e-commerce sites as well as social media ads which are able to be localised.

"In many cases, if you are targeting and trying to create a seamless e-commerce experience, there should be an IP tracker installed to take into account where customers are coming from," he said. He added that the problem of having a different currency would definitely hamper the customer experience as it might decrease the chances of a sales conversion and also cause some potential loss of brand trust.

This is because if this is a targeted ad, there is an assumption from the user that this was customised and personalised for them. However, if they are unable to find the information or the exact price it would be harder to convince customers to spend on your e-store.

Ultimately, e-commerce is about trust, and if I land on an online store in a currency that I don’t spend in and can’t figure out what it means in my native currency, I am less likely to consider purchase.