Iloof: Expanding from Online to Offline Channels
(6 pages of text)
Iloof Technology Co. Ltd. was a Chinese start-up high-technology company at the forefront of the smart water bottle market, one of the newest sectors in the reusable water bottle industry. Smart bottles or cups, also known as interactive water bottles, were technologically advanced devices that had wireless communication capabilities to connect with electronic devices, such as smart phones. They also helped record and optimize the user’s water intake and develop healthy drinking habits. In 2016, after two years of research and development, Iloof Technology Co. Ltd. released its first smart water cup, the HeyDo S1, to great success. However, after three quarters of growth, sales slowed and the company’s founder considered expanding to traditional or offline channels to sustain growth. Could the company operate in both online and offline markets? What potential challenges would the company face in its sales channel expansion?
This case is suitable for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on operations management, supply chain management, e-commerce, marketing, or strategy management, particularly in a section that discusses marketing strategy for e-commerce. This case can also be helpful for classes that discuss branding management and channel strategies for start-up companies. This case outlines potential marketing strategies for start-up high-technology companies that do not have steady revenue and are unable to make further investment to maintain competitive advantage. The case analyzes how intelligent hardware companies can address operations, marketing, and supply chain management challenges. After working through the case and assignment questions, student will be able to
- understand the characteristics of the smart water cup industry;
- identify the opportunities and challenges facing this new industry in an expanding market;
- explain the pros and cons of the online and offline sales channels for the smart water cup industry; and
- discuss omnichannel operations.
China, Small, 2016
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