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There are some new, service-oriented offerings available in the newly open, flagship, Manhattan-area Lululemon store. Approximately one-third of the store will not be retail space, in the traditional sense. Instead, concierge services, available to recommend a nearby gym or help shoppers book class time, will take up part of the facility. On another floor, the Hub Seventeen concept will create space for yoga classes, demonstrations, concerts, and other community-building events.

Thus far, these two innovations are available only in the Manhattan store. But Lululemon believes that it can increase the sense of community surrounding its stores in various areas, especially with its concierge service. Concierges on staff would suggest places in any local area where shoppers could take a jog or find a healthy meal. In invoking this sense of community, Lululemon hopes to become a new “third place” for its consumers and fans, such that they might feel comfortable stopping by to have a cup of tea and relaxing in the store for a while, even if they are not ready to buy a new mat or workout gear immediately.

177479053-SAlthough the Hub Seventeen space may be less likely to expand throughout the chain, it similarly implies the company’s effort to make its stores more than just retail outlets. In particular, with the offer of yoga classes, Lululemon gives its customers what they clearly want, namely, a space to practice the type of exercise for which they already have purchased the gear.

Such efforts seemingly reflect an attempt to overcome some bad press that the company recently suffered, including that resulting from thoughtless comments by a former executive, who implied that overweight people were not the company’s target market. Lululemon also invoked serious customer complaints when it raised the price of a popular pant style, as well as when consumers discovered a production error, such that multiple batches of its yoga pants were embarrassingly transparent.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How should Lululemon market its new concierge services?
  2. How should it price those services?

Source: Adrianne Pasquarelli, “Lululemon Tries New Store Concept in Efforts to Woo Shoppers,” Advertising Age, November 17, 2015; Mallory Scholossberg, “Lululemon Has Unveiled Its New Store of the Future,” Business Insider, November 18, 2015