- Canadian activewear brand Lululemon has revealed British fitness coach Joe Wicks as its new global ambassador. The deal kicks off with a content series hosted on The Body Coach’s 2.76 million subscriber-strong YouTube channel
- “We share a vision to ignite communities and inspire a generation to celebrate health in all forms, from physical to mental wellbeing,” said Michelle Davies, Lululemon’s VP of Global Sports Marketing & Partnerships
- The collaboration follows promising Q1 results that saw Lululemon’s total revenue increase by 88% to $1.2 billion, up from $652 million last year
VANCOUVER, Canada — Activewear giant Lululemon revealed British fitness coach and lockdown YouTube sensation Joe Wicks as its new global ambassador this month, in a bid to strengthen its experiential retail presence online.
The NASDAQ-listed company has become globally renowned for experiential retail, regularly hosting complimentary yoga classes, running clubs and workshops in its flagship stores, helping build a loyal following across North America and Europe.
The pandemic forced the company to shift this experience online, which, in part, led to Lululemon acquiring at-home fitness pioneer Mirror for $500 million last June.
Now, this latest partnership — which kicks off with an exclusive content series hosted on Joe Wick’s 2.76 million subscriber-strong YouTube channel, with in-person events to follow — is indicative of how the brand plans to grow sales both on and offline in the wake of COVID-19.
The future of experiential retail
The collaboration comes after promising Q1 results that saw brick-and-mortar sales rebound and total revenue increase by 88% to $1.2 billion, according to Gareth Pope, Lululemon’s General Manager for EMEA, up from $652 million last year.
However, the Canadian retailer is now looking to take a two-pronged approach to its experiential retail model, which will likely form the template that brands across the sector follow.
“The pandemic has led to a significant shift in the way our guests shop,” Pope told Welltodo. “E-commerce has gone from strength to strength. Alongside this shift in purchasing behaviours, we’ve met demand to create a more dynamic shopping experience by taking experiential retail online.”
Last year, Lululemon launched a virtual “sweatlife” community called Community Carries On, allowing guests to stay connected with the brand and fellow shoppers during store closures.
Yet, despite the success of e-commerce, Pope acknowledged the intrinsic role Lululemon’s stores have played in building its loyal community — and the success of its Mirror venture will likely hinge on a strong physical retail presence.
“We pride ourselves on the experience we provide our guests,” Pope said. “When it is safe to do so, we will resume these events as we know how important they are, not only to our brand purpose but also to our guests’ wellbeing.”
As lockdown restrictions gradually ease, Lululemon plans to adopt a “hybrid approach”, Pope said, with new innovations such as “omnichannel retail” — being able to buy online and collect in-store — further enhancing the customer experience.
“We expect the experiential elements of our physical retail format to return, in time — including classes and events that support people’s physical and mental wellbeing, and new innovations in omnichannel as guests blur the lines between physical and digital retail,” he said.
Pope added that in his role as a global ambassador, Joe Wicks would help drive the brand’s community-led approach, bringing new and existing guests into the fold.
Commenting on the partnership, Joe Wicks said: “I’m absolutely buzzing about becoming Lululemon’s new global ambassador. I’ve lived and trained in some of their products for years and the quality is just incredible. I’ve always loved their focus on community and local events.
“I share an ambition with the brand to help engage people in fitness, regardless of their background, age or ability. I’m looking forward to connecting with their communities, helping to inspire more people to feel fitter, happier and healthier.”
Elsewhere, recent patents for “biosensors” filed by the company and reported in Retail Dive suggest the brand is exploring ways to become even more deeply ingrained in the wellness of its customers.