0

85: Crystal’s Tread Has Arrived Plus An Interview With Abby Blake And Jen Parker

TCO 85 | Retail For Peloton

 

Marketing is a huge challenge for all brands. However, it becomes less of a hassle when you understand the magic of a community. Here to talk about what it’s like working for retail at Peloton and what strategies they are using are Abby Blake and Jen Parker, SVPs of Retail for Peloton. Crystal and Tom O’Keefe give an update on an upcoming fun event started by one of Pelotonia’s members. They also share some experiences on the new tread, the top rides of the year, and the Android app.

Listen to the podcast here:

Crystal’s Tread Has Arrived Plus An Interview With Abby Blake And Jen Parker

What have you got in store for people?

We’re going to talk about a new fun event coming up. It is started by one of our members in Pelotonia. We’re going to talk about that. We are going to talk about the fact that my Tread came and all the updates about that and how my experience went. We’re going to talk about the Android app because it’s here too. There was some new content that dropped. Denis was spotted somewhere. There is lots of rumors happening. We need to discuss it. There was a fun article that we found that talked about Peloton’s top rides of the year and our interview with Abby Blake and Jen Parker that took place at the St. Louis opening.

We have lots and lots to do. Before we get to that, don’t forget, we’re available on Apple Podcasts. We’re also available on Spotify. We got to be everywhere.

You had to be asked to get on Spotify. There was a brief window and we were in that window for two seconds.

For four days, we were ahead of the curve and then they opened it up to everybody.

I’m pretty sure they were like, “We already know we’re opening it to everybody. You let them in.”

I thought I was special for a moment and then everybody took a crack at it. We are also on Stitcher or wherever you want to get your podcasts, you can find us. Don’t forget Facebook.com/theclipout. You can like the page, join the group, stay up-to-date and all that stuff. Let’s dig in.

It’s PeloFondo.

We’re going to have our first Annual Peloton Fondo and it is courtesy of Nathan Wehrman. He has put together a PeloFondo. This is going to be so fun. Do you have any idea what a PeloFondo is?

No.

Have you ever heard of the Gran Fondo?

No.

It’s a biking tour and they do 100 miles on purpose and everything. It’s outdoors, but we’re going to do it indoors. You can sign up to ride together as many miles as you want. The idea is that we’re going to ride all day and you’re going to ride real easy in zone 2 or 3. We’re not going to get all heart rate crazy. We’re going to take it nice and easy. You can ride anywhere from five miles all the way up to 100 miles or you can hop on and ride as time permits. You can fill out a form so we know who you are. You can put a little hashtag out there called #PeloFondo and then put however many miles you’re doing. If you’re doing 100 miles, you’d say #PeloFondo100 and we would know you’re going to do 100 miles that day.

I would do like #PeloFondozero?

Yes, if you had a leaderboard name and then you would ride from 9:00 AM Eastern, you would ride until you get to your destination mileage, whatever that was going to be. There’s no winner.

The winning is participating.

It is. It’s because we’re all riding together. We’re going to cheer each other on. We’re going to keep it cool. You’re going to have a nice low power output but a lot of miles that day and a lot of fun. It’s going to be cool. There is a group and it’s called PeloFondo. If you can’t find it, let me know. You can ask me. You can also ask Jacqui Cincotta or Nathan Wehrman who’s putting this all together.

You have a personal guarantee within this group there will be no Viet Cong.

I wonder what are we talking about?

I’m so excited.

Your Tread got here.

It did. It arrived. I was so nervous because I’ve read a lot of horror stories. A lot of wonderfully non-consequential deliveries have occurred, but there have been some notable ones that have been very scary.

Most people don’t go on the interwebs to be like, “Everything went fine, just letting you know.”

I knew that we were going to have a delivery from XPO which can be a little dicey. You’ll never know what you’re going to get. My Bike delivery was beautiful. There was not one thing wrong with it. It was perfect.

They had delivered a bunch by the time you ordered the Bike.

I was not at the early end of this curve.

It was old hat whereas this is new hat.

TCO 85 | Retail For Peloton

Retail For Peloton: Pelofonda is an indoor biking tour for as many miles as the rider wants.

 

It was new hat for me. As I found out, they had already delivered a ton in Missouri. The guy was way down the list.

If you sit there and think, “Clip Out Crystal probably gets also.” No.

I ordered within twenty minutes and I was not at the beginning of that list. They had already done tons and that means that my delivery was smooth as silk. They brought it in. Luckily, I only had to go downstairs. They explained to me that going upstairs is hell with that thing and going downstairs is much easier. They had a nice little sled technique going down the stairs where one guy was at the bottom bracing himself against each step so that it didn’t crash into the wall. I’ve heard it done at some people’s houses. That’s going to be a whole team in and of itself like that. They earned that Bike delivery fee and they got a tip because they deserved it. They were in and out of here super-fast. It was beautiful. I have no complaints.

They raved about Peloton owners.

They did. They said, “Peloton owners are the best tippers. Hands down, I deliver a ton and nobody cares.” I show up at something Peloton. Everybody’s like, “My Peloton delivery is here,” every time. I was getting live updates because our friends that live here in St. Louis, Stacy Dawn, who we met through the Peloton St. Louis group, she was getting live updates. Her Tread got delivered first. All morning, I’m getting, “They’re on their way. The box is here. It went great.” She told them who I was and that they were coming to my house next. When I got the call, they’re like, “We’re over here at your friend Stacy’s and we’re on our way.” It was great. They thought it was hilarious and they were having tons of fun.

You already took a ride or a run?

I have done three. We got it on Monday. I told my boss I took a little lunchtime run. It was twenty minutes. I did a quick boot camp.

You were technically working from home.

I was working from home, but it was over lunch. By the end of the day, I was ready to go again. I was very excited. I got to take my first live tread with Matty Maggiacomo and we did a 60-minute boot camp. I say we because Mrs. TheFred, her actual leaderboard name is RunSpinRun and it’s Leslie Wachter. She was like, “You have to take your first tread tonight.” She got on to go with me. We treaded together and I got a surprising amount of high fives from people that were on. It was so cool. There are only 26 people on the leaderboard and I was at the bottom but I had a blast. It was so much fun.

You got a very nice shout-out from Matty.

Matty gave a great shout-out. Tom got a shout-out. He’s like, “Where’s Tom? Is he in the room eating a sandwich while you do this, Crystal?” I took another one on Wednesday morning. It was a boot camp and then I did an interval’s run. It was a twenty-minute boot camp and then a twenty-minute interval run. It was an intermediate interval run and I found out I’m not ready for intermediate. I did not know my heart rate could get up to 180 and stay there. I was a little concerned. I was like, “Matty, what did I do wrong?” He was like, “Calm down. It’s going to go down as you continue to condition.”

He steered you to work towards one of the classes for the elderly.

He didn’t say that yet but thanks, Tom. Don’t give him any ideas.

We have a special class for the infirm.

It’s been a blast. It has been so much fun. I absolutely love it. It is everything I thought it would be and it’s beautiful. Just so everyone is aware, people who have shakes, it doesn’t shake, etc. I have zero problems with the shaking. There is a noise coming from it. It’s not silent.

It’s a machine.

Yes, but it is by no means like the monitor shaking even at fast speeds. Even going all the way at twelve, it was not crazy shaking. I was not on the tread when it turned into twelve because I would never have been able to stay on the tread if I turned it up to twelve. We’re starting off. It’s going to be a great addition to our household. Even the kids were hopping on. Your son, Brian, already took his first run. He was super excited. He did it with bare feet. He was going faster than I was. He loved it. Sydney might walk on it. You never know.

She’s more like me which is odd since she’s your child and not mine. When it comes to physical movement, she gets that from me.

Try this. It is wonderful.

If that wasn’t as exciting enough for you, the Android app has arrived.

It has and just in time for our trip because I’ll be able to do yoga. I could do an outdoor run with any of the instructors. I probably won’t because we’re going to do a lot of walking. The Android app is here and it is the unreleased version. It means that they’re not done. They haven’t put all of the features in it.

It’s a Beta. You can’t release something and then call it unreleased. That’s like if somebody puts a video on YouTube and calls it rare. No, it’s not. It’s on YouTube now.

It doesn’t have all the features in it that it will have eventually. It’s out there. It can be used and downloaded. It’s beautiful to behold. You can go in and you can select that class you’re going to take and it’s so cool. You can see your shout-outs and you can record them right on there. It’s no more of this baloney that we had to do before. It’s so much easier. We’re getting caught up. Peloton has delivered on all their promises.

Yes, it is also, I should point out, still the fall.

I want to be serious about this because it is creating quite a bit of drama for those people who have not gotten their Tread, who ordered back in January. At this point, there are people who ordered in November and December that have delivery dates. There are people that never got it from January. I understand there’s going to be some differences there. What I don’t understand is how it can be that significant. How did you whip through so many people? Let’s say the DC market or Rhode Island, you had so many that came in and then you sold them all. You brought them all out, but you can’t get to Omaha. I don’t understand. It’s not that far.

I don’t know. It must be how many you’ve ordered there.

The future of showrooms lies in the opportunity to let people experience it for themselves. Click To Tweet

I feel like Peloton is doing their best. I want to be clear about that, even when I was at my most frustrated with not having my Tread. I know that and I knew that then. I will say this, I think that Peloton could make their own lives easier if they could figure out when they’re getting to that market. If it’s three more weeks, it’s three more weeks, then tell people that.

You could say, “Sorry, it’s going to be another three weeks. Here’s $100 for the boutique,” or something.

If it’s going to be three months, you need to tell people that because they need to wrap their heads around that rather than every week think there are 1,000 more people that announced they got their tread and I’m not one of them. It’s very upsetting when you’re waiting. Good luck to everybody out there. I hope that you get your Treads very soon so we can run together. It’s going to be fine.

You’re going to hop on there too, Tom?

There’s more new content.

There is. A bunch of new outdoor runs dropped. Selena Samuela, she has a 30-minute ‘80s rock fund run. There are also new runs from Andy Speer, Oliver Lee, Rebecca Kennedy, Olivia Amato and Robin Arzon, all new content.

When you take an outdoor run, do they tell you when to turn around and head back?

They tell you you’re halfway. I’ve only done one because this was before they had the Android app. It was difficult to get that. It was very complex. I did run and it was one of Matt Wilpers’ runs. What he did is he broke it down into four segments. I did a 60-minute because it was when I was training for the thirteen miles. I was like, “Two-hour runs were nothing.” I was out there for an hour and he was like, “We’re halfway through. We’re going to do four blocks.” When you’re done with the second block, you know you’re halfway through. It’s not like it is now. Time for you to turn around and go back, but it’s very much structured in a way that you know you’re halfway done.

We hate to do your 30-minute run and they’d be like, “I’ve got to do a 30-minute run back.” Denis was spotted out and about. He’s setting the rumor mill ablaze.

It’s on fire. It’s hot. He was at a yoga studio on the Upper West Side in New York City. He was there and the Peloton Prophet thinks he was there recruiting for new yoga instructors for Peloton. Another rumor that’s going around is that Denis is the one that’s going to be heading up the whole yoga thing because he hasn’t even been announced as an instructor. It’s completely a rumor. I don’t know but it does make sense. Why else would he be there observing a class? He wasn’t there taking the class. He was there observing a class. That is why it is believed that he was recruiting.

I guess we’ll have to keep an eye out for that to see what comes out.

I’m not sure what to do because normally I’m doing this via Skype or phone. We’ve got people here in real life, in the flesh. We are at the opening of the St. Louis store. Joining us from Peloton Corporate, it’s Abby Blake and Jen Parker. Welcome to the show. Why don’t you give us your official job title? I’m going to go on a limb and say whatever your job titles are, they’re job titles where we’re still going to be like, “What does that mean?”

I am Jen Parker and I’m the SVP of Retail for Peloton.

I’m Abby Blake. I am a Senior Brand Manager on the marketing team at Peloton.

What does that mean?

Pretty much on my end, it means I run all of our retail showrooms, micro-stores and the expansion of retail as you see us pop up in cities across the country. We had a lot of growth this year, a lot of showrooms opened.

How many has it been?

I want to say by the end of this year, it’s 62. I’m going to do my backward math. It’s around 30-ish in 2019. My hesitation of not knowing off the top of my head is because we’ve done about eighteen.

That includes the US and Canada. We’ve been all over the place.

What does your title mean, Abby?

I work on the brand team. Peloton is thinking about every place a consumer is interacting with the brand and how the brand is represented and brought to life. I focus on how our brand is brought to life at retail, how people engage with our showrooms, how they learn about them, how they understand the value and experience that the showrooms bring and then any marketing that gets the word out about them.

Where did you guys come from before that? What led up to this?

I like to take my story way back. It’s so interesting thinking about at what age do you click to know what you want to be when you grow up. When I was little, I always thought I was going to be a fashion designer. I had a great grandmother who immigrated from Italy who owned her own dress company in New York City. When I was little, I got to go and hang out with them. I thought that was my career. In my junior or senior year of high school, I realized I wanted to be more on a business end of things and not so much the creative designer. My family ran a candy store for fifteen years on Cape Cod.

That’s a dangerous mix. On the one hand, I want to work in high-end fashion. On the other hand, I’m going to fatten people up.

I took a lot of candy. I keep the inventory in our house. It’s funny because now I have children who are 11, 9 and 6. Every day they’re like, “When are we opening up our candy store? Grandma and grandpa had one.”

Are you a total candy snob? Somebody brings you a Hershey bar and you want to punch them in the throat?

Yes, but now as I get older, I shouldn’t be eating that much candy but everybody who works closely with me knows it’s the weight of my heart and they’re like, “JP, you needed me to get you some candy? Are you having an okay day? What’s going on?” When we travel, they all know that we have to stop in a candy store. It has to end or start the day there. Working my family’s business, I got exposed to every single piece of running a family-owned business which was incredible. We continued it while I was in college. I went to college and studied marketing. While I was at school, I’m still taking a lot of side jobs, working three different jobs over the summer, including that candy store and getting experience doing everything.

TCO 85 | Retail For Peloton

Retail For Peloton: Peloton is thinking about every place a consumer is interacting with the brand and how the brand is represented and brought to life.

 

The summer before my senior year, I interned for Macy’s. At that time, it was the Federated Merchandising Group. I got a job right out of school with them doing merchandising. I was lucky. I worked there then I went to Bloomingdale’s. I was a buyer and a planner at Bloomingdale’s. It was a great experience at the height of contemporary. It was a great market to be in. I learned a lot. I left Bloomingdale’s to work at Theory, which is another fashion brand. I was there for eight years and did all the different roles and planning. I ran stores and operations for them. After eight years of being there, I realized I needed a break. I wasn’t challenging myself the way that I wanted to.

I quit without having a job. It made my husband a little nervous with three kids at home. I did some soul searching to say, “Where do I want to go that I’m going to be inspired every day? What’s going to push me?” I’m the type of person that if I work and I’m leaving my children, I want to be pushed. I want to be inspired. I want to go to work every day and be that best version of myself. The Peloton was nowhere on my radar at all. I saw a job posting for this job. I applied. I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t know anybody there. I don’t know the company that well.” He said, “It’s you. You need to apply.” I did. I had amazing interviews and I found my place where I belong. That’s the place that does bring out the best to me every day. It inspires me. I love going to work.

I’m a little jealous right now.

We always have this internal battle because I love my job so much. Not that you don’t like your job. I have a different passion level because I get to do fun stuff.

It’s so interesting because I’m running a business. I’m running retail. It’s that part of me that I always wanted and what I went to school for what I wanted to be when I grew up. I love it and it’s something I’m so passionate about. It inspires me. It’s creative sometimes. It’s stressful days other times, but at the end of the day, when I go home, I love my job. It’s so nice to be able to say that and to find your true calling.

Did your family own an ice cream parlor?

I grew up in New England. Luckily, we had lots of other good ice creams off.

How did you end up at Peloton?

Similar to Jen before Peloton, I was unfamiliar with the brand. I started my career after college, working in digital marketing. It was pretty tactical, not that exciting things to do, but I was passionate about learning about consumers and consumer behavior and figuring out how to reach the right consumer with the right message. I moved into something called communications planning. A lot of it was identifying target audiences for different brands and then identifying what they were passionate about, what types of media they interacted with and how we could make the most effective marketing plans for them.

Because my work in communications planning was so consumer-focused and so engagement-focused, I was able to transition onto the brand side, which is where I wanted to be. I went to a company called Birchbox, which is a beauty subscription brand. That’s where I was before Peloton and I was working on subscriber engagement marketing and thinking about cool ways to keep our subscribers continuing to subscribe. I was customizing their monthly subscriptions, delighting them with new products, figuring out new ways to present the brand to them. That was fun. From there, I came to Peloton. It was a similar thing where I was pretty unfamiliar with the company. I went to some interviews. At that time, I was not putting a lot of stock into them because I was surveying my options. I showed up at my first interview in ripped jeans and Converse. I was like, “We’ll see how it goes.” It’s no big deal.

When I went back for the second round, I looked a little better because, at that point, I was very excited. At Peloton, I started working similar to what I had done at Birchbox on member engagement marketing. Introducing new instructors, all of the new software launches, anything that was a message for our existing members was what I owned as part of the marketing team. At some point, we realized, “We’re opening a lot of stores. We should do some marketing for them.” It got handed to me because our members, in any existing community, were a big part of getting a new store off the ground. Thinking about how do we reach out to members, let them know that there’s a new showroom nearby and have them help us spread the word. I started working on that as part of my existing scope. As our retail business continued to grow, we realized it needed to be a full-time role. It’s a part of the business that’s exciting. Peloton is doing retail in a cool and unique way. I wanted to be a part of that. Now, I handle retail marketing full-time.

What made them focus on retail when they started off as very much internet. You buy it online, they deliver it. They had a studio. They got to have one, but they’ve gotten aggressive. It’s not a store here or there. It’s a major expansion.

It’s how I ended up at St. Louis.

If you’re coming here, that’s a major expansion. We’re not on anybody’s top twenty.

As they were building the business, but when they decided to test and say, “Let’s see what retail can do,” they did it in such a smart test manner. They opened a location several years ago in the Short Hills Mall, which is a suburb of New York City in New Jersey. It’s very smart to go to Short Hills. It’s suburbia where a lot of people leave New York City to go live. They knew their core client of who they thought their customer was live there. They were nonchalantly about it at the time to say, “Let’s pop up into this space. Let’s see how it goes over the holidays. If we sell a few bikes, we’ll be happy.” They did. They opened up this concept store. I remember all pulled all-nighters from their stores.

John Foley himself was there on Saturday selling bikes. It clicked and it worked. John, Tom and Ryan were all there together. They saw their customers. They realized that people want to walk in, get on a bike, touch, feel and see what they’re spending $2,000 on. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who buy the bike unseen and they know that it’s the right thing for them. There’s a good percentage of the population who wants to try it. As we’ve been opening up more retail stores over the past few months, Abby and I have seen this to the power of doing a test ride and doing trials. I’ll let her speak to it, but it’s something that we push on our end because when you click into the bike and now take a test run on our tread, put headphones on and immerse yourself in it. It’s so magical.

It speaks to how strongly we believe in the Peloton experience. We think the experience is so compelling. If you’re considering the Bike or the Tread and you want to experience it for yourself, we want to provide that for you. That’s where we think the future of our showrooms lies, is in this opportunity to let people experience it for themselves. We do a lot of consumer research and what we’ve found, not surprisingly, is buying a Peloton Bike or a Tread is considered purchase. Not only is it something that you’re not spending $2,000 on a whim, but you have to figure out is it going to fit in your home? Is it something that’s going to become a clothes rack like whatever other pieces of fitness equipment you may have bought in the past? What we found is that experiencing the product in person addresses those barriers head-on because you see it, you realize how small the Bike is. In the case of the Bike, you realize it will fit in your home. You understand the immersive quality of the classes. You understand the charisma of the instructors. That’s what pushes you over the edge and we love being able to provide that to people.

Is that why you guys have gone on some of the areas where you have more room in your stores? Is that what you’ve had to the private rooms?

Yes, it’s all in service of that test class opportunity.

The way that we think about our retail footprint is not the way that everybody else in this mall looks at their business. I love that about us. It’s not transactional. We look at who’s walking into our stores and what’s happening and how much traffic one might get than the other. What I gauge a good business on is the people walking in. What are the relationships you built? Who did you get to know? Everybody’s buying process is different. It might take somebody a few days to decide that they want to purchase a Peloton Tread or Bike. It might take you 90 days and whatever it is that’s okay. We want you to be part of our family and we want the relationship to start right when you walk in and you were greeted by somebody on the retail staff.

We train our team to think much more in a sales-oriented way and it’s definitely a relationship sale. The beauty of it is you’re buying a product and you don’t have to come back in and purchase anything else, but our relationship was made. Abby and I always talk about why retail, you’re going to make sure that your form is right and that you’re fitting a drain and we’ll do that for you. You might come back in and celebrate your birthday as somebody did in our Short Hills location. Her whole family came in with balloons and she did a birthday ride.

That’s a huge piece of the business because establishing ourselves as a community hub for these different cities and making sure that people feel invited in long beyond when they make that first purchase.

I don’t have to leave this store. I’m already pretty at home here.

You’re never going to leave.

You can stay as long as you want.

You’re an honorary member. Let’s see how many bikes you sell. Brian, our store manager here is going to call you up and say, “How many referrals have you done to my store?”

I don’t know about this store, but I’ve already maxed out the year.

It's such a cool thing to know that we are able to deliver an experience that makes people so passionate. Click To Tweet

We love that. We love celebrating milestone rides, buying people cookie cakes. It’s still a little touch. That goes a long way and that’s what’s important to us, building that heartbeat in these communities. If people aren’t able to get to our studios and enjoy a class with the instructors in person, how do we bring that to life here in St. Louis for everybody? Community, as you guys know, is so strong for Peloton. We want to make sure that they feel it out of our showrooms.

When you go into a market 3, 4, 6 months later, do you see that those markets have a disproportionate number of bikes now than other non-retailed markets?

We look at it across the country and when we’re going to decide where we want to open. There’s a lot of thought that goes into that until we do. We look at where we’ve sold bikes. I look at it now more because of our expansion. I’ll use Dallas as a market. It’s a very strong market for us. Now, we have three locations within the Dallas market. I also look at how many bikes we’re selling before we open up, while stores are opening and growing and how many more can we also sell. We see a lot more coming up as we open up more retail. It’s not out of a retail showroom, it’s on the web through inside sales when people call in. I feel like we’re only scratching the surface. We still have so much opportunity with this brand and that’s what’s exciting.

I feel I am constantly telling people about Peloton. They’ve either never heard of it or they’re curious about it and they’ve heard of it, but they’re not ready to make the leap so full. If you’re having those conversations with people in St. Louis, I would say wait three months and have those same conversations because a lot more people will be familiar with us.

We’ve been working on the floor. We love interacting at openings and talking to members and talking to non-members and so many people came in and said, “I’ve seen your commercials.”

That’s what makes Abby smile. “We’ve done it. We’ve reached them.”

We had people waiting outside before the doors open and that is our real measure of success.

The things that make us happy.

How did Peloton arrive at the name Peloton?

For those of you who don’t speak French, which I’m assuming would be most people, Peloton is a French word that’s used if you watch any professional cycling or if you’re reading any new story about Tour de France or something like that. Peloton is a word that refers to a pack of cyclists who ride closely together to reduce drag and they can go a lot faster when they’re riding closely together. It’s a cool word to describe this idea of being stronger together. That’s core to the Peloton brand. It’s pretty cool because it’s a cycling term, but it’s more broadly a term that ties into how we think about our brand. This idea about a community being so central to our brand. One of the things you see it on our t-shirts and you see it on our websites, we say it all the time is this idea of together we go far. That’s rooted in this same concept of Peloton as a term that speaks to the power of community and the sum being greater than the individual parts. That’s important to us. 

Do you guys have any concerns as you move forward that’s associated with the Bike community? As you move into other product lines, how do you plan to address that?

I would say we benefit from the fact that most people don’t know the meaning of Peloton. Even though it does have cycling at its heart, so do we as a brand, we will always be a company that started as a cycling brand and that’s not who we are anymore. We’re a fitness brand. We’re providing fitness opportunities for people through a range of products at this point. No, I don’t think it’s a problem because at its heart, the meaning still carries beyond cycling.

It’s like how Walt Disney’s famous line about, “Never forget, it all started with a mouse.” They sell a lot of things that aren’t mice.

It’s so funny if you’ve heard people speak and our instructors come on, they talk about our company culture and that’s our culture too.

It is. We live and breathe this idea of being passionate about our community and about each other. That’s why hosting things like HRI is so essential to who we are as a brand. It’s so cool to me from a marketing perspective to work at a brand where there is so much brand love. That’s something we do not take lightly. That is a huge responsibility and it’s such a cool thing to be able to know that we are able to deliver an experience that makes people so passionate. They start a podcast about us.

They get tattoos.

Did you get a tattoo?

Not yet.

They do everything in the St. Louis store.

Honestly, it’s a great idea for a store opening, live tattoo. 

I was in the Tampa opening and we spotted another in the wild Peloton tattoo and it gets us so excited.

It says a lot. A tattoo lasts forever. If you’re willing to put that on your body, that says so much. 

What better testament to the experience we’ve created then forever.

Our next question, we should say that these were submitted by readers. 

How do images of the instructors play into Peloton marketing because you see certain instructors pop up in commercials or on different pieces of advertising? I’m curious as to who gets chosen.

We talk about this all the time and each instructor is such an instrumental part of our brand. The instructors personify the brand for a lot of people and people form close relationships with them and they feel empowered and motivated by them. Our full range of instructors is important in making sure that everyone feels like they can have the best possible experience with Peloton. My guess to this question is related to who we featured in recent TV commercials. My answer to that would be TV is one part of our marketing. We feature our full range of instructors in social media, email, on our website. We bring different instructors to each of our showroom openings. Even though people see our TV commercials, hopefully a lot, we think about making sure we are playing up each of the different unique personalities and strengths that our instructors bring to the table because that full line-up is so important to make sure that people have a personal experience with Peloton.

Do you ever choose different instructors for different campaigns based on a target demo?

TCO 85 | Retail For Peloton

Retail For Peloton: Community is so strong in Peloton that it builds the heartbeats for these people.

 

I can speak to that from a retail marketing perspective. When we are thinking about opening a showroom and we’re starting to plan for an event, we’ve traditionally brought instructors to showroom opening events because our members are such an important part of opening a showroom. We want to thank our members for being there even before we had a physical presence. We want to find a way to bring them in the door and delight them with new apparel from the boutique or special swag or whatever it might be. Bringing an instructor can be such a cool experience for so many people to meet them in person and get to thank them for the experience they’ve had with us. We’ve seen some crying. We love it.

We love hearing the stories and how we help them transform the hardest part of their day and of their life and the instructors got them through it.

Our instructors love it too because it’s a cool opportunity for them to coach people in real life or hear people’s individual. Maybe someone’s going through a particular challenge in their training. An instructor can talk them through it and it’s motivating. When we think about what instructors we want to bring to what event, we do look at if a particular instructor index is higher in one market than another, we are opening in a market like Denver where there is a big outdoor cycling community and so Christine or Matt would resonate because they are thinking about the technical parts of their training. We do think about that. We also think about if we are bringing two instructors, what the vibe of you with two of them and how can we make sure that we’re bringing people a special experience.

When we opened up in Charlotte and had Alex and Cody together, that was magical.

Cody is from North Carolina and they have such a great rapport with each other. He had roots there. They have a strong relationship. It was a line out of the door the entire time. It’s so much fun. 

It’s cool because now we get to bring our tread instructors. When we first brought the Tread to all of our showrooms, it was the gateway to be able to start bringing tread instructors. We’ve done 3 or 4 events with them at this point at different shower rooms. It’s cool because members come in who are super familiar with the Bike, maybe they’ve had their Bike for years, but learning about the Tread is something brand new for them. To have one of our instructors there to be that first opportunity for them to learn about it and why it’s such a cool experience. We want people to get to know them in person because they’re special. It’s such a great crew.

They love it now too. They’re so early on in their Peloton journey, so to experience it this way is inspiring for them. They get so excited.

I’ve always been fascinated by you using the instructors to open a store. I get that it’s going to bring in some people but it’s going to bring in people that have already purchased bikes. If they haven’t, they wouldn’t know who these people are because the non-purchasers are going to be like, “It’s a guy in activewear.”

That goes back to Jen’s point too. We believe so strongly that the showroom is as much a place for our members as it is a place for someone who is thinking about making a Peloton purchase. We want every one of our showrooms to be a community hub. We believe that it’s a great opportunity for us to launch in the market with a bang if we delight the people who believed in us before they even had the opportunity to try Peloton in person. Hopefully, they feel good enough to spread the word. 

We’ve seen in new markets where we don’t have an existing retail footprint. There is this build-up to the showroom coming. You have this natural occurrence where people knew we were coming so they were waiting to do their purchase with members and they collide together. It’s fun to watch and see.

That’s special because our members are selling the bikes for us.

We did have showrooms where we might be pitching a bike and members come in and we’ll literally say, “I got this, let me handle this.”

They’ll walk by and be like, “Just buy it. Just do it.”

At some point, the store numbers will plateau. In terms of the number of locations, will you then circle back around and bring instructors back to locations that have been around for a while?

We’ve done that before where we’ve hosted events at showrooms outside of it being an opening, but because of the volume of openings we’ve had in recent months, that’s where our resources have been focused. We would love to do that. We love being able to give that experience to people across the country.

Have you guys considered using real people for marketing ads and commercials?

“There are so many success stories of transformations, finishing marathons, triathlons, etc. I’m sure any writer would welcome the opportunity and it would be free for Peloton. They don’t have to pay modeling fees.” That’s from Shaz.

I love this and it addresses something that’s important to us as a brand. That is that everything we do is inspired by or in reaction to something we’ve heard or seen from our members. If you think back to the TV campaign that we did during the Olympics, it was a TV commercial called Better Is In Us. It was the first time we told a brand story instead of focusing on the experience with our product and told the story of a busy family and a mom who was using the bike as a release, escape, an opportunity to be her best self every single day.

That was directly inspired by stories and quotes and in-person interactions that we’ve had with our members. Our commercials don’t necessarily feature our members, every story that we’re telling is a direct response to what we hear from our community. We try to feature posts from our members on our social channels. We try to repost what we see, our instructors do the same thing. We want to make sure that we are paying homage to what our members have told us and making that a bigger and bigger part of our brand. It’s important to us.

I’ve always noticed that I don’t pay that much attention to fitness advertising, but I feel like you’re the first one I’ve ever seen that doesn’t rely on before and after photos.

That’s a great observation. If you think about what you’ve seen in Peloton marketing, you’ve never seen that and you never will. That is because we believe that everyone’s personal goals are different and it is about becoming the best version of yourself and how you define that as up to you. We would never want to be prescriptive. We would never want to be judgmental. We want to provide the platform for people to be empowered and to feel stronger and to be better. For us, to define that as weight loss or bikini body or whatever that is, that’s not who we are. We don’t believe in that at all.

I love it. That’s so thoughtful.

I’ve seen commercials where it’s somebody’s before picture and I’m like, “It’s not that bad if there’s somebody watching that. It is their goal.”

We want to support everyone in whatever their fitness journeys are. For us to say this is a before and after, that’s in large part speaking to fads. Those things come and go and that’s not how we want to be as a brand. We want to be about the journey and empowering people to figure out what their own goals are and surpass them and set new ones and surpass those too. 

That’s why our member community is inspiring to us as employees as well. There are some pictures that are posted on our member page. Because of those pictures and you see that transformation, I went and got addicted to Emma Lovewell’s core workout. It was one of my favorite workouts for a while because these members were like, “Look at my transformation.” Abby is right. It’s not the ethos so we think of our marketing, but when we see it in our own members’ stories that they’re sharing with us on Facebook or in person and telling us these things, it’s so inspiring.

When we were first talking about doing the podcast, I was thinking the interviews with the writers. I’m like, “Every week, it’s going to be the same story.” It’s going to be like, “I used to weigh a lot and now I weigh less.” Honestly, it’s not that we haven’t had those stories, but we haven’t had many. I’m sure people have lost weight and gotten in better shape, but that’s not the story they’re telling.

It’s that the community is life-changing. We were saying, it got us through a hard part in our life and I couldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for that instructor who motivated me every day. We talk about it being definitely physical. You need that workout that a Peloton gives you, but it’s also mental. If it makes me a better employee, if it makes me a better mother, if I have to shut the door for that 45-minute Ally Love Live ride on a Sunday morning and then I go back to my kids, I’m better because of it. That’s what Abby is saying too, with that better is in us. A lot of the things that you see us pick up on is because it’s what is happening to all of us. We all believe it so much as employees when we have the time, when we’re using the app, when we’re on the road, these guys are making us better too. We all believe in it.

Everything done is inspired by or in reaction to something that has been heard or seen from our members. Click To Tweet

Our next question is from The Grizz. “In regards to retail, where is your strongest growth region in the US for the Bike and now the Tread? I’m wondering if the northern states and their winter months are driving sales.”

It’s so interesting. I love looking at the data of a business and looking at the stats. That would be your initial reaction to say there are certain months out of the year where you’re stuck inside. We see in here that all the time, especially as we go into the snowy season in most of the country. It’s just as good as in Texas as I was saying because there are months in the year that you don’t want to be outside in Dallas and you’re not doing your outdoor rides because it is hot and sweaty. Especially in Houston, we’ve seen it. My best growth right now is honestly coming, believe it or not, from some of my existing markets like in Short Hills who had their fifth anniversary. They have had explosive numbers. It’s so exciting for me to see again as this traditional retailer to say my growth year over year in my locations that have been around for a while is not slowing down.

My managers, I know they love me for this. When we talk about growth and when I give them their budgets, I tell them, “Don’t accept what everybody else is doing. We’re Peloton. We’re going to crush it, we’re going to do better. That’s why you work here. That’s why you come to work. This is what you want to do. You want me to raise that bar and set it high and then you guys go and perform beyond even that.” I see it there, I see it in DC, in Tysons Corner, it’s an incredible mall. Their growth is extraordinary. I can see them in a lot of markets across the country. It depends. It’s not about cold weather, it’s cold, hot time, who’s spending the most time in the car commuting and they don’t have that time to then get back in their car and go to the gym. That’s why it’s resonating with a lot of people across the country.

There’s that convenience factor too. To Jen’s point, Peloton can save you time on your commute. You have a demanding job and you don’t have a lot of time to get to the gym or get to a class. You have a big family and that’s demanding your time. It’s not just the weather. There are a lot of factors that make Peloton the answer to a lot of people.

What does Peloton look for in hires at the retail store? How are they trained and what is the management structure. That is from Meimei.

People is my favorite thing to talk about because I’m a people believer. You’ll talk to anybody in the company and they’ll say that. I’ve heard people come on and talk about how they sit at a table and they’re in awe of who they’re surrounding themselves with and how smart people are. That’s what Peloton looks for. I have an amazing retail recruiter. I have to give a shout-out to Allie because she’s my right-hand woman. She does so much for me and she finds the best people. We debate this and we say, “Is there a category that we will go after that we know makes a good store manager or a sales associate?” There’s not this background that you have to come from to walk into these four walls and run it. It’s about who you are.

The way that I like to describe it is there’s this grit in people because Peloton is a very special and unique company. Believe me, it’s not for everybody. To understand it and understand how it works and to thrive in it, there’s that something in you that you’re okay with the hustle. You’re okay rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done and figuring things out in the parameters at which we operate as a company. There’s definitely this unique personality trait that we look for more than anything. We love it when we can grow and develop from within. It’s a big mission of ours, especially going into next year as we opened up so many stories this year and hired too many people to be able to develop our own and have managers move around the country. We look for that.

Training and development, we’re getting better at. It’s definitely something that we continue to improve upon. When you are a big believer in people, you want to give it your all and give them everything to be successful. We continue to work on it. The best quality we have when it comes to it is we want to set you up for success and we want you to walk in on day one feeling supported and loved by us. We try to do these simple gestures. We try to welcome people. I got a note from somebody on my team because for all the new store openings I’ve been sending them two books. Two of them have been John Foley’s recommendations. One of them is one of my favorite books with a handwritten note that says, “Welcome to the Peloton family. I’m happy that you guys are open. Here’s something to start your library so you never get tired of learning.” We want everybody to stay hungry and stay eager and push yourselves to be your best. Even if we don’t have the best foundation yet for training and development, learning all these different things, everything that we do is so thoughtful and we do it with a lot of care behind it. We want people to know how we believe in them and we want to see them be successful.

What is the most popular item besides the Bike that’s sold in the store?

It really is the Bike. There’s an attachment rate to how many bikes we sell and accessories to it. Our apparel business has grown. Jill is doing an incredible job growing this business year on year. Listening to people’s feedback and what they want and what they’re looking for. The core of what we do, it’s our Bike.

I can’t keep up with the clothing line. I am keeping up.

Especially this new delivery.

I’ve heard that the next line has the quotes in it. I’m already reserving some of my funds for that.

I heard that if you’d like holiday, wait for this next line to deliver because it’s even better than what we see. That gets me very excited. 

Me too. Why doesn’t Peloton do small popups, retail stores in big malls when there isn’t a full retail store? It seems like they could hit more people that way and that’s from She Spends a Lot.

We do.

She Spends a Lot, depending on where you live. You might not have seen it yet. I’ve seen feedback about these micro-stores as we call them. There are 300 square feet. They’re small and it’s exactly that. When we know, we want to go into our market, but let’s say the right real estate isn’t available yet. We have to wait rather than waiting a year or two for something to open up for a full showroom. We go into these markets and they’re so quick, nimble and easy to do. It’s an amazing brand moment. They’re beautiful. You can’t miss it. They’re right there in front of you glowing and saying Peloton. We open up these micro-stores right now, the majority of them don’t sell any apparel.

We’ve been testing it out in a few and that’s a lot of feedback that we get from our members that they want these micros to sell apparel so they can have that full experience. We do what we can with 300 square feet and introduce people to the brand. From a retailer standpoint, they’re so magical. The productivity of them is so good. People are eating them up, they are riding in them, they are taking these trials and they are buying. We love testing and trying new formats. The beauty of Peloton is we don’t need necessarily four walls to do our business. I always joke with my team, “You’ve got a bike and you’ve got an iPad, you can sell.” We’re always testing and trying new creative formats.

Does that mean that in places where there are pop-ups, that they can expect a traditional retail store at some point in the future?

That’s always the plan that if they perform, we should flip over and go. If we don’t, then it’s a different business decision. For example, we had a micro-store in a Montgomery Mall and we decided to move to Bethesda Row in Maryland with our full showroom rather than staying in Montgomery. It’s definitely a test and try model. It’s what makes us special and what we’re doing at retail because a lot of other retailers can’t act this way.

When you’re looking to open new locations, does it make more sense to like, “We sell a lot of bikes there already,” or does it make more sense to go, “We’re not selling a lot of bikes there, let’s goose it?”

We look at it both ways that if we know that it’s a market where we should have a strong presence but we’re not, we dig into the why not, what do we need to do to lift it and see how we can change it? It does go back to what I was saying, we know where we’re selling bikes across the country through different sales channels. We’re lucky that we have three different ones to dictate. We look at it knowing our demographic and who are our average Peloton users. Are we hitting that person? I also turned to Abby a lot of the times where if I’m in a market and I know I should be selling more, she gets these cryptic notes for me. It happened and I was like, “I hit send too soon. I thought you could read my mind and knew what I was saying.” That’s when you know you work with good people.

I had interpreted it at that point. The key question is the strategy to amplify what’s working or is the strategy to try and turn a trend around. We want to do both those things.

We challenge ourselves. We take nothing for granted. We could be doing so well and we still dig deeper and say, “Let’s look at this. Let’s understand why. What are we doing well? What can we still do better? How do we do this in more markets? How do we replicate what we know works for us?”

What factors are different than when you decide how large the store will be? 

A lot of that is based on real estate, what a landlord has available at that time. Are we happy with the overall square footage? What’s the minimum that we want to be in that we’re okay? Honestly, that changes so quickly. What was good for us six months ago might not be good right now and it might not be good six months from now because it is ever-changing. That’s happening at Peloton, which by the way, we love. I love it. I always tell my team, “If you’re somebody that’s not comfortable with change, you’re in the wrong place. You have to be okay knowing that we’re moving in the forward direction all the time.”

That’s the beauty of John and his vision and the same with William. They have this future growth that we all stand behind and we’re like, “Let’s do this. Let’s keep taking on. Let’s challenge ourselves. Let’s stay in this lane and go fast.” We try to balance it. We look at square footage, we look at the frontage, how much window space we’re going to have. You want people to notice you and it’s easy in a shopping center or mall to walk right by. We want to have those wow moments for people. Abby knows because I always say to her, “What are we doing to draw people in? What does it look like from the outside that makes you stop and pause and say, ‘I want to go in there?”’

One of the coolest things that have happened totally organically is members riding on the display bikes in our windows at showrooms. There is no better way to bring people in the door than someone fully sweaty, maybe screaming at there by taking a live ride in the front window of a showroom. We love it. 

TCO 85 | Retail For Peloton

Retail For Peloton: When you are a big believer in people, you want to give it your all and give them everything to be successful.

 

We’ve been known to take a few live rides in the windows at showroom opening.

How far in advance do you plan in a store opening?

Sometimes not far enough. I give credit to some of the people that you’ve met. They were coming in and out. The team I talked about are working with a great group of people. There is not a hustle that we all come together and we’re like, “We’ve got six weeks to do it, let’s make it happen.” Sometimes we have 14 weeks, 20 weeks. It depends, but we take on challenges. You hear a lot about our mission and our values at Peloton. You’re going to find that in all of us that we act with this drive to be okay in a very smart manner. It’s never haphazardly. We’re not the type of people that will let it be that way but in a very smart manner. We’re doers and we put a plan and we’re like, “Go, let’s make it happen. All hands on deck. We can do this.” Construction is tough on the retail side and you could be told that they’re handing you over a store five days in advance of the opening and that can change to one day in advance of opening. When we look at each other, we’re like, “We’re going to start to open in 24 hours. Who’s ready?”

That can be on the marketing side. That’s why you don’t hear about a store 8, 10 months in advance. Even if maybe we’ve signed a lease on it because we don’t want to announce a date, push it back by day, move it up by two weeks and whatever it is. We want to make sure that we are giving people the right expectations for what’s coming. We don’t announce any given store opening. I would say my average is around two weeks in advance. No more than that because there are still so many things that could change in an instant in that time period. We want to make sure that we’re not setting false expectations for people and that when we do announce a store like it’s happening and people can get excited. 

There’s so much anticipation on our end. You can feel that from us.

There are other factors at play. Even if I don’t send an email announcing a store, there’s a barricade up and people know a Peloton store is coming. They might walk by this storefront two months ago and see Peloton is coming, but we haven’t sent anything yet. We’re letting the buzz build, but we haven’t told people when exactly we’re opening and that creates this fun sense of anticipation before we’re ready to make an announcement.

Thank you very much for taking the time. I’m sure you are super swamped with launching a store and you still sat down with us.

We’ve loved it. Thank you for having us.

This was fun. Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Did our interviewees have recipes for us?

They did not. We talked about it, but we’re going to have to give them a pass because they’re in LA opening more stores. They did not have time.

That’s a shame because she was talking about some bacon thing and then they had it at the store opening and it was good.

They were going to tune in. Jen Parker and Abby Blake, if you can get the recipe to us for those delicious bacon things, Tom would be forever grateful.

Even if it’s not for us to share with everybody else but I would like to know how they were making those bacon things.

I never tried them.

You slapped to the platter out of that lady’s hand.

I did. I was like, “What do you mean to take one? Why are you looking at me like that?” A platter is technically a plate. It’s okay. In her defense, I could have at least used my fingers, but they were good. What do you have in store for people?

It’s Barbara Norsworthy. She lives in Bermuda, so she’s having her holiday on the beach.

She’s got up all those pictures of Santa in Bermuda shorts lay around his neck.

I saw her pictures on her Facebook and I did not get that impression. They do the traditional Christmas stuff. We get to hear all about how she got to Bermuda.

How miserable it is to live on an island.

We’ll hear all about her connections to the HR Crew because she is part of the HR Crew. She’s one of the admin. We’re going to hear a lot. Barbara has been part of the community for a very long time. She has a lot of very rich Peloton history.

We have that to look forward to. Until then, where can people find you?

People can find me at Facebook.com/crystaldokeefe. They can find me on Instagram or Twitter or on the Bike and now the Tread, @ClipOutCrystal.

You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/tomokeefe. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page, Facebook.com/theclipout while you’re there. Join the group so you can stay up-to-date on stuff. Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, all that stuff. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in and until next time. Keep pedaling and running.

Important Links:

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top