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How lululemon Co-Creates Experiences with and for Their Customers

Written by Alida

Published July 12, 2022

lululemon is a Canadian athletic apparel retailer with massive global appeal that creates high-performance athletic apparel and accessories through a human-led design approach. This customer-centricity has led the brand to consistently look for new ways to ensure they are supporting their guests (customers) and their community.

To support this approach, the lululemon brand team established the lululemon Feedback Forum built on the Alida platform. The Feedback Forum, now in its third year, includes over 12,000 highly engaged guests who provide fast, detailed, and actionable feedback on everything from product names to in-depth information on their behaviours and attitudes.

Here we look at the three main ways lululemon is co-creating new experiences with their customers.

1. Rounding Out The Insights Roadmap

The lululemon brand team is in the practice of supplementing external quantitative research with the lululemon Feedback Forum. The Feedback Forum enables lululemon to efficiently establish hypotheses for testing (pre-research), as well as contextualize and explore key quantitative insights by listening to guests (post-research).

A great example of this process was the footwear positioning research they conducted in 2020. As a unique territory for lululemon, research was essential in the planning and development of their category positioning to ensure the brand, marketing, and product teams deeply understood the competitive landscape and consumers’ needs.

Before kicking off global positioning research, the lululemon Feedback Forum was leveraged to explore and establish hypotheses surrounding the customer journey, consideration set, and key drivers of footwear purchases. This research helped lay the foundation for global research by better understanding common perceptions, preferences, and buying behaviors.

After the external positioning research was conducted, lululemon then designed a follow-up forum with panelists to dig deeper into the emotional connection they have with their footwear experience—seeking to understand not only the functional benefits but the in-context emotional benefits within the category.

These internal and external insights contributed to a robust understanding of the culture, consumer, and category and ultimately informed a distinctive territory for the brand to help differentiate within a busy category.

2. Insights in a Fast and Scalable Manner

Research insights are distributed across the organization, having impact at various levels and across many cross-functional teams. Many teams, including the brand, strategy, product design, innovation, and UX teams use Feedback Forum insights to learn from guests and inform their planning roadmaps.

The speed and agility of connecting with the Feedback Forum means the lululemon team can generate guest insights extremely efficiently compared to a full quantitative or qualitative research study. Standard external research can take anywhere from four to eight weeks (or more). Having highly-profiled customers in the Feedback Forum has cut down this turnaround time by up to 75%.

“Our community is so engaged that we can often test a hypothesis over a weekend and have valuable results by next week’s meeting.” – Alexis Morton, Senior Analyst Global Brand Insights

3. Uncover Key Drivers of Brand Perception

The lululemon Feedback Forum has helped promote a deeper appreciation for insights at lululemon. At the company level, there is recognition that the only way to remain relevant and propel innovation is to understand guests’ current and future needs. In fact, human-first design is one of the guiding brand beliefs at lululemon.

“We need to listen, learn, and understand the needs of current and potential guests. Our goal is to achieve an even deeper sense of community, brand relevance and affinity, by continuing to be guest-centric in everything we do.” – Adrienne Salter, Senior Manager Global Brand Insights

For example, with the help of the Feedback Forum, the team has been able to test and explore cultural and consumer trends. This has provided the organization a better understanding of the cultural and competitive landscape and brand perceptions, and helped their teams identify new opportunity spaces.

As a leading global brand, lululemon is committed to staying connected to their customers’ needs and expectations. The lululemon Feedback Forum has enabled lululemon to drive innovation for and with their customers.