Learning from Yoga Club's Win-Back Campaign: An exercise in buying triggers

DTC Retention

63 days ago, I officially churned out from Yoga Club. Yesterday, I was put into a re-engagement campaign, and it reminded me of my conversation with Katelyn Bourgoin (3x founder and customer research expert) on understanding customer motivations.

Now I’m thinking Yoga Club (and many other brands) could use this exercise...For starters, I’m a retention tester. Meaning, I subscribe to eCommerce subscriptions and see how well brands are playing for keeps (ah, see what I did there?).

So, I’m not a normal customer, per say. But I did stay with Yoga Club for 2 months longer than planned….They impressed me so I stuck around. Eventually, I did churn, as they failed my final (and in this case most important) test.

Hint: If they were using Churn Buster, I wouldn’t have churned...Exactly 60 days since I churned, Yoga Club is trying to bring me back. And I’m a bit disappointed.

Let’s Dig In

Here are the two emails I’ve received this week from Yoga Club (back to back):


Here’s what I don’t like:

  • Heavy discounting… for life (don't devalue yourself)
  • 0% personalization
  • It's the same exact email?!?!
  • Doesn’t trigger me to buy
  • I’m not motivated
  • Fake countdowns (please stop pressuring customers like this)

So let’s talk buying triggers and how they can help acquire and retain customers

“A big part of it comes from making a shift in mindset and understanding what is actually motivating people to buy vs. What you might want to sell” -Katelyn BourgoinAKA- Yoga Club wants to sell a box of clothing pieces…. But that’s not really what I want to buy… is it?

(Obviously not, since I already churned once)When we broke it down, we found that I likely stayed as a customer as long as I did because the new yoga apparel was actually getting my butt into the studio more regularly…It was helping me… wait for it…. Achieve my goals!

Yoga Club was more than a collection of products, it was a form of motivation.

“I bet you if you actually sat down and started talking to some of those [churned] customers, what you'd realize is when they signed up for yoga club, yes, the yoga outfits are cute, but I bet you there's a disproportionate portion of that audience that sees the subscription as a way to motivate themselves to actually do yoga more consistently.” -Katelyn

Read: Maybe my buying triggers have nothing to do with the values Yoga Club is promoting in their sales materials:

  • Price
  • Clutchness
  • Delivery speed
  • Style
  • Quality

As a customer, I do care about these things, but is that really what got me to keep buying? Is that really what will get me to re-start a subscription I cancelled?

If you dig a bit deeper, maybe people don’t just buy yoga clothes to look cute… they buy to… do yoga in?

Instead of saying something like “see for yourself, we’re better than ever” or “soft and cozy” YogaClub could be saying something like “outfits so cute, you can’t help but show them off.”

As Katelyn and I discussed, you have to speak to the *real* needs of your customers.In Yoga Club’s case, I doubt there are many customers that truly NEED a new yoga outfit every 1-3 months.

“We probably could all show up to the gym in our old, boring clothes, anyways.”

giphy 87

As the girl who still workouts in clothes I got 3 years ago I gotta say, she’s got a point.

When a customer signs up for Yoga Club, there’s a good chance they’re not buying products in a box. There’s a good chance they’re investing in a deeper motivation.Or… investing in *themselves*.

Yoga Club could (and should) be using customer insights like this to have better messaging around their products and offerings. Because I’m simply not sold.

I would challenge YogaClub to think like this: How can you show your customers that you are the brand that keeps them motivated to do this important practice in their life? How can you build the connection with customers so they come to your brand when they’re struggling?

How can you sell something MORE than a discount and outfits in a box?

This is a very specific example with only one (!) piece of customer insight, but you can already see how digging one layer deeper can unlock so much marketing potential.

As marketers, you have to know that consumers may not always make that connection between their deeper desires and their purchasing decisions.

And that’s okay, it’s not their job to….It’s yours. 😉

Talk to your customers. Interview them. Learn from them.Understand your customers on a human level and you’ll find a whole new way to approach your communications.

Hint: BFCM emails are about to start pouring into customer inboxes. Wanna stand out from the crowd? Don’t scream sales like everyone else does. Do this exercise and see what nuggets you can find.

TLDR; Invest in your customers so they can invest in themselves.

P.s. I highly recommend listening to the full episode of Playing for Keeps with Katelyn Bourgoin. You'll hear this whole discussion live + hear how another huge eCommerce brand won in this arena.

Kristen LaFrance

Head of community at Churn Buster, host of the Playing for Keeps podcast, and (unofficial) mayor of DTC Twitter, Kristen is an expert on all things retention. When she’s not interviewing leaders in the eCommerce world, you can catch her hiking 14-ers with her three rescue dogs.

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