Lululemon is ready to tackle holiday crowd control
Lululemon plans to use a mix of pop-ups, queuing technology and online assistance to manage Christmas holiday crowds.
The yoga-themed retailer’s reopened stores are performing at 75 percent of last year’s volume due to capacity restrictions, with lines forming outside some spots.
“Our stores are small and designed to be an efficient use of space with high levels of traffic, which results in high productivity,” said Calvin McDonald, CEO, last week on the retailer’s second-quarter conference call. ”While these are appealing attributes, the current capacity constraints understandably limit the number of guests who can be in the store at one time.”
The stores are among the most productive across retail, with average sales per square foot of $1,657 in 2019.
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We hear you: shopping during COVID-19—not so simple. We’re continuing to improve our in-store shopping experience with health and safety updates (yes, masks are a must), curbside pickup, virtual waitlist, and more—so you can get your gear even faster. And, there’s always the option to shop online (we’ve made that fast and easy, too). Head to the link in bio to learn more.
The holiday traffic-control plans include:
- Pop-ups: Lululemon will open approximately 70 “seasonal” pop-up locations this holiday, up from 51 last year. Locations include “key centers and markets where we have existing stores to help us mitigate the current capacity constraints.”
- Virtual waitlists: The retailer will continue to use this method to notify shoppers when it’s their turn to enter the store in order to ease wait times. “This functionality has been particularly well-received,” said Mr. McDonald. “In the month of August alone, we had nearly 400,000 individual guests utilizing our virtual waitlist across nearly 280 locations where we implemented the technology.”
- Curbside pickup: The chain will continue to complement its BOPIS service with curbside pickup to enable Lululemon’s team to “just check guests out and service them outside of the store.”
- Digital educators: The number of “digital educators” will be expanded to complement in-store assistance. Personnel will answer customers’ questions via live chat, email, phone or text through the “Guest Education Center”. Shoppers can also set up a video chat appointment as part of the retailer’s “Live Shopping” feature.
Logistically, Lululemon is preparing for continued exponential online growth this holiday season. Online sales in the second quarter jumped 157 percent.
“Our challenge is: How do we get more into the store and transact at a quicker rate,” said Mr. McDonald.
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What steps being employed by Lululemon to prepare for holiday crowds will likely prove most beneficial? Is there anything you would add?