The partnership between Lululemon Studio and Peloton was launched November 1st and promoted as a collaboration that promised a seamless integration of workouts for fitness enthusiasts. However, the reality seems to have fallen far short of what was promoted by both companies, leaving a trail of discontent among users. Complaints over communication missteps, format frustrations, and the loss of beloved content and trainers filled the almost 1,000 comments made in response to Lululemon Studio’s Lululemon Studio’s instagram launch-day post, and make it clear that the partnership’s implementation has left much to be desired. (Full disclosure: the author has been a Mirror owner since 2020).
Beyond members’ initial reactions to the September 27th announcement, what came as a surprise to members on November 1st was the removal of popular classes like Step and Box and Beats, given that prior communication under the category of “What Stays the Same” had stated, “Members will continue to be able to the access the 10,000+ class on-demand library along with new content from Peloton added weekly.”
While Lululemon Studio did not respond to requests for comment, it did respond to user feedback in a November 8th email to members. The email included an announcement that it would be re-publishing Step classes that had been removed, a tip regarding options to change trainer display settings, and acknowledging that music in Peloton classes is too loud but that they are working to address the feedback.
A significant grievance echoed by users revolves around the monthly $40 fee, with no hint of a reduction despite the loss of live classes and partner content from providers like Pure Barre and Aarmy. “I’m disappointed that they’re taking functionality (i.e. live streaming classes) and partner classes away and adding a select number of Peloton on-demand classes, yet expect us to pay the same price,” Sara Nagy said. “It doesn’t make sense why anyone would pay the same for a devalued product.” Those who subscribe to both platforms find it perplexing that they are now required to pay for both Lululemon and Peloton platforms to access the same content on different devices.
The lack of transparency has been a recurrent theme in user complaints, as well as dissatisfaction with inconsistent information provided by customer service. Much of this seems to stem from Lululemon’s approach that favors personalized responses to individual emails over broader announcements. In fact, the company responded to many of the hundreds of negative comments on the Instagram launch by encouraging members to email customer service. Yet it was clear from conversations on a popular Lululemon Studio Community Facebook group that those individual responses from customer service were wildly inconsistent.
Dori Gray’s revelation about a misleading push notification on launch day adds to the communication debacle. “On launch day, Lululemon Studio sent a push notification that included Outdoor Running as one of the Peloton classes that were newly available. Yet Outdoor Running is not one of the Peloton classes included in the Lululemon Studio membership.”
Issues with the formatting of Peloton classes streamed to the Mirror have left users dissatisfied. Frustrations include excessively loud music and absence of the black background that permits users to match their form to the trainers’. This is despite initial communication which stated the Peloton team had designed original content only for the Mirror hardware. Dougles Potter said, “[I] don’t like the layout of the Peloton trainers in a normal workout room. I might as well watch a workout class on YouTube.” Peloton’s shorter class durations have also drawn criticism, forcing members to go through multiple warm-ups and cool-downs to achieve a full-length workout.
The shift in the workout vibe from a fitness club atmosphere to a dance club ambiance has not resonated well with the Mirror community. Complaints about trainers singing along to music, and particularly about excessive foul language, highlight the disconnect between the expectations of Mirror users and the Peloton content.
By far, the loss of new content and on-demand classes with current Mirror trainers remains the biggest grievance following the announcement, particularly given that this makes the Mirror “community camera” obsolete and eliminates the motivation of member callouts during live classes. “Live classes [were a] reason I opted for Mirror,” said Lisa Colby. She added, “The Studio trainers are the best I’ve found, the shout outs during the live classes are motivating and fun, and they engage via social media. They respond to my messages and questions quicker than my actual friends.”
The public outcry from members emphasizes the importance of knowing your customer when implementing business model changes. The first step in the design thinking model pioneered at the Stanford d.school is “empathize” to research users’ needs. Lululemon’s November 8th email closed with the following statement: “we are working hard to optimize the Peloton experience on Mirror and encourage you to send us any feedback on your experience.” With the re-publishing of Step classes and acknowledgement of issues with audio and trainer display, it would appear that the company is learning to empathize. Its actions will determine its sincerity.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. Check out my other columns here.