Will a new digital platform create a must-join safe space for Athleta’s customers?
Athleta yesterday released news of the launch of AthletaWell, a new digital platform that caters to the wellbeing of its members.
The Gap-owned chain said the platform will deliver exercise content and moderated online spaces for members to discuss a wide variety of topics, including body positivity, fitness and women’s health. Athleta sees it as a springboard in moving from a seller of performance wear to a full-fledged lifestyle brand.
“This is really about deepening our engagement with existing customers, and we know there’s value in building brand loyalty,” Kim Waldmann, Athleta chief digital officer, told CNBC. “And loyal customers drive word of mouth. … We think we can bring in a wider community of people into the brand.”
Athleta, which recently participated in a funding round for obé Fitness, is working with the digital platform to bring fitness, entertainment, pop culture and other content to its members. Four new workouts will be launched each month by obé and the two companies will work together on apparel, content, events and shopping experiences going forward.
Another important aspect of the program is the inclusion of female influencers, including nutritionists, therapists and yoga instructors, who will lead conversations via a digital messaging board. Influencers will also have virtual office hours so members can get in-person advice.
Athleta, in launching its own platform, seems intent on competing in a similar space to lululemon and Nike. Those companies have sought to create ecosystems that bring together physical and digital experiences designed to become central elements of their members wellness journeys.
Lululemon, which has built a loyal community with on-site classes conducted by yoga practitioners and other fitness professionals, added live video appointments last year to more personally meet the needs of customers during the pandemic.
Nike boasts having over 100 million members digitally connected to the brand through its mobile app and others, including Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club. The Training Club app is the most used of any workout app in either the U.S. and Europe, logging 1.8 million workouts a month. Nike Run Club is also tops in its space. Individuals using the apps are all connected by a single membership profile across all of Nike’s online, digital app and physical consumer-direct touchpoints. More than half of all Nike Direct digital revenues come through its mobile apps.
- Athleta Launches AthletaWell, an Immersive Digital Platform for Women to Connect on a Range of Topics Rooted in Female Wellbeing – Athleta
- Athleta’s latest salvo against Lululemon and Nike: Women’s wellness platform – CNBC
- Will Lululemon ever get tired of winning? – RetailWire
- How is Nike excelling at driving loyalty with digital? – RetailWire
- 100 Million Members – Nike
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think AthletaWell could be a difference maker for Athleta? What are the keys to creating the types of brand communities that bond consumers with brands and others who participate in them?