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 Bourgoin

AKA- 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

Author Kristen LaFrance

Kristen is dedicated to educating companies and founders on the importance of customer retention and the dangers of ignoring churn. When she's not busting churn and crafting content, you can find her hiking a mountain or playing with her three rescue pups, Cooper, Tobi, and Finn.

More posts by Kristen LaFrance

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Natalia says:

    Hi Kristen!

    Love this post 🙂 Lots of good learnings!

    I wanted to ask a follow-up to your point about interviewing your customers to find out what their “deepest desires” really are (e.g. staying motivated to do yoga vs. buying more yoga clothes). I’ve run a few surveys and had a few meetings with our customers to try to find out what they need, but I think a lot of the interviews are inundated with confirmation bias (the customer’s telling me what they think I want to hear). Do you have any tips for how to get around that?

    • Kristen DeCosta says:

      Hi Natalia!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. This is definitely an issue manny brands face with customer interviews, but a lot of it comes down to the questions you’re asking. You want to bring the customer back into the mindset they were in when they bought. Allow them to simply tell their story, then dig deeper into that story (rather than asking specific, pointed questions about your product).

      I would highly recommend following Katelyn Bourgoin on Twitter, checking out her blog, and definitely listen to the Playing for Keeps episode with her. She’s the real expert on those interviews and can definitely offer some advice!

      Good luck!