Lessons learned from Peloton fallout

Home Column Lessons learned from Peloton fallout

pelotonRemember that craze for those pricey Peloton bikes? And those catchy TV commercials? People were scrambling to get their products, and they couldn’t ship fast enough—especially at the height of the pandemic. It reminded me that timing is everything. Whether it’s stationary exercise bikes, snazzy new cell phones or the latest in waterproof flooring, being able to beat others to the market is usually a winning strategy. At the time, it certainly seemed like a hit for Peloton.

Then the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an urgent warning about the Peloton Tread+ back in April, urging users with small children or pets at home to stop using the product immediately. The CPSC said kids could become entrapped, pinned and pulled under the rear roller of the equipment. Scary.

Next thing you know, the stock is in the toilet, production temporarily halted. Of course, it doesn’t help that Chris Noth, playing the fictional role of “Mr. Big,” (spoiler alert) had a sudden heart attack and died after riding his Peloton in the new “Sex And The City” reboot. I remember hearing this and thinking, how unlucky can a company get? Or…as P.T. Barnum famously said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

So, what’s happening? Peloton has been saying the slowdown is because they are asking customers to pay an additional $250 for delivery and an additional $350 for its Tread+ beginning Jan. 31. Peloton said this increase in price was the cause for the slowdown. (Did Peloton ask why the customer bought the product in the first place?)

Marketing wisdom dictates that consumers buy products for their reasons, not ours. Here are some assumptions I believe Peloton made:

  1. Not being able to go the gym is the reason alone to build a product that could substitute for the gym.
  2. Higher-end customers are less fickle and more predictable. They have money, and this is an impressive product.

Many might say this is a good marketing strategy. You know, “Strike while the iron is hot, and timing is everything.” Being a student fascinated by marketing, I think it’s possible that Peloton missed another critical piece. Had they thought about it, they might have gone for a lower end of the market or not stocked up on a warehouse of these expensive toys.

Early in the pandemic, Peloton produced a product that helped their customer connect to other humans. If they had done some market research about consumer preferences, they would have realized that their product might be short lived. The pandemic has forced retailers and manufacturers to try to get closer to the consumer—to better understand her wants and during the purchasing journey. Perhaps the better question Peloton might have asked is, “If you get the chance, would you prefer to stay home on your Peloton or head back to the gym?” The answer seems obvious to me.

The takeaway we should all glean from Peloton’s experience is to remember that when it comes to creating marketing strategies designed to generate more consumers, it’s important to look beyond the short term and past the current fad or trend. Market research is a powerful tool; it takes time and money, but in the long run it can head off costly mistakes.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

Must Read

Northann Corp. secures European patent for 3D printing technologies

Northann Corp., a leading innovator in the 3D printing industry, has secured a new, groundbreaking European patent for its state-of-the-art “DSE Embossing Technology,” which...

Karastan LuxeCraft debuts revitalized stone, wood fashions

Calhoun, Ga.—Karastan continues to expand its role as a complete flooring brand by focusing on fashion that transcends time with enhanced and authentic designs...

Fuse Alliance adds five new members

Fuse Alliance, a member-owned organization of professional commercial flooring contractors, has added five new members: BECA Commercial Flooring, Buckeye Floor and Ceiling, DeSoto Floor...

Underlayments: New formulations tout enhanced performance

Underlayments are valuable to the flooring retailer for several reasons—not the least of which being a satisfied customer. From comfort underfoot to sound absorption...

Hardwood enhancements bolster category’s lasting appeal

Hardwood may very well be the most aspirational flooring product (next to stone or ceramic tile). However, that doesn’t mean suppliers are relying solely...

Mohawk Group partners with water.org

Dalton—In celebration of World Water Day, Mohawk Group announced its partnership with Water.org in an effort to help increase access to safe water and sanitation...

As seen in

Jan. 24/31, 2022

Some text some message..