Shopify Ecosystem

Five strategies for athleisure brands to boost retention while we work and workout from home


The athleisure industry witnessed the highest ever growth last year, making the industry worth 18 billion dollars. Today, the category is still growing fast.

Sarah Wallis, the VP of Athleta and GM of Ecommerce says: “We have seen our customers looking for more ‘work from home’ styles. We’ve specifically seen a rise in popularity among a handful of our jogger styles that provide her with a polished look, while still getting the comfort and stretch that she expects when looking for relaxed loungewear that she can wear at home.”

Now is a great time to focus on turning an influx of new online shoppers into long-term, loyal customers, by boosting your repeat purchase rates.

Here are five strategies you can apply to your athleisure ecommerce business to boost retention:

1️⃣ Turn guest shoppers into loyalty program members 

Members generate between 12 and 18% more revenue per year than guest shoppers. When a first-time shopper lands on your website, encourage them to become a member. For example, you can show a pop-up notification or offer them loyalty points for account creation.

For example, to encourage customers to create an account, HydroJug offer 200 points in return. When a customer lands on HydroJug’s page, they see  a pop-up notification stating that members can earn points for signing-up or making purchases.


To encourage customers to create an account, they offer 200 points in return. HydroJug also shows the benefits and discounts that they can receive once they become a member.

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When a guest shopper becomes a member of your program, you can learn more about their individual buying behavior and unlock insights to deliver more customized communication.

Keep in mind that 78% of shoppers are motivated to create an account if the sign-up process is easy.! Anything that feels long-winded or complicated will deter shoppers from following through with their sign up. For example, HydroJug requires basic information to create an account.

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2️⃣ Offer exclusive rewards to keep your members engaged and returning to your store 

Our recent research showed that 79% of shoppers are encouraged to become loyal to a brand if they can access exclusive benefits or rewards. Members want to feel rewarded for their loyalty, however, to keep them engaged those rewards need to be accessible. 22% of members become inactive and lose interest if it takes too long to earn points or unlock rewards.

Enable your members to earn points instantly via onsite and offsite activities such as site visits, following on social media or writing a review. These activities will also help you to build better relationships with your customers across all channels.

For example, Bombshell encourages customers to engage more and return more by awarding them with loyalty points for making a purchase, following on social and signing-up to the newsletter.

3️⃣ Use a tiered loyalty program structure to boost repeat purchase and spend

74% of shoppers are motivated to return to a store by the feeling that they are working towards a goal or reward. A tiered loyalty program structure allows you to set a predetermined goal or milestone for each tier.  These goals or milestones can be based on the customer’s spend or the points they have earned over time.

You can then encourage your customers to move up to the next tier by offering bigger and better benefits that are a step up from the tier before. For example, Cupshe first created an integrated loyalty page to build a branded loyalty experience that explains how their tiered loyalty program works.

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To boost retention and repeat purchase, Cupshe offers exclusive rewards and benefits. For example, members who are in the Sea tier can access exclusive member events that customers who are in the Sand tier cannot.

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4️⃣ Encourage referrals to acquire new members with higher customer lifetime value

When people have had a positive experience with your product or service, they will most likely want to tell their friends and family. This creates a sense of trust between your business and your potential customers. In fact,  92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, making it a key influencing factor in purchasing decisions.  

However, even though your customers love your sweatpants or yoga pants, they might forget to tell their friends. But we can always easily encourage them to refer a friend or family member, send prompts to customers to share their recommendations.

The incentive to refer needs to hit the right note and must be meaningful for both the advocate and the friends they are referring to your brand. For example, Boxraw implements a two-sided incentive; they encourage members to make a referral by offering them 1,500 points. And, to convert the referred friend into a new member whilst assuring the order, they offer a $15 discount if they spend over $55.

You can promote your referral program effectively i.e on social media, on your website or through email newsletters and then by making the process as simple as possible with a one-click referral link. For instance, here you can see that members can directly refer a friend via social or mobile. 

If members make a referral via email, the referred friends receives an email stating that they can claim their $15 gift card.

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You can also implement a referral marketing strategy for your existing customers who just left a review. Set up an automation email for customers who have already left a positive review, and encourage them to refer a friend in return for loyalty points such as Sommer Swim

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5️⃣ Identify your at-risk customers to encourage them to return to your store

Acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than retaining your existing ones. By identifying your loyal and at-risk shoppers, you can deliver more targeted communication that helps you re-engage customers before they churn.

👉 For your at-risk customers, you can send them points expiry emails to urge them to return to your store. You can also surprise and delight them by offering bonus points or a discount on their birthdays. Here you can see that Baseballism implements a loss aversion strategy to encourage their customers to return to the store before points or rewards expire.

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👉 For your loyal customers, you can send them available rewards emails or monthly points balances to keep them engaged between purchases like RBX Active. 78% of customers are loyal to a brand if they are individually recognized and rewarded for their loyalty. To delight your loyal customers, you can create double point weekends for them or offer exclusive discounts.

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👉 Key takeaways

Increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts profits by 25 to 95%. The unique loyalty experience that you provide to your customers by identifying their individual buying behavior will help you to build longer-lasting relationships with them.

You can easily use these five tactics to reduce customer churn and boost your retention thanks to your loyalty program: 

  • Encourage guest shoppers to become a member

  • Offer exclusive rewards to keep your members active and returning to shop 

  • Implement a tiered loyalty program structure to increase repeat purchase and spend further

  • Enhance your referral strategy to acquire customers with higher customer lifetime value

  • Identify your loyal and at-risk customers to deliver targeted communication and campaigns

By following the above strategies, you can pursue steady growth for your athleisure business by converting one-off customers into loyalty program members and increasing the repeat purchase rates of your existing customers.

If you’re an athleisure brand and you’d like to talk about any of the retention strategies outlined in this post in more detail, then get in touch with one of our team – we’d be happy to show you some more examples or talk through your store’s unique challenges.

This article originally appeared in the LoyaltyLion blog and has been published here with permission.

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