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Euromonitor’s apparel and footwear team recently had the pleasure of visiting Lululemon’s Run Stop Shop vending machine alongside the Lakefront Trail in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. With only one other Run Stop Shop location on the West Side Highway in New York City, the two digital machines are offering runners and other passersby everything from workout essentials like bottled water, tissues, and energy chews to Lululemon accessories such as socks, hats, and hair ties.
Everything in the machine is free, dispensed in exchange for nothing more than an email address and a social media handle. The machines will be open from 7 am to 6 pm, every day until November 8, 2018.
Lululemon’s Run Stop Shop vending machine, Chicago IL
Lululemon has actively expanded its product assortment beyond yoga to running and training. Through the two machines, Lululemon is generating goodwill among local customers and drawing attention to the yoga-born brand’s continually expanding product offering for runners. By incentivizing visitors to post photos on social media using the hashtags #thesweatlifeCHI and #thesweatlifeNYC, Lululemon seeks to expand its own community of runners within the two American cities, where they currently host running clubs and other running-related events both in-store and throughout the local communities.
Lululemon’s Run Stop Shop is the latest example of an international brand using local events and new retail formats to engage the local community. It also exemplifies the capability of vending machines to reach consumers where they are with products that meet their immediate needs. Although the Run Stop Shop in Lincoln Park did have a Lululemon employee waiting nearby to answer customers’ questions and assist them as needed, she said the machines are intended to operate without employee assistance.
And while the machine is both completely free and stocked with non-clothing items that would never be sold in a Lululemon retail store, it could indicate what’s on the horizon for Lululemon and other brands as consumers increasingly demand both convenience and a unique experience from brands and retailers alike.
Lululemon Athletica Inc, a Canadian sportswear producer and retailer originating in functional yoga wear for women, has seen spectacular growth as it established a near cult-like following in North America. Since its foundation in 1998, the company has seen spectacular growth to become 14th largest sportswear company in the world. While the majority of the company’s sales are accounted by its home market of North America, the company has expanded its global reach, particularly in Asia.
Lululemon has focused its expansion of product assortment beyond yoga into other activities such as running and training, office travel commute (OTC) as well as men’s apparel. The company will continue to blend functionality with comfort in its product development and transfer knowledge to broader apparel categories to sustain long-term growth.
To learn more about Euromonitor’s research on the growth of Lululemon Athletica Inc. in the Apparel and Footwear industry, check out this report.