Get Off The Coupon Cycle

Get Off The Coupon Cycle

Groupon, Living Social, Gilt Groupe…not a week goes by when I don’t get a coupon from one of these organizations offering cheaply discounted yoga classes. The last one I got was for a monthly unlimited at an established midtown studio for $39.

If I purchased the coupon and went every day to that studio I would pay $1.30 for class. Do you think I’d readily sign up for regular monthly unlimited of $150 after that — which would make the classes 4 times as expensive? Or would I shop around for another deal somewhere else?

To make matters worse, the coupon companies take 50% of what they sell so in actuality the studio is only getting 50 cents a class for my month introduction. Hardly enough to sustain a studio or even pay a teacher.

A cash-strapped studio might use coupons for very short term liquidity issue or to introduce itself to a community, but reliance on these programs has created a bargain hunting iterant student base.

This is a customer base that depreciates the value of yoga.

What studios don’t seem to understand are ways to build business without such a large compromise to profits.

Reward your “best” customers and establish even more “best” customers through loyalty programs vs. discount programs.

By utilizing sophisticated customer software like Mind/Body, a studio can define their most profitable customers. Incentivize those customers to take another class or buy another week’s membership. Offer special monthly workshops or classes for students with 6 month or 1 year unlimited memberships. Ask students to up their membership from a 1 month to a 3 month and give them a free mat or book. Or, provide them with bring a friend programs where they earn points towards a gift or discount for introducing new students to your studio.

There are infinite ways to thank your outstanding customers. But only way one to keep the marginal ones.

Yoga teaches us to use our energy wisely and efficiently to progress towards a stronger sense of balance. Bring that concept to your balance sheet and flourish.

— Brette Popper

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