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10 Things to Know About Lululemon’s New Membership

This fall, Lululemon introduced its new free loyalty program called the Lululemon Essential Membership. This is not to be confused with its paid Studio Membership.

I’m a fan of Lululemon’s workout clothes. They’re a leading athletic apparel retailer for good reason. They make quality products, albeit at a high price point. I can’t believe that some of my workout leggings are more than a decade old and still in good condition.

This new program is trying to tap into its stronger base of loyal customers. So the question is, is it worth joining the Lululemon membership? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the program? Here’s everything you need to know.

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What is the Lululemon Essential Program?

Technically, the Essential Program is a loyalty program. In reality, it models itself after retailers that offer good customer service.

You can’t help to compare it to Nordstrom, which in my opinion, tops the customer service model, offering great loyalty benefits to all its customers, not just its credit card holders. However, in my opinion, The Nordy Club, Nordstrom’s free loyalty program is heaps better than Lululemon’s version.

The Essential Membership basically entices customers to shop online, use its app, and take advantage of some free features and benefits.

How Do You Join the Essential Program?

You can find the sign-up form on the Lululemon website. Once you get the welcome email, you’re directed to download their free app, either on the Apple Store or Google Play.

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What are the Benefits of the Lululemon Essential Program?

There are two standout benefits to joining Lululemon’s program:

1. Early Access to Products

Many of Lululemon’s products sell out quickly (especially limited edition items) so dedicated customers want to be the first to know of new products, styles, or colors. You’ll also be able to sign up for back-in-stock notifications when your desired items get restocked.

2. Limited Lululemon Studio Content

Lululemon has a second membership, the Lululemon Studio Membership, a paid membership to be used with their fitness equipment, the Lululemon Studio Mirror, its new fitness platform. They acquired the Mirror in 2020.

Mirror smart device workout
Me trying out the Mirror

By joining their new free program and downloading the app, you can try out a limited selection of workout classes, with new ones added each week.

Classes include strength workouts, ballet, pilates, tai chi, dance cardio, yoga, cardio, ballet, boxing, and bootcamp.

Lululemon also partnered with several national fitness studios. The Lululemon Studio Partners include:

  • Aarmy (bootcamp workouts)
  • Y7 Studio (a music-centered yoga studio)
  • DogPound (personal training-based)
  • FORWARD_Space (dance cardio)
  • Pure Barre, Rumble (boxing)
  • YogaSix (yoga, bootcamp, and meditation)
  • AKT (dance cardio that includes strength and toning)

What Is Included in the Paid Lululemon Studio Membership?

The Mirror is a smart home gym product where users get unlimited access to over 10,000 on-demand fitness classes or can livestream daily fitness content through the Lululemon Studio App.

The Lululemon Studio Membership app is extra and is not included with the purchase of a Mirror device. It costs $39 per month.

Besides the Mirror itself, you’ll have to buy their bundle or purchase accessories separately such as a yoga mat and weights.

The new Lululemon Membership Program clearly wants to entice fitness-minded individuals to sample some of their classes and eventually upgrade to the Mirror and paid membership.

You can even buy the Mirror through the Essential Membership app.

More Studio Membership (Paid) Perks:

Besides the fitness classes, paid Studio Membership members also receive:

  • 10 percent off all Lululemon gear
  • 20 percent off at any Lululemon fitness partner studio class
  • unlimited experiential store classes
  • early access to in-person studio classes and special events

Other Benefits of the Free Essential Membership

While Lululemon is promoting these as exclusive perks associated with the free Essential Membership, some of them already exist for everyone:

  • Easier returns: exchange or receive a credit back to your original payment method or to a gift card
  • Receipt-free returns: return items online or in the store without a receipt if you made a purchase online or through the app. For items purchased in the store, it’s best to hold onto your physical receipt.
  • Fast track refunds: if you want a quicker refund, return your online order by mail and get a faster return by opting to receive the refund on a Lululemon gift card.
  • Free hemming: complimentary hemming on all tops and bottoms. Note, this does not include alterations. FYI, I’ve known about this policy for a while, even before the debut of this new membership program.
  • Virtual community events: register to secure a spot. I checked out what they offered this week and it was two fitness classes. I was hoping for more self-care type workshops.
fit woman shopping on phone

What Can You Do on the Lululemon Essential App?

1. Shop

Of course, you can shop, either at the Lululemon online store or arrange a pickup at your nearest brick-and-mortar location.

You can also shop Lululemon’s online outlet store, “We Made Too Much.” This is a smart way to save and avoid Lululemon’s hefty price tag. For example, you can find an Align pair of leggings for more than half off!

2. Create a Wish List

I created a wish list for both me and my daughter. You can then add all those items to your virtual shopping bag or share the list with someone else. This is great for holiday or birthday shopping.

3. Member Hub

Entering the Member Hub is how you can access all the benefits mentioned above:

  • early exclusive access to Lululemon product drops
  • exchange or credit on sale items
  • take select Lululemon Studio Content
  • receipt-free returns, fast-track refunds
  • set up free hemming
  • attend virtual community events

4. Payments

You can enter your credit card information or add a gift card. I like this option as I’m notorious for forgetting to use my store gift cards or misplacing them.

5. Sizes

After you order from the app, it will keep track of your sizes in each product category. Lululemon tends to run small so this is a helpful reminder as to which size I need to order.

Advantages of Lululemon’s Essential Membership

My favorite features include:

  • Limited selection of Studio Content: Lululemon offers a free membership option that enables its customers to take free workout classes from world-class trainers. You can get hours of content at no charge.
  • Early access & back-in-stock notifications: after chasing down several of Lululemon’s most popular products, this is a must-have feature.
  • Gift card payment method: if you misplace gift cards like me or just don’t have them on hand, this is helpful.
  • In-store pickup: when possible, I always prepay and do in-store pickup when shopping. I don’t have the patience to walk around the store shopping and I tend to spend less if I focus on what I really need.

Disadvantages of Lululemon’s Essential Membership

There are some disadvantages of the free membership app;

  • Not exclusive: not all the membership benefits are exclusive and many have been around for a while
  • No rewards. This is a biggie for me. After giving my email address to Lululemon and downloading their app, you would expect to earn some membership rewards. There are no points to accumulate, no special discounts to apply, or any other financial perks like other loyalty programs.

10 Takeaways from Lululemon’s Essential Membership Program:

  1. it’s free
  2. it’s app based
  3. there are some shopping perks, like early access to products and restock notifications
  4. Lululemon shoppers do not get free shipping
  5. app users can buy online through the app and pick up in-store
  6. there are no exclusive promo codes
  7. you get free hemming services
  8. you can participate in free community experiences like virtual classes
  9. you can try out the new Lululemon Studio Membership and stream limited content from Lululemon’s partner studios
  10. It makes online shopping faster: saves your sizes and payment methods, create wish lists, shop their online store and their “We Made Too Much” online outlet

Final Thoughts: Is the Free Lululemon Essential Membership Program Worth Joining?

Since signing up, so far, I have not gotten bombarded with emails from Lululemon which is a good thing.

However, I don’t think this app is necessary. Sure, it makes it easier to shop (a win for Lululemon) as you can order directly through the app, pick up at a local store, and it remembers your sizes and payment methods.

But I’m really disappointed that there is no tangible rewards system like other stores have including competitor Athleta.

Lululemon calls their membership perks rewards but in my opinion, it’s just good customer service other stores like Sephora and Nordstrom have provided for years.

The free hemming is a nice feature as is the sampling of workout classes. I don’t think I’d use the latter too much without the Mirror and I’m already pretty committed to Peloton’s classes.

Still, I guess it can’t hurt to download the app and join their program. I was just expecting more.

Curious about the Lululemon belt bag? Read my full review.

Check out some of my other Lululemon posts here:

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