SoulCycle VP on Product Management (Part 2)
When I started at SoulCycle, the company did not have an analytics team. We would ask questions and couldn’t get answers because we didn’t have access to data. The fact that we didn’t have an analytics team reflects how well the company was doing. However, it also highlights how many opportunities were being missed by product management.
Interestingly, we found that we had a ton of data coming in from our daily projects. The problem is that we didn’t have a culture that focused on using data to make better decisions. Now, we are using data from our retail services and other touch points to create a more holistic view of our customers.
For example, we used data to improve our rider acquisition strategy. Through our analysis, we know that our retention is most effective when riders take six classes or more. To get to that sixth class, we identified an opportunity to improve our “activation” period to increase our conversion rate.
We discovered that about 20 percent of our riders were taking six classes or more. Initially, the marketing team sent out more emails with promotional content to bring riders back after the first ride. They thought they had the problem figured out, but in reality, this didn’t produce any results in driving higher retention.
This is where the product management team stepped in and did something very radical. We talked to our riders! Our headquarters is right next to one of our New York City studios. As a result, we can receive instant feedback from our customers to gain invaluable insights. One trend that emerged centered on not knowing what to expect. For example, “I didn’t know what to wear” or “I didn’t know how long the class was going to be.”
Based on this feedback, the team developed content that focused on “ride zero.” Said differently, the focus is on everything you need to make your first SoulCycle experience as enjoyable as possible. Before class, we send out educational materials about what to wear / how the class is structured / what time to arrive / etc.
In summary, we have seen a huge increase in retention and getting people back for more than a handful of classes. We still have plenty of work to do, but this is a great example of product management teams listening to customers and using data to make better decisions.
Looking for Part 1? Click here to view
Looking for Part 3? Click here to view
About the speaker
Jason Rodriguez is the VP of Product & Engineering at SoulCycle and is responsible for leading their digital efforts across platforms and studios domestically & internationally. Prior to joining SoulCycle, Jason Rodriguez held various positions from Founder, CTO, and VP of Engineering for startups like Noodle Education, Schoology, and larger organizations like Condé Nast. Jason had a career in software development for 10+ years before taking on product and engineering management roles, after graduating from Polytechnic University with a degree in Computer Science.