Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy’s memo to employees about Peloton price changes, layoffs, third party delivery & more

Over the course of this morning, Peloton rolled out numerous changes as part of a reorganization and shift in focus. This included the following (each bullet will take you to an article with full details):

Following all of this news rolling out, Peloton’s CEO Barry McCarthy sent a memo to Peloton employees, laying out the rational behind these moves. You can read his memo that was sent below:


Team


I’m writing to update all of you on Peloton’s ongoing transformation. The past few months we’ve made considerable progress on our journey. We continue to define and lead the global Connected Fitness category, even as we work to make Peloton more efficient, cost effective, innovative, and to best position ourselves for the future. Thank you for your hard work.


We have a clear strategy to drive the long-term, sustainable future of this company. Job one is generating free cash flow by right-sizing our inventory commitments and converting many of our fixed costs to variable costs because that cost structure better aligns with the seasonal revenue of our business. Second, we are also focused on innovation across our hardware and software to strengthen our Member experience. And, finally, we’re focused on growth and expanding the way consumers can experience the magic of Peloton.


We are making several additional changes to the business to improve our performance.


Maintaining our Premium Brand Positioning


For several months we’ve been running the business to maximize cash flow. In April, we lowered prices on our original Bike, Bike+ and Tread to make the entry point for new Members more accessible and to accelerate the sale of inventory to generate much needed cash flow. At the time, we were still in the early days of our $800 million restructuring plan. We were under considerable cash flow pressure, and we were in the process of (but had not yet completed) securing a $750 million bank loan.


Because of our success managing our inventory and supply chain issues, and because of the bank financing, we have the opportunity to adopt a more nuanced pricing strategy targeting “value” and Premium members alike by increasing prices on our Bike+ and Tread models – which contain distinctive, superior design elements, while keeping the price of the Bike v1 and Guide the same.


Specifically, in the U.S., our new price structure will be as follows:

  • Bike+ will increase by $500 to $2,495
  • Tread will increase by $800 to $3,495



You can see the full pricing menu for all products across all markets here.


This pricing change achieves three objectives – we maintain an attractive entry point for new Members; we continue to sell down excess Bike v1 inventory, creating a financial tailwind on investments already made; and we maintain our position as the undisputed premium brand in the Connected Fitness category.


Optimizing our Operations and Workforce


We continue to make strategic changes to our operations and workforce. Following last month’s exit from owned-manufacturing in Taiwan, we are now restructuring our final mile delivery capabilities by expanding our work with our third party logistics (3PLs) providers. As a result, we are eliminating our North American Field Ops warehouses, resulting in a significant reduction in our delivery workforce teams.


Unfortunately, this means a number of team members will be departing the company. We know changes of this nature are never easy.


The shift of our final mile delivery to 3PLs will reduce our per-product delivery cost by up to 50% and will enable us to meet our delivery commitments in the most cost-efficient way possible. I also want to highlight that we have been actively working with our 3PLs to dramatically improve the member experience, and we are seeing positive momentum in those CSAT scores. This has been a challenge. We won’t fix it overnight, but we have no choice but to make it work, so we’re leaning into it and proactively managing our 3PL relationships. We are confident in the plan we’ve put in place, and we’re encouraged by the progress we’re making.


After re-examining the resources required to provide our Members best-in-class support, we have also decided to reduce fixed costs by eliminating a significant number of roles on the in-house North America Member Support Team. In-bound Member support volume has been lower than forecasted, and like other parts of the business, we are going to expand our work with our third party partners. These expanded partnerships mean we can ensure we have the ability to scale up and down as volume fluctuates while still continuing to provide the level of service our Members have come to expect.


These are hard choices because we are impacting people’s lives. These changes are essential if Peloton is ever going to become cash flow positive. Cash is oxygen. Cash is life. We simply must become self-sustaining on a cash flow basis.


I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to those delivery team and Member support colleagues who have been impacted by this decision.


Investing in Talent to Innovate and Grow


In the past you have heard me say we cannot cost cut our way to success. We have to make our revenues stop shrinking and start growing again. We do that with investments in marketing and R&D to drive innovative products. We must also develop new features and functionality for existing CF platforms that delight Members and drive word-of-mouth which drives organic growth. And, we double-down on our existing strengths, particularly our world-class, Instructor-led content that motivates and inspires Members daily.


While we’re reducing our workforce in certain areas of the business, we continue to fill roles on key teams to drive the business forward. This includes further commitment to recruiting top talent in key areas of need such as our software engineering team. I share this so you won’t think we’re driving with our foot on the gas and the brake at the same time. Success is about making the right investments to drive growth while managing to a cost structure the business can afford.


I’ve also long believed hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration is essential for fast, efficient teamwork and innovation. To that end, we’ll be asking all office-based employees to return to their office three days per week starting on Tuesday, September 6th. We know some of you will need more time to sort out related details, and we are asking that you do so, working with your manager, with a deadline of Monday, November 14th for all of us to be back in the office (if your PeloTeam designation is office-based) every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You also are welcome to come in more often, if you’d like, and take full advantage of the office amenities and gym.


As of November 14th, return to office for office-based workers (not you if you were hired to be remote) will be mandatory. There are many successful businesses, like Airbnb and Spotify, who have chosen to operate remotely. There are also many successful companies who have opted to collaborate in the office in person, like Nike and Google. The culture you choose to work in should be compatible with your personal preference. For those of you who don’t want to return to the office, we respect your choice. We hope you will choose to stay, but we understand not everyone will.


Balancing e-Commerce and Retail


Lastly, we need to rebalance our e-Commerce and retail mix to drive efficiencies, which means we will reduce our retail presence across North America. This decision will result in a significant and aggressive reduction of Peloton’s retail footprint. Data tells us that in a post-COVID economy, consumers want a mix of virtual and in-person engagement with the brands they love, meaning a hybrid model of e-commerce as well as limited physical retail touchpoints. We have to meet our prospective Members where they are.


We will provide future updates on which retail operations will be impacted by this decision in the coming months. We do not anticipate closing retail locations in calendar 2022, but the timing is uncertain as we begin negotiations to exit our store leases.


Forward Focus


In closing, I want to reiterate that I know some of this news is difficult to hear as it has a real impact on people’s lives who believe in the mission and our ability to manage the business for success.


Today’s news reminds us it was never more important that we be successful in managing our turnaround. That’s the reason we’re making the hard choices to shift our cost structure from fixed to variable and to right size our spending in retail stores. As we face economic uncertainty in the global macroeconomic outlook, we will continue to analyze our workforce and expenditures. Change is constant, and we need to embrace it and make it one of our super powers.


Overall, I continue to be optimistic about the future of Peloton. That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges ahead. There will be, and there will be unforeseen setbacks. That’s the nature of turnarounds. But I’m confident we can overcome the challenges because we’ve come so far in just the last four months, which feeds my optimism about our ability to engineer our long-term success. No one’s gonna give it to us, least of all our competitors. We’re going to have to step up and make it happen. The future of connected fitness is Peloton’s to own.


Me to you. You to me. You to each other. And all of us to our members.


-Barry

What do you think of Barry’s outlook on the recent changes?


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Chris L
Chris is the founder of Pelo Buddy. He purchased his Peloton in 2018, and has been riding and running ever since. You can find him on the leaderboard at #PeloBuddy.

5 Comments

  • Sarah says:

    So more layoffs already in future for those in-store employees

  • Paul Cairns says:

    has all the signs of preparing to be acquired…which is a legit option

  • Alison says:

    Change is hard. My heart goes out to all at peloton who will lose their jobs but this is a business which can be saved and the brand is worth it. When one door closes, it is amazing how another one opens.

  • Christina Pittsley says:

    If we wouldn’t have already bought our bike (due in part to the price decrease) I wouldn’t buy one. I would have continued with the digital app and would have gotten a different bike (that was still a step up from my old bike). My husband’s old company did basically the same thing and went to 3rd parties overseas. Guess what? They are starting to rehire because it wasn’t working, turns out customers like English speakers. I thought his memo was insensitive and very insincere. I am mad. I realize it’s business but there are right ways and wrong ways to make tough decisions and I think this was wrong.

  • Stephen says:

    International development does not look like a priority. That is understandable but bad news for those who are looking for a Peloton product out of the current bunch of countries covered.

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