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How Goop Is Navigating COVID-19

Goop's chief content officer Elise Loehnen discusses customer acquisition during the coronavirus.

If any business has been well-equipped to handle the challenges that have come from the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s Goop.

“We’re doing what we’ve always done,” said Elise Loehnen, the company’s chief content officer. “Focusing on what we know are the standards for wellness, which for a while has been blown off as irrelevant or nonessential.”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle and e-commerce company, last said to be valued at $250 million, has oft been made fun of for promoting science not approved by mainstream medicines and selling candles that claim to smell “like my vagina.” But with uncertainly and fear over COVID-19 still percolating and no vaccine or treatment in site, Goop may have the last laugh as consumers begin to take wellness more seriously.

“Consumers are thinking about their role in an interconnected and interdependent system,” Loehnen said. “What they’re putting on and in their bodies, how they can manage their relationship with stress…how can they not get sick and end up in a hospital?”

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Goop is here to help with that. Loehen said that in the wake of the pandemic, Goop, which since its founding in 2008 has expanded to include a podcast, live events, retail stores, a clothing label and more, has doubled down on its role as a “service brand.”

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“We’ve been doing workshops, mini touch-bases with our community, morning routines, work-from-home guides — things that give people tools in the moment,” Loehnen said.

Elise Loehnen speaking at the WWD Wellness Summit.
Elise Loehnen speaking at the WWD Wellness Summit.

Goop’s marquee live event, In Goop Health, has transformed from a $1,000-per-ticket in-person affair to a free weekly YouTube series featuring experts that Goop regularly taps for its events and web site content.

There’s also the product side of the business. While the company is still “evaluating” its retail strategy going forward, Loehnen said homebound consumers are beginning to look at consumption habits in a way that aligns with Goop’s quality-over-quantity ethos.

“The consumption patterns on Goop [suggest] people are willing to buy fewer things that are better.

“As we’ve all been put at home with all our things, we are forced to evaluate our relationship to products in our lives — a lot of us are recognizing that we need to divorce ourself from the myth that we can have good, fast and cheap simultaneously — it’s really a ‘you pick two,'” Loehnen said. “Consumption patterns on Goop [suggest] that people are willing to buy fewer things that are better. They are going to their closets, they are going to their cabinets, taking stock of all the choices they are taking on in their lives and wanting to do better.”

Buying product is not typically the first move a consumer makes on the Goop site, said Loehnen, rather “a formation of their relationship with us.” Goop primarily acquires customers via its content. Goop’s podcasts, including one specifically about beauty and one for men, have been major customer acquisition vehicles.

One thing Goop is not doing for customer acquisition is marketing on Facebook, said Loehnen — a strategy that seems to be working so far.

“We were doing bottom-of-the-funnel acquisition on social and Facebook, and we stopped spending because of COVID-19,” Loehnen said. “What we found is it had no adverse effect on the business when we stopped buying customers. Playbooks don’t really work in the long term.”