Beyond fitness as usual
The bad news
It’s impossible these days to differentiate your gym and, with a wave of digitally-savvy newcomers on the circuit, there is a distinct lack of loyalty affecting the industry. Consumers are ready for change, but the industry is lagging behind, still stuck in digitising business as usual – the programme card, workforce management, member management, class bookings.
Innovation is the only way to keep up in a highly competitive market. There are loads of services aggregating fitness data, many into services like Apple Health - but none of them have the authority or the 1-2-1 access to tailor that into something meaningful. 1s and 0s mean nothing. It's the insight that matters.
The good news
There are so many opportunities to create more loyalty and increase retention rates. It all comes down to embracing tech to build a digital ecosystem that wraps around customer needs. Tech that adds value and utility to the customer experience, past the space, past the classes and past the equipment you provide at your gym.
The equipment is even crying out for it; TechnoGym’s gear and app now integrates with the iPhone to track what they’re calling your “Movergy” (yea, us too), while its Wellness Cloud wants to help you as much out of the gym as within.
Here are some the key trends we see defining the future of fitness.
It feels like old hat, but, the rise of wearables is undeniably one of the biggest trends we’re seeing impact the health and wellness sector. According to research company GFK, health and fitness trackers represent 55% of the wearables market, followed by smart watches at 32%.
Further to this the latest equipment from TechnoGym will integrate directly with smartphones creating new competition for the ownership of the customer relationship. In the UK alone 33% of consumers track or monitor their health and fitness via an online or mobile application, fitness band, clip or smart watch. Your members expect to sync their wearables with your systems, so they can track activity and fitness goals.
Gaining insight into your customer’s workout opens up new opportunities to link activity to goals, nutrition advice, PT sessions and extremely tailored messaging. The key point here is that once you’ve got all this data aligned to their fitness goals and personal preferences, leaving you would mean leaving all their data behind.
Customer service everywhere
There has been a big push into apps, mobile optimised sites and marketers are well aware that causing customers friction in the booking journey is helping them move out the door permanently — and we aren’t underplaying the complexities that sit around it.
But once you’ve nailed this, what technology can you use to take your customer experience to the next level?
Chatbots are already providing gym goers with motivation to get to class as well as workout plans and analytics. Atlas is a new app in beta stage; it sends you reminders and motivation based on the workouts that you schedule in. But if you integrated this into your existing gym booking system, you’d be able to motivate your customers without someone else getting the data.
Imagine utilising messenger bots to build engaging communications with customers – an AI trainer, perhaps, or nutrition advice in the supermarket – then think of how much more powerful that becomes when added to the power of push notifications and beacon messaging. Heck - what about expanding your reach and relationship into your home or hotel room, utilising voicetech to get the coach to lead your workout.
Membership models are being disrupted. PureGym commoditised at the low price point - staff-lite, member-heavy. Juxtapose that to the likes of Psycle, offering a killer high-end experience, no strings attached; sure, you pay the premium for it, but cost isn’t all that matters in this day of competitive fitness.
Tech offers a unique opportunity to set yourself apart from the pack. It's a platform to flex credibility and position yourself as the friendly expert — ultimately it's these brands that will win out in the end.