Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Wearables: Data, Devices and Clubs

Wearables have been around long enough now for us to dispel the myths that they will replace gyms, supersede personal trainers, or kill the health club industry.

Like budget clubs, they might provide a route into fitness for some people, who then move onto ‘harder drugs’, i.e. a gym membership. For athletes and experienced exercisers, they add another layer of measurement, or the chance to level up what they’re already doing.

From a club operator point of view, the plethora of wearables and fitness apps is a minefield.
There’s no chance you’re going to satisfy all members, yet there’s pressure to adopt one platform or another. Some clubs buy into an app thinking all members will download and use it. Unfortunately, many front of house system apps aren’t much more than a class booking system, which doesn’t work as well as a mobile enabled website, but might allow you to send push notifications to members, which makes those few members who downloaded the app delete if from their device.

From a retention point of view, an app should show you how active your members are inside and outside your club. You should know how active your members are inside your club from their last visit date, but a wearable can help to fill in the gaps for those members who are exercising between in-club workouts or classes.

Platforms like Active Points are a great way of aggregating this data, whether from a Fitbit, MyZone belt, or running app such as Strava. Operators get to see how active their members are, compare club visits with overall activity levels. They can then choose to re-engage with absent members in different ways depending on their activity.

The member benefits are clear too, as they’re rewarded for being active, and their Active Points can be redeemed in club (or at other outlets). By signing up your members to Active Points, or a white labelled version of the platform, you are providing them with a solution they’re looking for, rather than sending them elsewhere. There are then multiple ways of tracking activity, from simple visits (front of house ‘swipes’) to activity trackers and wearables.

Wearables and apps are not a replacement for clubs or staff within clubs. They are a way of enhancing the member experience and collecting more useful exercise data for your members. You can show your members their aggregated data, and use it to motivate, and possibly reward them too.

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