They want instant, all-the-time access to everything their club provides today, and have a long wish list of things they’d like it to offer tomorrow.
While club websites still have their place, they may have had their day. “That format is fairly restrictive,” says Sharad Mohan, the CEO of Trainerize, which develops apps for fitness facilities. “Mobile apps, on the other hand, are a convenient, easily accessible medium that lets clubs remain constantly connected to their members.”
“To create an exceptional customer experience, you need to mirror the way people do business outside of your club,” suggests Ned Arick, the customer lead for small and medium-sized business for Netpulse, Inc., a leading app provider. “If you want to be competitive, you need to make it easy for them to do business with you.”
Increase Revenue by Providing Convenience
Instant purchases: Typical club apps make it incredibly easy for members to make purchases at any time and from wherever they are—for classes, special programs, personal training, massage, merchandise, gift cards, and more. And special offers and push notifications can be customized, via geo-targeting, to encourage impulse buys.
“Our Club Automation Mobile App allows members to register and pay for classes and programs at their convenience, maximizing the opportunity for clubs to sell and increase their revenue stream,” says Emily Zelko, the director of marketing for Club Automation, now a subsidiary of Daxko.
Apps not only facilitate, but also track purchases, producing valuable data in the process. “Our software tracks and measures specific purchases and quantities, so clubs can see where their sales are coming from, compare those sales to their overall revenue, and, if necessary, make changes,” says Larry King, the founder and CEO of ShapeNet Software, which recently introduced a new app.
Online training and coaching: Trainerize’s app makes it possible for clubs to offer personal training online, providing a flexible, affordable option to individuals who may hesitate to purchase in-club sessions.
“It’s an industry truism that clubs are only able to sell personal training to approximately 10% of their members,” says Mohan. “This app lets them address and meet the needs of a broader market.”
Virtuagym’s PRO digital coaching program offers users customized exercise and nutrition plans, progress tracking, and social support.
“Given this sort of complete lifestyle coaching, members tend to remain committed longer, which increases their lifetime value to the club,” says Kalen Pino, Virtuagym’s director of operations for North America. “And clubs can utilize it to establish a revenue stream that essentially pays for the app.”
The Newtown Athletic Club (NAC), a Virtuagym client in Newtown, PA, has reaped the benefits.
“This app gave us the tools and technology to expand beyond our four walls, allowing us to provide online workouts for our members to use both inside and outside of the club,” says Kate Golden, the director of people and fitness operations at NAC. “It’s also made it possible for us to engage our younger Millennial members, who already were using apps for fitness routines.
“We’re now a true ‘brick and click’ business model.”