My advice for gyms looking to create digital memberships- Paul Bowman, CEO Wexer

Have you started to think about generating income from a mobile app? I recently attended the Motionsoft Tech Summit and in my opinion, one of the key themes which emerged was:

How can traditional bricks-and-mortar gyms create a new revenue stream through digital fitness memberships?

The term digital membership is very broad, but in the fitness industry, it doesn’t need to be.

Simply put, a digital membership is a type of membership that does not necessarily involve going to the gym. Instead these members can access the same high-quality fitness content through their smart phone.

If you are a gym considering adding a digital membership to your portfolio then I have three pieces of advice for you. These pointers have resulted from many conversations within our industry; including suppliers and operators alike. What I also know is that with health and fitness apps growing 330% over the last 3 years (Flurry Analytics Sep 2017), apps providing on demand fitness content aren’t going anywhere.

1.      Ask yourself, do I have the best mobile technology in place?

The most effective way to offer a digital membership is via a mobile app.

For those gyms already offering an app of some kind, my advice would be to examine the existing functions and whether the technology can integrate with, and support the technology required for digital memberships. For example, does your app allow consumers to make in-app purchases?

On the other hand, if your gym doesn’t offer an app then you have the exciting project of starting from scratch! The one thing I cannot stress enough is having …. OPEN API’s. Ensuring that your technology can integrate with other technologies is essential.

2.      Nominate someone who is going to lead the project

Ensuring you have a trusted developer is important – but they are only one piece of the puzzle. You need your heads of Fitness, IT and Marketing to be involved. A combination of these departments is the perfect mix to ensure the app will positively impact the member journey.

3.      Set expectations and milestones to gain usage

Changing the way your members engage with the brand isn’t going to be straightforward. When creating a new digital offering, we recommend setting early milestones that are simply about increasing app downloads and usage. How do you do this? I’d say, ensure your early milestones give members what they need most, for example opening hours and class schedules.

Top tip: Adding your group fitness schedule to your app and making it searchable by instructor, location and time is one of the best ways to engage members.

Once you see a notable rise in usage, you can then set a strategy and KPIs for digital membership sales.

If you’d like to discuss launching digital memberships for your chain, please feel free to get in touch