People always say the fitness industry lags behind other sectors. They say it as a criticism – yet in some ways, it’s a good thing.
Why? Because it means we have a chance to understand the trends that have shaped those sectors. It means we have an invaluable opportunity to put measures in place to pre-empt and prepare for them, and with it future-proof our businesses.
Let’s take retail as an example. Rewind a decade or so, we were seeing ever more experiential stores being built. Shopping became less chore and more entertainment – and yet convenience still ultimately won the day. Online shopping continued to chip away at the traditional model and, as it became increasingly mainstream, more and more consumers opted to click, select, pay… and then move on to something other than shopping altogether. The result? A not-so-slowly-dying high street as shopping morphed into something consumers did from the palm of their hand.
There are obvious parallels to draw with fitness, where today’s health clubs have an undeniable ‘wow’ factor but still only attract around 12–15 per cent of the population even in most developed markets. Meanwhile, both existing exercisers and, crucially, those new to fitness are being drawn towards the digital offerings: online fitness providers and influencers whose advice and programming is no more than a click away, available any time, anywhere. Once again, convenience is proving to be a huge selling point.
So, how do we prevent health clubs dying off in the same way as retail outlets? How can we keep clubs relevant to consumers, even as their preferences change and evolve in terms of how they consume fitness?
The answer is simple and doesn’t have to be hard to implement: clubs must extend their model so it no longer relies purely on people coming in to their facilities to work out. Rather than allowing themselves to be replaced by online competitors, they must adopt a hybrid membership model that allows them to own the online space as a digital extension of the physical club offering.
Tools such as Wexer Web Player can play an instrumental role in delivering this quickly, compellingly and cost-effectively.
This new offering from digital fitness leader Wexer is a password-protected portal that offers on-demand access, through any internet-enabled device, to 500+ top-quality virtual group exercise classes. It gives consumers what they want – 24/7 access to great fitness content that allows them to work out whenever they like, wherever they may be – but, by integrating with a club’s existing website and/or app, the club has clear ownership of the experience.
Even better, this is achieved without any significant investment on the operator’s part as no technical integrations are required; Wexer Web Player costs just US$249 a month for the first 200 users, and $249 for every additional 200 users.
Wexer Web Player is the perfect bridge between the physical and digital worlds of fitness. It facilitates a best-of-both-worlds situation: one where clubs remain at the heart of the experience, but where fitness users can choose how they want to consume that experience from one day to the next, whether in-club or from the palm of their hand.
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