Imagine, if you will, the mysterious unknown of everyone’s actual exercise habits. It’s a bit difficult, we know, because apps like MapMyRun and Fitbit allow users to share their wildly impressive 5 minute miles as the rest of us wipe the potato chip grease from our hands. With sales of wearables expected to be over $30 billon by 2020, health clubs are finding new ways to use data captured on them to their benefit – and to their customers. The apps being developed are leveraging the data of clients to both keep existing members, and attract new ones.
Gyms like Gold’s and Equinox both have apps which allow you to track your progress as you visit the gym. Equinox’s app, for example, allows you to check in to the gym, book a class, access club hours and basic information, and track your calories burned as well. Additionally, when you arrive to spin class, you can scan the bike and track your cycling workouts. In some locations, TV screens at the front of the class show your time in order to gamify the experience against your classmates as if it were a race.
So that’s all quite handy for the user and, if you were to look at the reviews of the app, people love it. But what else is that data being used for? In addition to the benefits offered to club members working to beat their best times, the data also provides a world of possibilities in predictive analytics.
1. Gyms can track attendance and frequency
Seems simple enough – we now know the peak times for the gym, and can offer the most popular classes – or test new classes – at those times. Think of all the other ways you could use this data. Run promotions for slow times for discounted classes, alter your staffing model to be as efficient as possible, and many more.
You can also remind customers to come back, or send them a push to remind them of the class they attended 3 times then stopped going to. By understanding habits, you can leverage deviations from those habits, and pull customers back in when they start to fade.
2. Provide valuable data to the client on their progress
We’re turning into data hogs. How many likes did I get on that photo? How many people loved it and how many laughed? How many people are coming to the Facebook Event and how many followers do I have? Health is no different. With apps like Apple Health and Google Fit, we’ve got data galore at our fingertips. Progress keeps us going, and that’s exactly what gyms are allowing clients to track. Providing data on miles traveled, classes attended, heart rate, calories and more, clients can track their progress and push themselves to beat their numbers.
3. Give clients more control over their journey
Gold’s Gym’s app and website, MyPath, allows their clients to customize fitness and nutrition plans with their personal trainers, find workout tips and track their goals just like Equinox, and find class schedules for local gyms. It gathers this information through existing wearables like the Fitbit and Nike Fuel band. It also syncs via API with apps like MyFitnessPal. All this control over access to relevant content, building nutrition plans, and scheduling classes, has made it easier to keep health club members loyal.
4. Learn who your best (and worst) clients are
Taking this data and applying it to your business is the end goal here. By providing your clients with what they want, they in return give you what you need – valuable data and insights. This Big Data approach gives you opportunity to build profiles on your clients and, by aggregating that data, you can learn who makes the most loyal customers. The next step is clear – adjust your advertising focus to those personas, while influencing the slackers to come back and give it another go.
5. Make a game out of it
In college I got in great shape because I was working out with friends. We’d play Racquetball, or lift, or run, and we were constantly trying to beat each other. Then, post-graduation, that all stopped. I no longer had that competition working out on my own. North Carolina based O2 Fitness figured out a solution through gamification.
O2 Fitness synced up with Perkville, a customer loyalty company, to offer rewards to those who completed challenges; one challenge for example is visiting the club 10 times in a month. You also earn points for attending classes, reaching set goals, etc. The rewards are extensive and leverage their existing partnerships. Clients can redeem points for free spray tans, massages, and meals.
6. Making the Transition
Getting clients to actually use the technology is an important factor in getting their data. That starts with a mindset of promoting the benefits of using the wearables, and how it can help them to build healthy routines. Some gyms, like MVP Sports Clubs, rely on their trainers to promote wearing the devices. Some of their classes actually require the technology to attend. The club both sell and rent out compatible bands.
These paths have helped with on-boarding, while the trainers leverage the feeling you get of crushing last week’s numbers. It comes down to them to create an experience with the fitness bands – one which keeps clients coming back for more.