The wearables industry is a booming market. IDC forecasts that worldwide shipments of wearables will grow with 38.2 percent in 2016 alone, which amounts to a staggering 110 million devices. And the growth of this billion-dollar industry isn’t expected to stop any time soon.
These developments are currently mainly driven by the consumer market, where the likes of Apple, Google, etc., are working on smart watches, glasses and more. But the fitness industry is slowly catching on as well.
An Unequivocal Opportunity. At fitness-related conventions and seminars all over the world, everywhere you go, it’s about technology. Fortunately, the health club industry is finally acknowledging the importance of IT within its businesses. Wearables are a big and growing piece of this.
Clients can track their own progress diligently and make changes accordingly with or without the assistance of a trainer. This is what consumers are already doing today, and this is what we should be adapting to if we consider ourselves experts in health and fitness.
A Question of Control. The main challenge is one of control. Who controls the client data, how accessible is that data and what can you do with it? But also, what wearables are used, and how do they fit within your business model?
The majority of consumer-focused wearables collect data in a personal profile, shielded from prying eyes. This is good for privacy, but bad for coaching. Obtaining insight in client data can quickly become a hassle. You’ll need a good solution designed for professional application.
Missing Out on Revenue? Something that’s intriguing is the business opportunity wearables present for gyms. Of course, clients can use the tracker they chose to purchase at some point, but as a club owner you are in the perfect position to advise your members on the issue and present them with a solution that seamlessly integrates with your club and coaching services. As such, if implemented well, wearables can be a lucrative business opportunity for gyms. By using your trainers as resellers, it will not only open up an additional revenue stream from your existing clients, but it will improve the overall experience of the service you provide as well.
Boost Retention. Perhaps the biggest benefit of implementing wearables within your club ecosystem is the improved member experience with your services. Offering wearables as part of your service can be the missing link to connect their daily lives with your health and fitness offering, all in a super easy and seamless experience. Imagine, your members could be engaged with your brand every single day as they wake up in the morning and open up your club app to sync their body composition data from their Bluetooth scale and their daily steps from their activity monitor. It will extend your service beyond the walls of your gym, an engaging experience which will boost member engagement, loyalty and lifetime value.
Hugo Braam is the CEO at Virtuagym, provider of fitness software, mobile apps and wearables for health clubs. Reach him via email@example.com or visit virtuagym.com/professional.
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