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Should Your Brand be Taking a Mobile-First Approach?

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More and more of our time is being spent on mobile devices. For evidence of this, look no further than App Annie’s The State of Mobile 2020 report, which provides insight into the impact mobile is having on a global scale.

This impact is being felt by businesses large and small, including those in the fitness industry. And as mobile experiences continue to grow in popularity, it’s important for clubs to begin thinking about if they should start taking a mobile-first approach to branding, marketing and sales.

Below are some important stats on mobile, curated from The Sate of Mobile 2020 report, for context on where the mobile trend is headed.

  • Annual worldwide downloads have grown 45% in the three years since 2016 and 6% year over year, which is particularly impressive given this excludes re-installs and app updates (App Annie).
  • By 2023, the mobile industry is set to contribute $4.8 trillion to global GDP (App Annie).
  • Across the markets analyzed, consumers spent 35% more time in mobile in 2019 than two years prior (App Annie).
  • Mobile-first companies saw 825% higher average IPO valuation (App Annie).
  • The new decade ushers in the next phase of mobile, with smartphones serving as the primary interface through which we interact with the world around us (App Annie).
  • Ninety-eight percent of Gen Z — born from 1997 to 2012 — report owning a smartphone. Gen Z was expected to surpass millennials as the largest generation by the end of 2019, comprising roughly 32% of the population (App Annie).
  • Mobile ad spend is expected to reach $240 billion as brands harness mobile’s potential (App Annie).

So, how do you succeed when it comes to creating great mobile experiences? According to the App Annie report: “The key to mobile is ease, accessibility and simplicity. Features like face or finger recognition streamline the user journey. This underscores why companies can’t port over an existing experience to mobile. Mobile requires deliberate planning to meet consumers’ expectations.”

Recognizing the importance of mobile, VASA Fitness is an example of a club brand that recently revamped its mobile app offering to be more user friendly. The change was prompted after a member survey revealed the club’s prior app didn’t have all the capabilities desired by customers.

“We learned [the former app] was not giving people the experience they wanted, mainly because it wasn’t easy to do the things people want to do in an app, like managing your account or booking kid care,” said Mindi Bridges, the chief marketing officer of VASA Fitness.

As a result, VASA invested in a proprietary, customized app that allows members to buy memberships, downgrade or upgrade existing memberships, book a class, check-in, access schedules, and more.  

When designing the app, Bridges explained they thought about their own mobile habits, and encouraged other operators designing an app to take that into consideration as well.

“We looked at a lot of other apps, including fitness apps, that we enjoyed the user experience on,” said Bridges. “I would definitely recommend member surveys and doing a little bit of research for anyone who might be putting their features together for a new app.”

In light of The State of Mobile 2020 report, it’s important for club operators to start thinking about how to create great mobile experiences for their customers. Questions to consider include:

  • Should my club have a mobile app?
  • What capabilities — such as membership buying options — should my website or app provide?
  • How should my website or app create a seamless customer experience?

Don’t get left behind. As the App Annie report explains: “With more companies adopting mobile platforms and experiences for their users, businesses are enhancing mobile experiences to streamline usability, personalization and services offered.”

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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