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5 Keys to Successful Digital Transformation

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With COVID-19 gym closures, slow reopenings and widespread uncertainty, the temptation clubs face to rush into digitalization is strong. While offering a complete digital solution is essential to being future-ready and meeting the demands of technology-immersed members, jumping in unprepared can be costly in many ways.

So, where does a club begin? The following guidelines are useful whether enhancing and enriching current digital offerings or creating new ones:

1. Find the right partner.

Digitalization is a dynamic process with many interconnected parts. Throw in the relationships between the acronyms — API, CMS, UX, App, etc. — and picking the right partner to help navigate it all becomes crucial. Track records with similar projects, technical expertise, depth of fitness industry knowledge and responsiveness are but table stakes in the selection process. The right partner also should think with the club to enhance, enrich and join the dots where necessary, creating a solid foundation on which to build and prepare for whatever the future brings. 

2. Start with the end in mind.

Technology is rapidly evolving. Defining an overall vision and strategy at the outset of a digital transformation that capitalizes on the club’s environment, member base and existing technology — while envisioning what can be — is imperative. Moving ahead without a vision and strategy is like building a house without a basement, then deciding to add one later.

3. Define the member fitness journey.

A member’s fitness journey is about all the healthy behaviors they engage in throughout the day. The club can become a vital part of it through digital transformation if they assess it early in their planning. Clubs can begin by defining member touchpoints and deciding what value they can add throughout with their offerings. Once the ideal member journey is mapped, they can connect each touchpoint with content and software providers to make it a reality.

4. Appoint a digital manager.

Clubs without in-house technical knowledge can underestimate digitalization, especially those that haven’t assigned “digital” as a management team member responsibility. However, when enhancing or creating a digital offering, leadership is required to account for the entire member digital fitness journey and evaluate what platforms should be speaking to each other. 

5. Resist one-size-fits-all solutions.

Without an understanding of technology, digital transformation can be intimidating. Pressure to act fast might make an off-the-shelf solution seem appealing. But there’s no magic bullet. Don’t let a lack of understanding lead to no digital solutions or the wrong one — both are bad for business. 

Implementing a digital fitness offering that works for both club and member gives a club the ability to customize the member experience to be more personal and relevant, making it a valued part of their lives. The right digital transformation is the one that empowers the club to become the “fitness hub,” to which members are tethered through technology that supports them in their goals — in the gym, at home or on the go. Clubs that feel essential retain their members.

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Ernst de Neef

Ernst de Neef is a co-founder of the interactive digital fitness company, FunXtion. He can be reached at marketing@funxtion.com or visit funxtion.com.

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