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The Value of E-Commerce


Mike Alpert, the COO of Smart Health Clubs, shares why it’s important to invest in e-commerce for your member experience and bottom line.

If there was a way to achieve significant revenue growth month over month while lowering internal operating costs, would you be interested in trying it at your club? And if this was something your members were using already and did not require a learning curve or additional labor, would it be even more appealing to you?  

Well, the solution is not a magic pill, but it is very simple to use: e-commerce. Your members are already using it with everything they are purchasing online through Amazon, Zappos, Disney, movie theater tickets, travel, Apple music, etc. A large amount of these purchases are completed using a person’s mobile device.  

The ability to make purchases of products and services your club offers via e-commerce will, if marketed properly, take pressure off your front desk, which often requires additional staff answering questions and running point of sale. That allows you to either reduce labor or shift the labor to another needed area without having to add labor costs. Making it easy for members to purchase personal training and Pilates sessions, pay for tennis lessons, purchase guest passes and summer camp sessions or swim lessons all online, at the club or remotely can only result in increased revenue and create happy members.  

Now think of combining this with digital marketing. This will give you the ability to promote upcoming social events, tournaments, specials offered by departments — literally anything that generates revenue you want to expose your members to, via simply attaching a flyer to an email. You can send these to specific demographics within your club or to your entire membership. 

Your member would then be able to sign-up and complete the purchase all from their mobile device or web portal. And one additional functionality is the closed loop feedback that gives the club all the information about the campaign’s effectiveness. This includes the number of impressions, click through rates, purchases across various marketing channels — emails, push notifications, social media, etc. 

All of this allows clubs to fine-tune their digital marketing spend and target the most responsive channels.

Also, think about your onboarding process with new members during the critical 90 to 120 days of their membership. You can send a welcome letter, invite the new member to take a group exercise class with the sales associate who sold them the membership, invite them to a social event, offer them a complimentary workout with a trainer, or invite them to join a family movie night. This encompasses almost anything that will engage a new member and make them feel appreciated and special, and show added value to their membership.

As with all customer-facing software, it is best if you are able to have one data source and the same, consistent member experience.


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