Technology is omnipresent in our modern life and it is absolutely impossible to eradicate it from our environment. Technology has been changing the way we’re measuring fitness and strength of our bodies. There’s always a new wave of technological innovation reshaping our lives and the way we do business in the fitness industry. The fitness trends have been changing year-over-year, with a combined profit of 82.7 billion in 2017 alone according to IHRSA, the hunger for more advancements in fitness technology has just increased. With the emerging new fitness trends, it has been a challenge for fitness professionals like never before to choose the technology which suits best for their clients. Professionals have to be up to date in order to make sure they are well technology-equipped and socially aware in order to escalate amidst all the competition in the business world by determining the appropriate trends to make themselves a success.
While the future inducing anxiety, the best strategy for any business in terms of fitness trends is to keep an eye on the changing technology by evaluating carefully of new opportunities to lead to greater pay-offs and sustained success for you and your gym.
Wearables are the most trendy and fashionable gadgets so far in the fitness industry. After dropping to #3 in 2018, wearable technology such as Fitbit and Apple Watches reclaimed the #1 spot for 2019, says a survey from the American College of Sports Machine. Fitness wearables are nothing new but continue to carve out a corner in the fitness trends; thanks to improvements in the overall accuracy of the data they track. Above all, wearables make fitness tangible for their users, giving them concrete data and achievable goals on a daily basis.
Forbes say that “Worldwide smart wearable device sales will double by 2022, becoming a $27 billion+ market with 233 million unit sales.” Wearables can be leveraged to boost member engagement and overall experience within your gym. Live boards projecting members’ heart rate and calories burned adds an engaging new dimension to group classes.
Risk: Wearables enhance personal workouts like going for a run or hitting the stationary bike at home. Potential prospects may see a binary choice: purchase a wearable or purchase a gym membership. This would be a challenge to convince them that the gym membership would actually enhance the usefulness of the wearables.
- Machine Intelligence
The words machine intelligence can evoke up images of an apocalyptic future ruled by machines and their ability to learn new things everyday. A recent Club Industry article summarized Artificial Intelligence(AI) as “…the endgame of machine learning, which is essential to empower computers to make decisions with less and less input from their human counterparts.” The fitness industry is seeing early applications for AI in simple customer-facing functions like class registration, answering services, and website chatbots as well as backend statistical calculations to empower more intelligent sales practices.
Venture Beat reports Facebook messenger alone hosts over 34,000 AI chatbots capable of completing small transactions, providing customer support, or driving subscription sales. By implementing AI into simple, repetitive roles like answering services or class scheduling, you can fill in the gaps of your staff. This gives back valuable time to your team while guaranteeing important member and prospect touchpoints are always covered.
Risk: You could potentially dehumanize your gym. Who doesn’t hate calling a support number and wading through a series of robotic prompts? Heavy automation can lead prospects to view your club as too corporate or impersonal. The challenge is to implement communication workflows that ensure every prospect and member receives personal contact with someone on your team in addition to your AI services.
- Smart Fitness Equipment
Smart fitness equipment influences cutting-edge technology to provide informed data to a user’s workout while giving club staff invaluable insights into the machine’s effectiveness with sensor technology facilitating real-time workout analysis. Practical applications range from machines grading a user’s technique to provide critical feedback or weight-training equipment that can give an automatic “spot” when the user struggles to complete a rep. While cloud-connected equipment enables gym staff to stay fully updated to the maintenance needs of their machines.
Smart equipment brings an exciting new element as a fitness trend to your gym or studio. It can energise and motivate members with dwindling engagement levels, giving them a fresh reason to visit your club. Additionally, cloud-connected equipment can resolve one of the biggest friction points for gym members: broken equipment.
Global Market Insights reports the fitness equipment market was valued at over $10 billion in 2017 and will grow at a 4% compounded annual growth rate from 2018 to 2024.
Risk: Smart equipment can be bewildering to members if they’re unfamiliar with how it is operated. There are few things as intimidating as a gym or studio floor if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Make sure your staff is fully trained on the new equipment so they can assist your members.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Customer relationship management software, known simply as a CRM, is designed to facilitate the management of a business’s clients, data, and workflows. CRMs have quickly established themselves as every business owners’ go to resource: “CRM software is now the biggest software market in the world and the growth isn’t slowing down”, claims SuperOffice. Fitness CRMs are valuable tool for gyms to organize prospects, manage members, and track performance levels.
The right CRM can positively affect every aspect of your fitness business. It should be able to streamline your workflows, giving your team back valuable time for prospect and member interaction. It should integrate with your other software solutions to unify data collection in one place. Not to mention, email and text message capabilities to enhance your marketing efforts. “Having a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you improve the most critical aspects of your club’s member experience.”, says IHRSA.
Risk: Due to the wide market of CRMs, there is often bleed over between industries. You should confirm that the CRM you’re considering implementing into your gym was created for the fitness industry. CRMs built for other industries may try and retroactively bend their features to service fitness industry customers, but this often leads to inept functionality.
These were just a few examples of innovations in the fitness industry; new developments such as virtual reality and augmented reality will add up to the fitness trends by eventually having an impact on the way people play sports and maintain their fitness. We live in exciting times in which technological innovations will take the industry to the next level by simplifying business processes, increasing turnover and improving the member experience and satisfaction.