CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Motionsoft
Let's face it: We love our phones. They do pretty much everything. They play music, take pictures, run games and about a million other things. According to a recent Pew Internet Project study:
- 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone.
- 2 percent of American adults own a tablet computer such as an iPad or Surface.
- 29 percent of cell phone owners describe their cell phone as "something they can't imagine living without."
The study also found that two-thirds of us check our phones for messages, alerts or calls, even when we don't notice our phone ringing. Nearly half of smartphone owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn't miss any calls, text messages or updates during the night.
Phones help us organize our lives with the use of calendars, notes, to-do lists and voice memos. Many of us would be utterly lost on a daily basis without our mobile devices telling us what we need to do and where we need to go.
Mobile Devices and Fitness
The most exciting development yet is how our phones are helping us get in shape. Sure, mobile apps enable us to obliterate zombies and fling birds at exploding pigs, but they also help us run faster, get stronger, eat better and monitor our health.
Nearly one-third of U.S. smartphone owners (32 percent—about 46 million people) used apps from the fitness and health category in January 2014, according to a report from Nielsen's Mobile NetView 3.0 software. These 46 million users accessed the apps, on average, 16 times per month and used the apps for close to an hour. It is difficult to argue with those numbers. Mobile devices and fitness are becoming nearly synonymous.
Another study, this one by Flurry, indicates that in the first half of 2014, fitness app usage has increased 62 percent. This compares with a 33 percent increase in usage, measured in sessions, for the mobile app industry overall. That is staggering.
Fitness apps have great appeal, not just for the tech geeks among us, but for those who have adopted the "can't live without my smartphone" mentality. They help us schedule and plan our workouts, which appeals to the organizer in us. With time a premium to most of us, fitness apps help us plot when to work out, what to do and for how long. They help us track progress and chart those all-important results. And they keep us accountable for continuing what we started, with alerts and reminders so we don't slack off and lose momentum.
Mobile Technology at Your Facility
With the widespread consumer adoption of fitness apps and technology, does not it make sense to offer mobile access to your facility? I'm not talking just a state-of-the-art website, although that's a must. I'm referring to time-saving, loyalty-building perks such as online membership, mobile equipment sign-up and class registration, and social media integration. In today's über-competitive health and fitness environment, the name of the game is customer satisfaction. And what better way to increase satisfaction and build loyalty than to offer online convenience.
Here are some examples:
Memberships. When you think about it, not everyone has the time or desire to sit down face-to-face with a gym salesperson. Not everyone wants a high-pressured sales pitch, and maybe they have already checked out your facility online. The majority of consumers today have made an online purchase, and online memberships are a quick and easy way for people to secure membership without spending time touring the gym.
Another terrific reason for offering online memberships is they save you money. And the more people who join your gym online, the fewer commissions you have to pay out to a salesperson. That is a direct impact on your bottom line.
Equipment sign-up. Forget clipboards and paper; think how happy your members would be if they could reserve a court, a bike or even a massage by using a tablet situated on the gym floor. That is giving them the convenience they want with the familiar technology they love.
Online class registrations. Advance, online registrations help fill your classes, and customers tell me that when people register for sessions online, they are more likely to attend, as they have made more than a mental commitment. And that is important when you consider all the pay-by-the-class options your gym may currently offer. Plus, your members will love the convenience of online registration, so it is a great way to bolster loyalty and satisfaction.
Social media interaction. Give your members an easy way to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter. There are fitness software solutions out there that include one-click access to enable members to follow you on social media, post suggestions and sing your praises. You build your social following—members keep you top of mind and tell their friends about you.
There are plenty of ways for you to incorporate mobile technology into your facility to increase customer interaction, satisfaction and loyalty, and most important, profit. It is a trend that is here to stay, and one you should definitely consider.
Robert Skinner is the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Motionsoft. Skinner has more than 30 years of senior management experience in private and publicly traded software companies. Most recently, he was CEO of Agentek, a provider of field service mobile solutions. He also has served as vice president of sales and marketing for the MRM division of Trimble Mobile Solutions and was executive vice president of sales, marketing and professional services at Vastera Inc., a publicly traded global trade management software company that was acquired by JP Morgan.