Fitness apps are driving change in the fitness industry and how fitness studios operate. If you’re trying to work out more or increase your steps, the likelihood is that you’ve downloaded an app to help. The market for U.S health apps is predicted to reach around $3.5 billion by 2025.
Fitness and health centers are jumping on the bandwagon, using on-brand mobile apps that offer unique in-app experiences for members. This creates a level of communication with clients like never before. In this article, we will discuss the seven app features every fitness business needs. We will also go into how an app will build your business and create trust with your audience.
Why Does Your Gym Need a Mobile App?
Americans spend more time than ever tapping, swiping, reading, and watching media on their smartphones and tablets. According to research by Nielsen, American adults are spending more than 11 hours per day reading and interacting with media, and 62% of that time is attributed to apps and web browsing on phones.
Technology and fitness go hand in hand with audiences being increasingly health-conscious and tracking their wellbeing digitally. Your competition is becoming more and more integrated with technology. The global health and fitness industry is thriving, with a revenue of more than $80 billion every year. New fitness studios are popping up throughout the country, and a business needs to stand out to compete in the current market.
Desktop internet usage is falling while mobile phone internet use is rising. With the ability to be continuously connected, there’s no better way to get in front of a potential customer than through their phone. According to ComScore, 18-24-year-olds spent 66% of their digital media time using smartphone apps. Millennials are three times more likely to get excited about new mobile apps than older users.
With this advancement in technology, gyms now rely on gym management software more than ever to power their business and part of this is having a branded mobile app. An app can help to increase member retention through engagement. You will also help create a community and reach new members. From a business perspective, an app can streamline time-consuming admin tasks which take up precious time in the day.
Popular Fitness and Wellness Apps
- Nike Training Club: Nike’s app offers free workouts, personalized training plans, daily workout recommendations, and supports Apple Watch. You can also track your runs with Nike Run Club and connect to Apple Health.
- Strava: This app brings a competitive edge for runners, cyclists, and outdoorsy types. The app allows users to track their outdoor activities with accurate GPS.
- Mapmyfitness – the app from Under Armour allows users to track everything with either their phone or devices like Garmin, Apple Watch, or Fitbit. They also help users to find support and motivation by creating a social community.
- MyFitnessPal – one of the best apps around for tracking and motivation, Myfitnesspal pushes users to keep an eye on their diet program through an easy to use a database that provides nutritional information on millions of foods.
7 Essential Features to Consider in Mobile App Development
Mobile apps are becoming a part of every single industry, and the fitness industry is no different. If you own a fitness business, you need to be thinking about a mobile app. Any fitness studio or gym can benefit from a mobile app.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know about the importance of a mobile app or might even be in the processes of building one. These seven essential features will help you engage with your members and encourage users to download your app.
1. Track the Progress of Your Members
One of the main reasons a person signs up to a gym or joins a fitness studio is to be healthy, maybe even lose a little weight and tone up. To help create a level of enthusiasm that is going to encourage members to keep coming back, an app that tracks their progress is essential. Make it as easy as possible for users to stay on top of their fitness and weight goals.
Whether an app is tracking steps, calories, exercise, or metrics such as heart rate and weight, visually showing your members how well they are progressing is a great way to motivate and support them. Apps such as Strava and Mapmyfitness build a community, motivate, and engage with members.
No matter the fitness level, a mobile app encourages members to keep going. Whether they are at an expert level or just starting out, an app drives membership retention and makes it easy to stay engaged at just a drop of a button.
For some inspiration to get you started, check out the Fitness Industry Technology Council’s podcast, Fit-C. Episode 083 is a must-listen, Kenn Gudbergsen: The Mobile App Behind the IHRSA Passport Program. The episode offers insights from Kenn Gudbergsen, co-founder of TrainAway, the passport program partnered with IHRSA to offer discounts to IHSRA members and access to participating clubs for people who like to workout when they travel.
2. Communicate Easily with Members
Americans look at their phones an average of 52 times a day, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey. With an estimated 270 million Americans looking at their phone a whopping 14 billion times a day. Although it’s a habit that a lot of people are trying to cut down on, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get in front of customers.
Streamline communication with members and connect with them anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s a class update or the schedule has changed, you can let them know immediately and send a push notification straight to their smartphone. Once a user downloads your app, you’ve created a direct marketing channel that a user carries around in their pocket every day.
Provide users with all the information they need from price lists to class schedules. Combine this with targeted push notifications, and you can upsell directly to the customers. You also have the opportunity to create a more personalized experience for members through your mobile app.
Research suggests that many brands are still relying on primary forms of personalization and failing to engage consumers as a result. A survey of 7,000 consumers by SalesForce found that 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts.
3. Push Notifications and Reminders
Push notifications allow you to communicate with members easily in a non-intrusive way. Getting users to engage and stay engaged with an app can be a challenge. One tactic to reach users is through push notifications and reminders, sent directly to their home screen. Push notifications can be used for exclusive offers, personalized discounts, and to promote your gym.
As well as being used as a sales channel, notifications are a great way to update your members with class reminders, making their life more convenient. Push notifications are also a fantastic way to re-engage users; people who have downloaded the app and are no longer active. Sending even more high-value push notifications can increase retention rate by 3 to 10 times.
4. Branding and Design
Creating a unique custom branded app is absolutely crucial in helping your business to stand out from the crowd. Build an app that your customers will love and include the features you know they will value. Whether that’s booking classes or offering membership flexibility, it’s your decision.
The branding and design of your app need to be in keeping with your business. Branding improves recognition, builds trust and awareness, and generates new customers. Your brand is the way your customers perceive you and is the face of your business. A strong brand encourages customer referrals and helps customers know exactly what to expect from you as a company.
Colour improves brand recognition by up to 80%. One of the best ways to achieve this is by having a signature color. So, pick your colors carefully based on the feelings you want your clients to experience. Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%.
For some great insights, listen to episode 238 of the Fitness Business Podcast, How Smart Technology is Transforming our Cities and the Fitness Industry. Find out how technology is driving change within the health and fitness industry and what the future of fitness looks like when it comes to innovation.
5. Book and Schedule Classes
Allow members to book classes and courses directly through the app. Offering members convenience and flexibility is key to adding value and creating the kind of experience that will retain members. Users should be able to look at and plan their class schedule easily with no confusion as to how it works. The less clicks the user has to make to confirm the payment, the less likely they are to drop out before completing it.
An app can also create a membership platform, allowing members to monitor their payment, make payments, and keep up to date with their membership plan. With a branded mobile app, members don’t need to call, email, or text to book into a class or renew their membership, making it much more efficient for both you and your clients. You don’t need to spend all day answering calls as simple tasks can be done quickly from a smartphone.
6. Connect to Wearables
It’s estimated that there will be 560 million units of wearable devices by 2021. The global wearable device market is expected to continue to grow over the next five years. Around 30% of U.S. consumers own a fitness band, and 44% of U.S. consumers use their fitness gadget or device daily.
By allowing users to connect your app to an activity tracker like Jawbone or Android Wear, members can track their progress. Whether it’s their sleep, heart rate, or fitness levels, the ability to track progress with ease is essential. This helps to create added value that members crave. The integration aims to help the user stay on track of their health. This kind of technology really benefits the wearer.
7. Add Valuable Content
When it comes to your mobile app, identify features that will increase value and benefit the user. Creating these sorts of services won’t require a significant financial investment but will provide a unique way for your members to interact with your business. Adding valuable content to your app will benefit members, providing a better experience overall.
Continue to build brand loyalty and keep members engaged through your app. Some examples of content you could add to your app include:
- Nutrition tips
- Exercise videos
- General updates
Member can access fitness inspo daily, straight from their phone. You can also send push notifications when new blogs or videos go online. This will help to engage users and to create a memorable and unique experience.
For some exciting content ideas and insights listen to:
- The Fitness Podcast, episode 202 Everything You Need to Know About Live Streaming Your Classes – learn how live streaming works with wearable technology and how it affects member retention. Another great listen is episode 234 How To Improve Member Engagement in Your Fitness Business.
- The Fitness Business Authority Podcast, episode 29 Using Podcasts in Your Fitness Business (and other stuff) – this episode discusses the benefits of podcasting and why it’s a great conversion mechanism.
Creating valuable content and personalizing the user experience all from a single custom branded app is the way forward. You’re probably already aware of the importance of technology whether that’s social media, a user-friendly website or a mobile app.
Always do your research and identify features that your audience will find beneficial. A mobile app has the power to drive booking and membership sales, create a community of members and provide a direct marketing channel, helping your business to grow and thrive.