2016 will see the introduction of microtransactions to the fitness industry, a business model where consumers purchase individual units of products and services instead of packages. Clubs can use microtransactions to sell members individual personal training lessons or group classes at a discounted price. This enables members to purchase services in a way that best fits them. For example, instead of having to sign up for a four week class or PT package, members will more often be able to purchase single sessions at their convenience, right from their smartphones.
These kinds of small transactions are already popular in mobile gaming apps such as Clash of Clans, so consumers are becoming more accustomed to this a-la-carte way of mobile purchasing. The growing normality of Club Mobile Apps will enable clubs to use a similar business model.
Mobile games have been doing this for years, and you should learn from their successes and mistakes. Here are 4 do’s and don’ts of microtransactions:
1. Don't use 'fake' currency
Many of the most popular mobile games that offer microtransactions, including Clash of Clans and Candy Crush, do their best to hide any mentions of real money. Users first have to purchase a symbolic currency, like green emeralds in Clash, or gold bars in Crush. While this has been profitable in the short term for some companies, it isn’t worth the customer backlash that inevitably occurs. Members don’t like having to constantly look up conversion rates, or feel like they are being fooled somehow into paying more than they should. However cute “*Insert Your Brand Here* Gym Bucks” might sound, stick with regular dollars and your members will reward you in the long run with loyalty.
2. Do segment your members' information to create targeted offers
When you create microtransaction offerings, use your data to segment your members so you can send them offers they are likely to already be interested in. For example, if you are selling individual yoga sessions, you should send that offer to members who have already taken a yoga class, instead of sending it to all of your members. Identifying which members are most likely to purchase a microtransaction will lead to a much higher ROI for your offerings, and happier members.
3. Don't replace old options with microtransactions
People don’t like change. Even if your club is offering members the same product for the same price, don’t force people into microtransaction purchases. For an example, in the intro paragraph we referred to members purchasing single PT sessions, instead of signing up for a four week block. Your club should introduce the single session microtransaction option, but should continue to offer the longer plans as well. Some members like paying for a plan all at once, or the routine of knowing their schedule ahead of time. Don’t alienate any of your members needlessly by removing their current payment options, instead focus on making your new microtransaction offers as attractive as possible.
4. Do offer more than PT
Many gyms are successfully transitioning into lifestyle brands. Even if your club isn’t going all in on branded pillows, offering your club’s apparel and merchandise as microtransactions is a great way to drive sales. Smartphones cause more impulse purchases, meaning that members are more likely to purchase your club’s sweatshirt, especially if it is only two clicks away on their smartphones.
What other tech trends will affect your club this year? Stay ahead of the curve with the guide to the 10 Tech Trends of 2016: