Fitness Tech

4 Lessons Gym Operators Must Learn from Pokemon Go

shutterstock_450974281.jpgPokemon Go is the latest viral sensation and a fascinating business case. Pokemon Go is a smartphone mobile app based on the popular Pokemon franchise. Players can catch, train and battle with virtual creatures that can only be found in the game when the players are in certain real-world locations. Players meet up in real life hot spots to train and battle each other at virtual gyms. After launching on July 8th the game is already is on pace to be one of the most popular apps of all time.

How do these virtual gyms relate to your real one? These are the 4 lessons your gym can learn from Pokemon Go.

1. There are a lot of smartphone users

Since its launch Pokemon Go has been downloaded 7.5 million times in just the United States. Go is on pace to have more active users than Twitter on Android devices. Although in 2016 it should be no surprise that many people have smartphones, the numbers should put in perspective just how many people are actively looking for new apps and digital experiences on their smartphones.

2. You can use digital technology to strengthen your community

In just one week Pokemon Go has built a massive community of players. If you go to any local park or city center you can see literal mobs of people all hunting for Pikachus on their smartphones. Virtual Gyms and other important game locations are at the same real-life location for everyone, so players all meet up at parks, statues and other landmarks to battle and discuss strategies.

This new community wouldn’t be possible without using new digital technology. While your gym already has a community, it can be greatly enhanced by smartly utilizing new digital technology. If your gym has a mobile app, your members can sign up for a fitness challenge, view a real-time leaderboard, comment about it on social media while earning and redeeming gym reward points--all through their smartphones.

Creating a sense of friendly competition like Pokemon Go does will strengthen your club’s community, because it will keep your members constantly engaged with your club. Other activities like interacting with members on social media or collecting regular feedback from your members through quick smartphone surveys can also get your members engaged in new ways.

3. You can use digital technology to motivate people to workout

Did you know that Pokemon Go is possibly the most popular fitness app released to date? One of the strokes of genius in Pokemon Go is that you can only play it for about 4 minutes without having to move to a new location. Although some people are duct-taping their phones onto flying drones, most people are actually exercising outside trying to find their next Pokemon. Many people even took to social media to complain about sore their legs are from hunting for Pokemon. While your rewards may not be as exciting as a Pikachu, you do have one big advantage: your rewards are real.

Millions of people are being motivated to exercise by the possibility of virtual Pokemon points. What if you offer them rewards with actual monetary value like free personal training or fitness merchandise? While you may already have a rewards program, the key is to create a virtual wrapper around it that is as enticing as Pokemon’s. The same digital tools that create a sense of friendly competition to help build your community, will also motivate people who previously would have stayed on the couch to keep checking in. No one wants to see their name fall off of the fitness challenge leaderboard.

4. Mobile successes can seriously impact your business

Pokemon Go is generating $1.6 million dollars a day in revenue just on Apple devices. The game has added $9 billion in value to Nintendo, whose shares soared 25% almost overnight. While your potential audience is probably smaller than theirs, digital technology can still have a great positive impact on your business. One club made $9,600 from just one push alert. Another club had 90 prospect referrals in just one month by switching to a mobile referral system. Pokemon has been popular for 20 years, but it was the switch to mobile that caused a $9 billion impact. Tapping into the same digital community, competition and excitement as Pokemon Go can get new results for your club too.

Want to learn more about creating a community of friendly competition?  Learn how to strengthen your club community with the Ultimate Guide to Fitness Challenges:


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