In case you missed it (ICYMI), Nir Eyal, author of Wall St. Journal bestseller, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, and CEO of Nir and Far, closed out the action at #IHRSA2016 with a keynote address about how habit-forming products and services can help the fitness industry engage and retain their members.
Eyal says that fitness industry leaders should look no further than the smartphones in their pockets to help change member habits in ways that increase engagement and retention. For nearly a decade, smartphone companies have been among the leaders in creating products that encourage their users to change habits.
“When it comes down to engagement and member retention, who should we look at? What industry is the most engaging in the world? I think if we look in our pockets, we will find that these devices have done a tremendous job of changing our day-to-day behaviors and changing our habits” -Nir Eyal
He went on to explain why habits are so valuable to businesses regardless of industry. According to Eyal the consumer habits of your members are valuable to your business for three main reasons.
1. Consumer habits increase customer lifetime value.
One of the most important factors in the profitability of health clubs is their expected customer lifetime value. The longer members engage with your club, the more valueable they will be to your businesses. If your club offers a product or service they feel is an integral part of their daily routine, it's unlikely they'll stop showing up.
2. Consumer habits increase flexibility to raise prices.
In general, consumers who have created habits around a product are less sensitive to price increases. So, the goal of your health club should be to inspire members to form habits around the services you offer. If they really enjoy the personal training you offer or your Thursday morning spin class, then they likely won't blink at the $5 price increase you have planned for next month.
3. Consumer habits increase defensibility.
There's a reason the iPhone vs. Android debate is such a divisive topic. Both Apple and Google create products that encourage their users to form habits, and as a result, those same users vigourously defend the products. Once habits are formed around the services your health club offers, the odds of your members getting stolen away from a competitor drop significantly.
Eyal made the point that the best product isn’t always the most successful. The most successful products are ones that force consumers into habits. He says it's critical that the fitness industry understands habits, because it can mean the difference between success and failure.
“By understanding the minds of our consumers we really can design habits that improve people's lives. It’s going to take a perception shift—we have to see our jobs differently than what we saw before; we have to view what we do with a moral responsibility—not just a profit motive. We have the ability to truly impact people's day-to-day behaviors and we have to take that very seriously.” - Nir Eyal
Whether or not your members form habits around your club has a lot to do with how your club chooses to brand itself. Not sure where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Club Branding today.