How health-tech companies can remain relevant in these times

June 12, 2020 7:52 AM

The online fitness business model in India which is still in its nascent stage needs to be developed both in terms of tech and content

Fitness service providers need to adapt, master and monetise virtual classes, and incorporate them into their offeringsFitness service providers need to adapt, master and monetise virtual classes, and incorporate them into their offerings

By Dhara Tanna

The coronavirus pandemic has created a global health crisis. As everyone makes sure they are safe and healthy, there has been a collective realisation of the importance of preventive healthcare. Having understood how fitness is a key method in building immunity and good health, a large section of the population has rapidly adopted home workouts, and inculcated fitness into their daily regimen.

While home workouts may be the new normal for the time being, it may soon be a well-accepted business offering. Fitness service providers need to adapt, master and monetise virtual classes, and incorporate them into their offerings. This is where companies in the health-tech space can really provide a platform for a new sub-industry to grow.

The online fitness business model in India is still in its nascent stage, and needs to be developed further, both in terms of tech and content. Here are a few strategic ways in which platforms can keep their online fitness services relevant, and market themselves effectively in the post-Covid-19 scenario.

Beefing up offerings

Building greater interactivity and engagement: In the absence of a physical trainer for guidance, or a community to work out with, there will be a rise in demand from consumers for digital fitness modules with a high level of interactivity. Providers will have to develop superior ways of real-time problem solving, monitoring and incentives, making users feel a part of a community while working out at home.

Snackable content: Video content garners large audiences, and hence, curating short, snackable fitness videos on official social media handles could garner consumer interest. These videos can be utilised to direct the consumer to the platform to engage in an intense fitness workout session.

Targeting consumers in tier II & III cities: The lockdown has presented an opportunity to platforms to make use of the digital penetration in tier II & III cities, and encourage the masses to come on board to avail fitness sessions online. Online service platforms can further build on this and shift their outreach towards remote cities, where the on-ground presence of fitness centres and gyms is inadequate.

Other motivations

Online fitness service providers need to offer an offline module as well, which will be needed post lockdown. This can be done by presenting consumers with a choice to meet, interact and avail a facility that might not be available online. Hence, those who frequently use virtual workouts can be encouraged to try out an activity at a physical gym/ fitness centre. This will give them access to the best of both worlds.

Offers and discounts on memberships at physical gyms/ fitness studios can be granted to consumers on viewing online fitness sessions. Added incentives that consumers can avail through online fitness offerings would always make for a good marketing technique.

The rise of fit-tech has already shaped the way consumers view fitness today, with watches that can track our heartbeat and count the number of steps we take, to sleep monitoring and calorie counting on our phones. People are gradually realising the role technology plays in their daily self-care.

Digitisation of this industry opens more doors than it closes, because in time, once gyms do open, there will still be those who will choose to work out there physically. But every consumer is different, and online fitness definitely provides a space for more choice and consumer preferences than ever before. Once the lockdown period ends, both the engagement models will coexist leading to higher revenue and more footfall both online and offline.

The author is senior vice president, Fitternity

Read Also: Century Plyboards’ Keshav Bhajanka on life beyond work

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