A few months ago I read an interesting article by my friend, Fitness Club Industry Guru and Consultant, Michael Scott Scudder. I don’t have the article in front of me, but the gist of it has been going around in my head since I read it. In the article Michael said that a fitness club makes more money per sale when a non-member purchases something than they do when they sign a prospect up to a club membership and then sell them products. Why? Because a fitness club owner has to invest a lot of money into maintaining the club and the equipment so that members can use them on a regular basis. So each membership returns only a percentage of the dollar amount as profit because part of that membership fee is used for maintenance and upgrades. The return is even lower if the club has been selling low-cost memberships to attract new members. On the other hand, a one-time walk-in monetizes at one- hundred percent of purchase price.
With that in mind, I met with Michael and a friend of his the other day and we talked about that very subject. For privacy reasons, I’ll call Michael’s friend Jerry. Jerry is a progressive young fitness club owner and CFO. Unlike many gyms, Jerry’s club does not pitch amenities or equipment – rather it focuses on achieving results through education and coaching. Jerry has no problem getting members into his club, but the collection and retention of potential prospects that are not currently members is a problem for him. And his current club management software does not let him book casual users in training sessions: they have to be a member of the club or the software will not let them buy. So Jerry has a big concern: how can he tap into the almost limitless market of people who will buy an occasional fitness product but have no interest in becoming a member of his club. As Michael put it in our conversation, Jerry is looking for a way to “pull” people into his business, not “push” them into buying something.
In the midst of our conversation we came up with a new term: Internet Walk-In. The term describes the casual Internet surfer that is looking at fitness clubs and their websites and gets drawn into a site that offers an experience rather than flat information. The experience stimulates the user to purchase something – hence “Internet Walk-in.”
I’ve been preaching recently on the new paradigm shift that’s talking place in website design. It’s my humble opinion that people who are on the Internet a lot these days are looking for an experience more than they are looking for a lot of information, especially since a whole new generation of technologically-minded young people have entered the ranks of the consumers. These young people are gamers, programmers, techies, geeks, and Internet savvy tech-epicureans who are also interested in good health, eating right, keeping fit and staying active. These users are looking for experiential “spaces” that let them “play” with the site and draw them into a deep connection with what’s going on there. (If you want to see what I’m talking about take a look at the Glaceau SmartWater site.) Interestingly enough, a current report shows that over-50 consumers (who will soon be the majority) are now more influenced by their children’s lifestyles than by their parents. So if the kids are telling them to have fun in hyper-space, they want that experience for themselves.
Our conversation ended with a question – “How does a fitness club or any member-driven business “pull” interested browsers into a satisfying experience with their website while at the same time enabling and encouraging them to purchase products, services and training right through the website?” That’s a great question and I’ll be mulling it over for the next few weeks. We’ll talk about it more in my next blog when I show you some samples of the latest design wave to hit the Internet. It’s called Parallax and I believe you are going to see more and more sites moving in this direction. Stay tuned!
Monetizing The Internet Walk-In – ©2014 Money Movers, Inc.
The term “Internet Walk-in” has been copyrighted by Money Movers, Inc. Any use of the term is expressly forbidden unless by permission of Money Movers Inc.