Ben Steadman is the COO of Speedflex, the high intensity circuit training company set up by Sage Software founder Graham Wylie and former Newcastle United and England Captain Alan Shearer. Ben has been pivotal in driving forward three clear markets; Speedflex on the Gym Floor, Speedflex Licenced Boutique, and Speedflex Boutique within a Big Box Gym. Previously National Account Manager for Government Services and Performance Sport at the Pulse Group, Steadman was instrumental in winning contracts with the MOD and RAF worth more than £5m.
We spoke to Ben about:
– Why boutiques are behind traditional gyms when it comes to tracking
– The benefits of tracking to the boutique operator
– What to consider before implementing a tracking system
When it comes to tracking member fitness and progress would you say boutiques are behind major operators?
You only have to look at where tracking is available across the sector to see that boutiques are way behind gyms but with the proliferation of tracking devices in to the mainstream, they are catching up fast. Tracking is the final layer of the boutique offering; it completes the high end, tailored and customised member experience – it’s the icing on the cake.
Why do you think this is?
When you buy traditional gym equipment it comes with a tracking system as standard. This has become the industry norm and it’s expected that all equipment suppliers offer a joined up, tracking system and associated cloud or app which integrates with members fitness outside the gym too. The market has developed over the last few years and the capabilities of these systems are complex and advanced. Conversely, the sort of equipment purchased by boutiques doesn’t usually come with tracking built in and so any tracking implemented has to be as a bolt-on system. Tracking wasn’t always an industry buzzword, so it wasn’t something typically considered during initial concept creation or fit out. Now it’s front of mind I think we’ll see more and more boutiques incorporating it into their offering.
What are the benefits of tracking members fitness?
Our view at Speedflex is that it’s all about proven results. It’s easy to provide experience, but experience plus outcome is the true pinnacle. We offer instant feedback to our members and as they watch their stats improving, it validates the continued spend on membership. It also provides a social element as participants can view each other’s stats and compete. Tracking also provides studios with key data which can be used to constantly improve the offering; are your members working hard enough? Is the session fit for purpose? The cornerstone of the boutique studio is personal service and tracking allows you to build a personal relationship with every member through key data.
Which boutiques are setting the standard when it comes to tracking?
Orange Theory and F45 have embraced tracking and they are both great examples of hugely successful boutiques. At Speedflex we see tracking as integral to the whole experience we provide in our sessions – it’s been crucial in member retention, and in giving us an edge over our competitors – without tracking we wouldn’t have Speedflex.
Is tracking suitable for all types of boutique? Any considerations before implementing?
Tracking should be an essential part of every boutique proposition. If you’re not tracking your members how do you know what they are doing! Before you take the plunge, consider the metrics you want to track. Check the system fits your model and the number of people you need to monitor. Consider the cost, will you build it into the cost of your membership or are you offering it as added value? What data do you want your members to have access to? Do you want them to be able to view the data of other members? Once you’ve decided, ensure you are tracking all of your members 100% of the time, a cloudy picture is worse than no picture at all.