People are becoming more aware of their health, as we have mentioned earlier. The number of club memberships skyrockets all over the world, not only in the US or Europe. Analysts are optimistic about the prospects of the fitness business. The mobile development industry is not lagging behind: fitness and lifestyle category counted almost $1 billion in value in 2017 and it is predicted to reach $2.7 billion by 2021.
There is a fly in the ointment. With the rise of fitness apps people prefer to consult with their smartphones rather than pay for the services of a personal trainer. After all, applications provide them with workout plans, tracking, diet, and so on. There goes your missed profit. So, how do you take advantage of times? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Why don’t you consider developing your own mobile fitness app, that would attract such customers and engage them in your gym’s activities? Or updating the existing software in order to keep up with the trends of 2018? Here you will learn the components of such an app and an approximate cost of development.
Must have features
Information – the first thing to work on is the identity. The app should be easily associated with your establishment. It should include all the necessary information about it: location, services, conditions, price list, etc.
Personal account – the user should have his or her own space in the app. An account serves as a section, where all the data collected is saved for representation. The user can also easily switch between various devices without losing hard earned statistics. It is also easier for the trainers to track progress of clients.
Booking & scheduling – an ability to book one’s stay in the gym from one’s own device is great. It is convenient for you too, as this brings down the possibility of overlapping schedules of personal trainers. The feature can be extended by analyzing the number of bookings. Being able to see if the gym is crowded at certain times is convenient to say the least.
Tracking activity – everyone knows a person using wearable devices. Heart rate monitors seem to be the most popular devices in fitness centers. Fitbit, Apple, Garmin and Polar include them into running watches (Garmin Vivoactive) and fitness trackers (Fitbit Alta HR). Whole ecosystems have been developed like Healthkit and Google Fit. Moreover, they provide APIs for you to fetch data from almost any device out there and process it. Including in your application such metrics as body weight, distance, calories, exercise duration proves useful.
Geolocation – if your customers engage into activities outside of the fitness center, like running in a park, offer tracking it too. This way, the client will have all the data in one place. Your enterprise, on the other hand, will get additional points for caring for members’ experience.
Workout plans – having data from wearables at your disposal, you can compose personalized workout routines. Just look at athletes’ biometrics and favorite activities, and design effective workout routines for them. It also eases the task of a new client assessment.
Motivation – it is important to know why you want to keep going. One of the best ways to keep the customers engaged is gamification. Presenting processed data in a convenient way and setting goals based on it does the trick. Do not forget some kind of reward for achieving set goals. Be it a simple badge or a discount for hard work - it is up to you. The athlete starts competing with him- or herself and competition is one of the strongest motivators!
Social sharing – for many people, something that was not shared simply never happened. Be sure to integrate all the major social networks, so the client can show off his or her unique experience. This way the feelings of competition and pride will not fade.
- Commerce – establishing your presence on customers’ devices is an opportunity to provide information about your special offers, new products and services. With push notifications you can raise clients’ awareness of what is going on at their favorite club. You can also give a convenient ability to make purchases in-app, just don’t be too much “in your face” about it.
The new year brings new ideas. We believe that now is the perfect time to jump the bandwagon, as it will be harder to chase ever-growing quality of apps later. Catching these trends will help your company become a successful fitness center and stay on your toes when it comes to novelties. The tendencies mostly explore the possibilities brought by wearables.
Collecting and processing wearables info – it started happening in the recent years, and we can confidently say that this process will only continue gaining momentum. Heart rate monitors, sportwatches, fitness bracelets open entirely new horizons like watching an athlete’s condition in live mode and correcting exercise on the go.
Live streaming classes – this year is believed to be the one, when online personal training services will go mainstream. Not having to commute to the gym secures the growing popularity of this format of working out.
Increased security – in 2016 Hewlett Packard performed an analysis of mobile apps security and its results are unnerving – 96.5% of tested apps couldn’t pass all the privacy tests. As you have probably noticed, a Health & Fitness application collects quite sensible data. Mobile developers are aware of that issue, and security is expected to be enhanced in 2018.
Individual marketing – smart targeting of advertisements raises satisfaction from the experience. Showing relevant offers based on the info you gather will ensure the return on investment. It’s nothing new on the mobile app market as such, but the fitness industry is going to witness this feature blooming this year.
Online coaching – staying in touch with your coach for clarifications and asking questions allows to get a more personal feeling to the whole affair. It will also help you promote you trainers team and keep members’ personal health in check.
How much does it cost
It is not easy to provide a cost estimation without knowing needs and requirements of a specific application. The cost may vary depending on the type of the app and its complexity. Fortunately, one of the common ways in software development to calculate approximate costs is simple multiplication of a vendor’s hourly rate by the amount of work hours expected. In turn, this figure depends on the target platform (Android, iOS), type of the application (native, hybrid), features list and the number of developers involved. Here is a brief breakdown of stages of development, and their durations.
Specification – a set of documented customer’s requirements. It usually takes about 40 hours to write a specification for a mobile app.
UI/UX – an average developer will spend 50 hours creating an app’s design.
Development – an actual development process's duration is up to 350 hours per platform.
Project Management – coordinating the development process takes around 60 work hours of a project manager.
- Quality Control & Assurance – testing and fixing bugs can take as much as 140 hours.
Summing up, duration of the development of a full blown mobile fitness app is in the proximity of 600-650 hours. Take that number and look at your vendor’s hourly rate. This should give you an idea of the cost of your application.
Mobile developers storm industry after industry, and the fitness market is next. Increasing popularity of gym memberships combined with a smart device in every pocket create vast opportunities for your gym business.
Creating your own mobile application will allow you to become visible in the cyberspace, engage customers and convert more leads. It will also be a whole new means of communication with clients where you can encourage and strengthen loyalty. The athletes also benefit by receiving more attention and more personalized experience.
In case you already have a website or a mobile application, check if it needs some polishing and improving. If it looks and feels like the blast from Web 1.0 it not only fails at attracting customers, but actively turns them away. Fortunately, it can just be updated without creating a new platform from scratch.
This endeavor may seem daunting and expensive. It is definitely challenging. However, do not get discouraged. It is worth it. We are ready to help you discover new ways of conducting business. Contact us to learn more.