Retail

Gympass Embraces Digital 3.0 In Its Aim To Buff Up Housebound Consumers

Gympass Aims To Buff Up Housebound Consumers

If people can’t get to the gym, it’s time to bring the gym to people.

That’s the value proposition for Gympass, a company that bills itself as the world’s largest corporate wellness-benefits platform.

As Americans continue to work from home and many fitness facilities’ operations remain limited due to the pandemic, Gympass announced the expansion of its platform on Tuesday (June 30). Rather than sticking to offers for brick-and-mortar gym memberships, it will now include virtual therapy, overall wellness, streaming live classes and one-on-one personal training.

The company’s research shows that 65 percent of Americans say they’re more aware of mental health issues since the pandemic began. Two-thirds also say the pandemic has prompted them to prioritize their health more.

CEO Marshall Porter told PYMNTS that Gympass’ new offerings will address both mental and physical needs while equipping employers with better wellness benefit packages that mix both in-person and online fitness experiences for employees.

“The gyms on our roster hadn’t thought of this before,” he said. “Some of the biggest names in our platform that are household names, they had no idea what to do. And so, we worked with some of them, too.”

“I'm hopeful that the future is omnichannel — it's a word that everybody talks about,” Porter added. “There are times when I have 23 minutes and I want to do an on-demand workout with someone, and there are other times when I wake up and I want to do a personal training session. And there are other days when I want to go to Soul Cycle. And if there's a bright spot to what we're going through, it's this new version of fitness. It’s more about meeting the customer where they are.”

Gympass research shows that 82.8 percent of Americans are willing to work out online in the post-pandemic world. Companies like Nike and Peloton have already made huge strides in capitalizing on that digital shift.

Winning Over Corporate Clients Is Key

While that shift is part of the thinking behind Gympass’ addition of streaming platforms, it’s also part of Porter’s strategy to position the company’s programs as an HR benefit.

Gympass’ main competitor, Classpass, is primarily a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model that extends gym membership discounts to users. By contrast, Gympass helps companies drive employee engagement and improve productivity.

Gympass has created several membership plans for companies to offer their employees. Porter said 60 percent of people the firm surveyed want to keep their fitness and wellness spend under $50 per month. So, the company’s starter plan costs just $9.99 per month for unlimited livestreamed classes from 1,700 gyms and studios. Users also get eight one-on-one personal training sessions per month, four therapy sessions per month and unlimited access to 24 essential wellness apps.

“The biggest change for our corporate clients is the pain point they're trying to solve,” he said. “Before the pandemic, it was about keeping people active while they were at work. … But now it’s about a remote workforce, and they're on Zoom all day, they're not being active. COVID-19 is causing the ‘COVID 15’ [a 15-pound weight gain]. And how do [we] help them with their mental stress, their physical energy and all that?”

“It’s a different kind of pain point now, and a different kind of conversation, but it’s the same result we’re after,” Porter added. “And because of how we've really taken on this digital edition and gotten into the mental wellness space, the meditation space, the sleep training space and the nutrition space, it’s just given us that much more of a holistic solution to talk about, which has been really great.”

A Full Pipeline of Clients and Gyms

Porter said Gympass’ pipeline for partners on both the corporate side and the fitness side is already full. His goal is to get what he calls the “few gyms left” and continue to add new apps, new trainers and new routines. He’s looking at expanding geographies and continuing to serve the end users that the company has already signed on.

“I think it's about trying to provide the best that we can for the customers,” Porter said. “Whether it's the gyms and being the best partner to them, or the corporate clients and being the best to them, we really want the most holistic and broad solution that can be impactful to consumers. I think that's really the goal. It's about the happiness of our customers.”

The executive added that Gympass has seen substantial growth since its 2012 launch in Brazil. The platform is currently available in 14 countries, with more than 2,000 corporate clients and 50,000 fitness partners.

COVID Hasn’t Dimmed the Sector’s Bright Future

And although the company did announce some layoffs at its Brazil headquarters, Porter is cautiously bullish on the future of Gympass, as well as on commercial gyms and other program platforms.

“It's hard to say right now, but I think gyms will do fine,” he said. “One of the things that these crises do is that they force people to innovate, and I think the great companies become greater. And I think a lot of that depends on the business model. They’ll find ways to make reduced capacity work, or they'll find ways to make it a different experience that is more relevant to today's consumer. … But the best companies always outperform in these times — and there are a lot of them in the fitness space.”

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