Fitness prioritization is on the rise, and consumers are pumping up their standards for fitness trackers. Counting steps and heart rates is no longer the finish line; people now crave a workout buddy that can provide them with a full range of health insights. Moreover, they want their fitness trackers to blend seamlessly into their lifestyles, incorporating elements of fashion and style.
To address these changing consumer needs, brands like ŌURA are not only enhancing their product capabilities, but also expanding their educational efforts.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Doug Sweeny, chief marketing officer at ŌURA, shared insights into how the brand has endeavored to meet this consumer demand by providing a distinctive fusion of fitness and fashion. Furthermore, he discussed the brand’s strategies for reaching consumers and helping them understand why this accessory is a must-have.
“The app itself has become a ritual; people check their scores in the morning and discuss them with their partners, friends, and family, both digitally and in person. They find value in the messages we convey through the app, particularly through guidance and alerts, such as when their readiness score shows a decline,” said Sweeny, noting ŌURA’s differentiator to other fitness trackers in the market.
As a result, the company has discovered that ŌURA customers fully grasp the value of the offering, making it a product well worth bringing to a broader audience.
Last year, ŌURA teamed up with the luxury brand Gucci to launch the Oura 3 ring.
The wearable product showcases Gucci’s logo along with an 18-karat yellow gold braided torchon running along the exterior of the band. The ring, on the other hand, has been crafted from black PVD-coated titanium and is available for purchase at a retail price of $950.
Teaming up with Gucci provides ŌURA with an opportunity to access this market segment and introduce its technology to a previously untapped audience. This collaboration effectively introduces the ŌURA ring to fashion-savvy individuals who may not have previously explored wearable technology.
Furthermore, not only does the inclusion of luxury materials, intricate designs, and the brand’s logo make the ŌURA ring more appealing to consumers who value both style and functionality, but it also lends credibility and prestige to ŌURA’s product as it conveys the message that the ŌURA aligns with high-end fashion standards.
However, ŌURA’s aim extends beyond merely targeting luxury enthusiasts. Sweeny highlights that the company is determined to make its product accessible to anyone who values health and wellness, which encompasses technology enthusiasts who frequent retailers like Best Buy.
“We launched in April with Best Buy. It was a big part of our playbook,” said Sweeny.
With that, Sweeny notes that the ŌURA team looked to bring a shop-in-shop experience to educate consumers through the use of videos, storytelling, and a digital touchpad that offers a comprehensive understanding of the product experience. Sweeny also highlights that this approach extends across a vast network of approximately 900 locations, both in digital and physical retail spaces throughout the United States.
Building on the success of their initial launch, ŌURA decided to extend its presence to Best Buy’s Canadian market. According to Sweeny, this move was a logical choice, as Canada is recognized as one of the top three key markets for the company, following closely after the United States. Consistent with their strategic approach, ŌURA introduced a shop-in-shop experience in 124 Canadian locations, with 25 of these prominently featured within the largest format doors, to boost product awareness and education.
Earlier this year, ŌURA introduced the Equinox partnership, a collaboration that Sweeny notes had been in development for over a year.
This particular collaboration represents a significant step in credibility and trust, as Equinox is known for its fitness services and facilities. Partnering with such a brand essentially confirms ŌURA’s effectiveness and relevance within the fitness community and acts as a reassuring signal to fitness enthusiasts.
As part of Equinox Circle, a program of curated brand partners, ŌURA launched a co-branded Rest & Recovery Kit which was made available for purchase online at the Equinox Shop for both members and non-members.
The Rest & Recovery Kit includes a range of components, such as a selection of Oura Ring finishes, an ŌURA x Equinox branded ring cover, charger, leather pouch, and a one-year Oura Membership. The ring cover, a unique accessory, offers ring protection during weight training, strenuous workouts, and various other activities.
Sweeny further emphasizes that within its app, ŌURA has integrated a comprehensive referral program that enables users to refer their friends while gaining access to a diverse selection of partner rewards. These rewards encompass unique collaborations, such as Aloe’s yoga mats and premium sleep masks. The scope of these partnerships goes beyond just the member referral experience, encompassing broader collaborations with more deeply integrated features.
Additionally, Sweeny emphasizes that these partnerships, exemplified by their affiliations with Natural Cycles, Strava, Equinox, and Gucci, frequently entail the development of custom hardware solutions.
Sweeny notes that people often spend their days fixated on screens, occasionally diverting their attention to smartphones for updates, videos, or social media. However, ŌURA changes the dynamic for users, empowering them to assume a more active role. With ŌURA, technology seamlessly blends into the background, giving users the upper hand.
Individuals can interact with ŌURA’s data and insights according to their preferences, free from external prompts. This experience stands in stark contrast to the typical routine of waking up to an alarm, being reminded to stand up, or coerced into physical activity. ŌURA looks to create a unique, self-directed approach to engaging with personal health information and insights, enabling individuals to take charge of their well-being.
“It’s all about balance, not just taking more steps and pushing yourself harder. It’s a discreet, specific approach, attuned to your body’s signals. Emphasizing equilibrium, it’s personalized. It also focuses on rest and recovery, alongside physical activity and other aspects,” said Sweeny.