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Expert insights on digital fitness content with Karen Euser, Funxtion CPO

Funxtion Chief Product Officer Karen Euser
In this interview, Karen Euser, Chief Product Officer at Funxtion, talks about fitness content innovation and its powerful impact on the member journey, gym member retention and loyalty.

The secret behind the virtual fitness industry

The virtual fitness market is predicted to reach USD 5.2 billion by 2030 (Market Research Future 2023). While we often associate this success with the emergence of wearables and smart equipment, here we’d like to highlight the relevance of digital fitness content in the industry’s overall success.

We asked Karen Euser, Chief Product Officer at Funxtion, to share her expert insights about the relevance of content in the digital fitness industry and how it is revolutionizing the member experience.

What’s the importance of content in the digital fitness industry?

In my experience, content is the heart and soul of digital fitness because it’s how we connect with the member. We educate, empower and motivate them through content. 

From the gym operator’s perspective, it allows them to extend their services outside their brick-and-mortar facilities.

If we look at the list of top 10 operators from the latest EuropeActive research report, we’ll realize that they implemented digital content in their member apps as their members demanded it; as a result, they increased their revenue in 2022 by 60%. Of course, content is not the only element, but it is the key factor in this equation. 

What is the most common roadblock to content integration?

I think it’s the lack of a digital strategy in the overall business growth model. Before COVID, of course, it was all about the in-person experience and face-to-face interactions. But during COVID, when everybody had to get more adaptive, digital content became integral to every operator’s business.

After COVID, we are seeing a new adjustment to hybrid models. Some operators are already considering digitizing their offerings as a critical element of their business value model, while others remain conservative.

The traditional gym model is no longer sustainable; members demand hybrid fitness experiences and flexible workout solutions. And it’s tough for operators to secure staff seven days a week and meet the demands of crowded group classes. A solid digital strategy can help operators sort out most of their challenges.

What’s the best way to adopt digital fitness content?

In my experience, fitness content is part of a larger digital strategy; it requires the right technology to make it a seamless member experience. For example, operators need to update the content and keep it fresh, relevant and personalized. 

The cost-effective way for gym operators might be to get a flexible content management system that helps them to deliver digital content at scale. With a content management system, gym operators can distribute, update, refresh content and gather valuable data for future business decisions.

What are the opportunities and risks of free fitness content? 

In my experience, free fitness content is an opportunity for operators to look at what’s trendy and learn how to improve their digital offerings. We want to better serve the member’s needs and preferences. 

It all started with COVID when well-known B2C content providers gave away their app for free, which allowed people to try their classes.

They helped gyms build a bridge to the clubs where members could try the same class that they had already experienced at home. Thanks to the free virtual classes and training plans, members now go into the gym with confidence; they already tried, and they already know what to expect. 

The risks arise when gym operators don’t have content in their members’ apps. In this case, they are risking higher member churn rates and lack of engagement.

How is digital fitness content boosting the member experience?

Digital fitness content makes the member experience more personalized on a larger scale. For example, you can offer one Pilates virtual class and reproduce it among thousands of users who share the same interest. 

But you can also include this yoga virtual class as part of a larger 7-day training plan. In this plan, you may include in-gym visits with single-exercise videos because you want your members to experience the benefits of the functional gym floor. But you can also include outdoor and at-home training sessions. 

The bottom line is that you are offering the hybrid fitness experience that today’s members demand. When gym owners do this at scale, they are already elevating the members’ experience of 80% of their members–GenZ and Millenials. 

What’s Funxtion’s latest innovation in fitness content?

In addition to our white-label virtual classes, we’re developing a virtual production studio, which allows us to completely duplicate any gym setting.

The potential is limitless, and it also makes content production easier for everyone because you can reach out to world-class instructors all over the world and connect them to one studio, one single platform, and operators can choose whether they want the studio to look like their own or an immersive outdoor scenario. It’s a win-win situation for the trainer, the team and the members who demand a more immersive experience and variety. 

Besides the virtual studio, we are working on a handy Software Development Kit (or SDK), a collection of pre-built components that easily plug and play Funxtion’s functionality into applications for a particular gym’s platform or operating system. We want to empower businesses with greater control over the final product.

Do you have any advice for gym operators looking to integrate digital content?

In a few words, focus on the member experience. Put your members first, understand their needs, and use this information to craft a powerful digital strategy.

By focusing on the member first, I mean collecting user data to understand better what’s working and what’s not and how your offerings can help them to achieve their fitness goals. 

My second piece of advice to gym operators is to focus on delivering content at scale. Indeed, you might need to invest in a flexible content management platform to distribute and manage the content, but you will future-proof your business and prove your commitment to your members. 

About Funxtion

Funxtion is the world’s leading B2B digital fitness content platform that has helped enterprise gym operators achieve high records of member retention since 2011. By delivering fitness content in the gym and on the go, Funxtion has helped increase gym group class attendance by 220% and engagement to a higher level.

In 2022, Funxtion raised EUR 5.8 million in equity capital to accelerate the innovation of its platform and fuel rapid international expansion. 

Talk to our team. You will receive a personalized plan adjusted to your business that will foster new levels of success.

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Funxtion x Benefit system partnership

Funxtion partners with Zdrofit – a brand of Benefit Systems S.A.

Funxtion teams up with Benefit Systems to revolutionize its digital fitness experience. This collaboration signals an industry step-change in how gym operators embrace fitness technology, positioning Zdrofit fitness clubs at the forefront of digital innovation.