The title sounds dramatic but that really is the simple choice operators are faced with in today’s fast paced technological world.
It’s does not happen very often that a phenomenon comes along which completely disrupts an industry; but when it does, only the innovative and agile players survive.
In the UK, the most recent example of a “disruptor” in the fitness sector was the introduction of the low-cost gym. When this model arrived on the stage, even some of the most established brands, such as Fitness First and LA Fitness where unable to react quickly enough to save themselves from a miserable demise.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see a disruptor coming but in the case of technology, the warning signs are here. We only must look at how other market sectors have been affected to see the threat to unreactive operators.
- Take the transport sector for example. Uber does not own a single taxi. It is essentially an app which connects drivers to passengers. The company reacted to a consumer demand for a convenient, inexpensive, and safe taxi service and set about creating a software product to deliver this. After just three years in the UK, the San Francisco start up, now boasts 15,000 cabs in London. The London Taxi Company, responsible for the iconic Hackney carriages, are only just ahead with 22,000. Unless the London Taxi Company adapts very quickly, it’s hard to see how the company will continue to compete.
- Kodak is another example. Once one of the world’s most powerful and well recognised brands, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012 following a failure to react to the world’s appetite for digital photography; instead they preferred to stick to its roots in the production of film.
The size of a company offers no protection against evolution. Change is ongoing and it’s only those who are prepared to adapt and change who will survive and thrive.
If we accept that technology is going to massively change the way we do things: How do we embrace it in the fitness industry, turning a threat into an opportunity?
Essentially, what makes digitalisation extremely easy is the sharing of information. Suddenly it becomes possible to connect all the dots and make a gym member’s experience totally joined up. What do we mean by this?
You got curious and would like to read more about digitalisation in the fitness industry? Continue reading the article on page 40 in GYM OWNER MONTHLY MAGAZINE