The Power of Boutiques – Intuitive and Fun

Published: June 1, 2016

The Power of Boutiques – Intuitive and Fun

In a presentation we recently gave at the 2016 IHRSA International Convention entitled, “The Power of Boutiques: Leveraging the Power in a Traditional Club Setting”, one of the powers we highlighted involved being intuitive and fun.

Intuitive design has become an integral part of how businesses look at designing and delivering their products to consumers, particularly online experiences where consumers expect whatever they do to be simple and self-explanatory. An intuitively designed experience directs people’s attention, and therefore effort, toward tasks that are important. An intuitively designed experience, such as a boutique fitness studio, is one that people immediately know how to do once they see it. You could say that an intuitive experience is one that requires little-to-no thinking, only action. Boutiques do an outstanding job leveraging this element of the fitness experience. Boutique users don’t have to create their fitness regimen, they don’t have to build in progressions, and they don’t have to think what to do next; all they do is follow the coach and off they go. Whether it’s the workout for that day, or for the next eight weeks; boutique users only have to focus their attention on what’s important, and that is giving their all to the workout. Jared Spool, a renowned lecturer and expert on usability, software and design said, “Intuitive design is how we give the user new superpowers.” While he was speaking of technology, it also applies to physical experiences such as working out at a fitness facility. If all you have to do is do it, not think it, then you are likely to feel much better about yourself and what you’ve accomplished; you’ll feel like you have superpowers.

Fun, takes intuitive to another level; it makes it entertaining and rewarding, as well as simple and easy. Tony Robbins said about businesses and fun, “We aren’t in an information age we are in an entertainment age.” Using a takeoff from a Cyndi Lauper song that said, “Girls just want to have fun”; today’s consumers, especially fitness enthusiasts, just want to have fun. Fun, in this case entertainment, can take many forms when it comes to boutique fitness studios, including:

  1. Interpersonal competition. This could involve weekly or monthly competitions, or annual events such as the Reebok Games. It could also involve scoreboards that let individuals know how their performance stands against others, such as amount of weight lost, watts generated on the bike, amount of repetitions performed, etc.
  2. Intrapersonal competition. This involves giving individuals the chance to measure their present performance against past performance and specific goals. For example measuring how their HR may have declined over time for a specific workload, or possibly being able to do an asana they could never do before.
  3. Games. This might involve conducting games of skill or games of enjoyment, such as who has the most unusual workout attire or having client’s brig their own playlist for class and selecting the best one.
  4. Community activities. This could involve the members of the studio (tribe) doing a habitat for humanity project together, or doing a team cycle ride to raise money for breast cancer research.
  5. Adventure outings. This might involve members of the studio getting together for a weekend hike, or doing a white water rafting trip together.

It is not that boutiques are the only fitness facilities that can offer fun or intuitive experiences, but by the nature of their size, there tribal proclivity, specialization and leadership, they are far more likely to be able to leverage the entertainment element. It’s a distinctive edge to have in a highly competitive marketplace.

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