The Power of Boutiques – Real-Time Convenience
Published: May 11, 2016
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 was real-time convenience.
In today’s world, where the Internet of Things dictates nearly every aspect of our lives, convenience has become an imperative of the consumer experience. Ari Weissman of UX Magazine said this of consumers’ lust for convenience, “In crafting customer experiences, the perception of convenience is as important as the actual benefits of saved time and effort.” So not only is an actual reduction in the time and effort of a consumer’s experience with your brand vital, so is their perception of how you will save them time and effort. It is in here, in the world between actual and perceived convenience, that boutique studios have a distinct competitive advantage over their more traditional competitors.
In our experience, boutiques have three elements that contribute to their real-time convenience.
- First, because of their specialization they are able to offer what consumer’s want multiple times a day, every day of the week. While the client of a traditional fitness club might have to reorganize their schedule to take an 11 a.m. class they want, for example aerial yoga, the client of a boutique knows that if they miss the 11 a.m. class, they can take the same class at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., or 7 p.m. The fact that boutiques offer classes on a schedule that fits the client’s lifestyle, rather than requiring the client to alter their schedule, is a significant convenience. Not only is this convenience real, it is a perceived one as well whenever a new client can check the schedule and see their favorite class is offered six times a day, 30 times a week.
- Second, boutiques have leveraged mobile, which today represents how the majority of consumers, in particular the Millennial generation (the traditional core consumer base of the fitness industry), seek out information and make a purchase. When consumers can go to their phone, find their favorite class, book it and then pay for it, well what could be more convenient?
- Third, because of their smaller footprint (the average boutique is 1/8 to 1/10 the size of a traditional club), boutiques can strategically locate themselves near where their clients live and/or work. With the world becoming more urbanized (in the U.S. alone 81% of people live in urban markets, a 12% surge in just the past decade) and millennials in particular, who prefer to live in an urban environment and take a subway instead of commuting in a car, boutiques have a competitive advantage due to their small footprint and ease of locating along urban commutes.
While it may be impossible for more traditional fitness businesses to replicate all three of these attributes, they can definitely up it a notch when it comes to the use of technology, and the art of scheduling to generate a higher degree of perceived and real-time convenience for consumers.