A one-app strategy sounds like an easy solution. Particularly for fitness operators. A simple case of getting all of your members using one app, for every possible service. Perfect. Except that it’s not. In fact, a one-app strategy can be counter-productive. And in the long run, can hurt your business.
The effectiveness of a one-app strategy vs a multi-app strategy is a sore point of contention for many fitness operators today. Ask around and you’ll get several conflicting opinions. So, when making your own choice, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions:
1. How many apps do I have on my smartphone?
2. Do I really need this many?
The answer to number two is probably yes. Apps are meant to do one thing and do it well. If you want your app to do something different, the solution is simple: create a new app. This is what Apple and Google do.
Google did not create an all-in-one app for calendars, emails, docs, etc., but rather an individual app for each of its tools. There are three main advantages to this approach:
1. Simplicity leads to easier navigation and a better user experience.
2. It takes less time to develop an app.
3. There are fewer bugs and crashes.
Having one app seems like a good idea. It seems intuitive. But it can be a headache for developers and members alike. In theory, a fitness operator could lump lots of different services–like tracking, and booking–into one app. But what happens when they want to add a new service? Should they just bundle it in with the rest, making the app even more complex? If so, the result will be a bloated, sluggish app that no one wants to use.
And the complexity of an app can get way out of hand when you incorporate external services. Unless you feel that your business can create the best user experience across every service–and do it better and faster than anyone else–you must consider making use of external services. While some of these can be implemented in your app, others, such as Zwift, Strava, and Motosumo, will likely never exist as an integrated feature of a fitness-operator app. But seamless communication between apps is possible. And once you nail it, seamless user experience will follow.
A hard, one-app strategy means your members lose out on some of the great benefits of external services. Services that transform an everyday gym experience into something memorable. A bloated app is confusing. It’s frustrating to use. It’s off-putting. Members who have a consistently poor experience using the app will rightfully start looking for another gym. Which totally defeats the purpose of implementing a one-app strategy in the first place. Not great news if you pride yourself on being an agile and adaptable digital business.
Kresten Juel Jensen | CEO of Motosumo