The implementation of a one-app strategy could result in fitness operators losing rather than gaining members.
Deciding whether or not to use a one-app or multi-app strategy is a point of contention and discussion for operators today. However, when choosing for yourself, there are a few questions you should ask:
1. How many apps do I have on my smartphone?
2. Why do I have so many apps instead of 10 or even 1?
The answer is easy. Apps are meant to be simple and to have one job. Need the app to do another task? Create a new app. This is what Apple and Google recommend, guiding developers to create better user experiences on the two major smartphone platforms.
Google did not create a single platform to include calendar, mail, docs, etc., but rather an individual app for each of its tools. There are two main advantages to this:
1. Simplicity leads to easier navigation and a better user experience.
2. Quicker development with a lower risk for issues and crashes.
Having one app seems like a good idea, but it can complicate things for both users and developers. One could argue that operators can easily have separate apps for tracking, booking, member community, etc. However, consider what you would do next time you come up with a new service for your members. Will it get added to an existing app, adding complexity? Or will you develop a new one? Eventually, and fairly quickly, the first method will result in an overcrowded app.
The complexity can increase even more when considering external services. Unless you feel that your organization can create the best experience in all areas, from booking to tracking and community, – and do it better and faster than everyone else – you will have to consider external services. While some of these can be implemented in your app, others, such as Zwift, Strava, Motosumo, YouTube, etc., will likely never exist as an integrated part of a fitness operator app. However, seamless communication is possible, and a seamless user experience will follow.
With a hard, one app strategy, your members will miss out on the great experiences that could be created in your gym by utilizing external services. The member might also get confused by an overcrowded app, unless you stop getting new ideas... Ultimately, if a member has a poor experience using the app in your gym, they’ll take their business elsewhere, defeating the whole purpose of implementing the one-app strategy. In addition, you have also unfortunately lost your agility as a digital business in the process.