Why Connected Fitness Is a Must for Fitness Franchise Brands in 2024

Offering a connected fitness experience that spans equipment, coaching and entertainment gives franchise brands an edge when it comes to attracting, engaging and retaining members, according to Echelon

Having supplied thousands of locations as a leading manufacturer of smart fitness equipment and best-in-class workout content, Echelon is all in on the power of connected fitness for franchise brands.

Last month at IHRSA, the brand unveiled its newest line of workout machinery, spanning both cardio and strength training, designed to bring next-level connected fitness solutions to facilities. Notable pieces of equipment included the Strength Pro, Slatted Treadmill, Stair Climber Pro and Suspension Trainer, just to name a few. Echelon’s connected fitness solutions also include workout and entertainment content, and robust software.  

The recent unveiling is just one of the many steps Echelon has taken to establish itself as an industry stalwart in the connected fitness space, including in the booming franchise industry. 

“We’ve introduced arguably the most robust platform of commercial connected fitness modalities in the industry,” said John Sweeney, Echelon VP of Commercial Sales. “We have options in virtually every category including cardio deck, functional area, strength training and group fitness. We’re handing out a significant competitive advantage for franchisees with respect to providing the fitness content and motivation that their members desire at their convenience.”

John Sweeney (credit: Echelon)

Why Franchises Need a Connected Experience

Some time ago, Echelon noticed franchise brands developing a more specific and thought-out way of seeking out equipment suppliers. Even with ample locations to provide for, brands have become more selective than ever due to the saturated market. 

“We’ve seen franchise organizations become more sophisticated in how they choose their vendor partners,” said Sweeney. “It’s no longer a matter of a one-stop-shop purchasing from a single vendor. Franchisors are now choosing multiple vendors who provide competitive advantages within particular areas of the clubs that they outfit.”

Acknowledging the need for a more complete, connected array of merchandise to meet this higher quality-asking price, Echelon launched its multimedia coaching platform. The feature essentially gives gym members a virtual trainer accessible through coach text, video messaging and live calls. It provides personalized workouts and nutrition guidance to help individuals reach their goals.  

“Franchisees moving forward without Echelon are missing out on the opportunity to leverage our game-changing multimedia coaching platform, which combines our growing and evolving software/content, with our robust mechanical designs which provide an awesome competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Sweeney said. “This can be positioned as added value to a base membership or included with an upgraded membership.”

“With fitness franchises, we know that it’s all about our coaching, content and community,” Sweeney added. “We support our partners in attracting, engaging and retaining members. The Echelon connected commercial experience checks all those boxes.”

credit: Echelon

Echelon also helps its partners engaged in franchising go right where many go wrong from a big-picture standpoint. This comes naturally with the brand’s connected fitness equipment, which builds a sense of camaraderie over time among a gym’s users and staff, leading to additional benefits. 

“Fitness franchisees tend to focus on membership sales and personal training revenue and overlook retention,” noted Sweeney. “Echelon’s ability to connect franchisee members with coaching, content and community both live and on-demand boosts member engagement, goal achievement and virtual accountability which translates to enhanced retention.”

Connected Fitness as a 24/7 Solution 

Echelon views the need for gyms to operate around the clock as a key upcoming trend for the fitness and wellness industry. Smart equipment will help users stay afloat amid that wave, as it allows members to train whenever they want, whether or not there’s a trainer on-site.

“Fitness Franchises will continue to grow, especially 24-hour access scenarios,” said Sweeney. “Our live and on-demand coaching platform is the perfect fit for that.”

Echelon supplies connected fitness equipment to meet gyms’ needs for an always-open solution. Such efforts are already in motion with Workout Anytime, a rapidly growing Georgia-based fitness franchise. 

“We’re very excited to be working with the Workout Anytime franchise organization providing commercial connected rowers and studio cycles,” Sweeney said. “We’re also currently discussing introducing our Strength Pro digital strength training ecosystem which features an on-demand multimedia movement library, dozens of curated coached workouts and the ability to create and save member’s personal workouts.”

It’s a well-timed pursuit by the brand. Strength training remains one of the fitness industry’s hottest workout modalities. Making it available 24/7 will successfully feed the community’s ever-growing appetite.

The post Why Connected Fitness Is a Must for Fitness Franchise Brands in 2024 appeared first on Athletech News.


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