Will customers buy into the digital version of boutique fitness and wellness?

April 17, 2020 by Glossy

Most U.S. companies are going on week five of maintaining social distancing guidelines and physical retail closures; thus, they have moved from tactical triage to longer-term strategies to ensure business survival. For beauty, wellness and fitness businesses with salon, spa or boutique workout environments, the pivot to digital has been fast and furious.

Arguably, companies like Obé, Peloton and Mirror were better equipped for the quarantine era because of their core at-home offering, but driving digital engagement and revenue has clearly been on the minds of IRL-based wellness and fitness brands like Barry’s, SLT, Forward Space and Mindbody. On April 13, both Barry’s and SLT launched their individual virtual series that priced Zoom classes at $20. New York-based dance studio Forward Space will be unveiling its virtual hub next week, as will Exhale. Mindbody, for its part, rolled out its digital tool for partners like Lululemon this month; using the company’s software, customers can book virtual classes through the Mindbody app or site just as they had previously booked in-person versions. Originally, the brand had slated this feature for September.

“As soon as we voluntarily closed our Red Room [what Barry’s calls its studios] doors, we knew we had to keep our family moving. Within days, we began delivering 20-minute complimentary, live Instagram workouts from favorite Barry’s instructors,” said Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry‘s.

Rick Stollmeyer, co-founder and CEO of Mindbody, offered similar thoughts: “We had customers reaching out saying, ‘We can’t pay you,’ ‘What can you do for us?’ Virtual extensions of classes and spas presented a huge opportunity for both our business partners and us, so we accelerated our virtual launch to make it ready as soon as possible.” Mindbody works with 60,000-plus spa, salons and fitness partners, and its basic virtual consultation packages cost $129-per-month for businesses. The company also takes a 1% commission cut on auto-payments and purchases of product on its platform.

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