part of

The digitalisation of fitness: Lessons from other sectors


John Blackburn has worked and consulted in the technology space for around 30 years, helping globally renowned brands such as Walmart, Target, Victoria’s Secret and even Amazon to successfully take their next steps in the digital world.

In this latest edition of The Wexer Podcast, he draws on his multi-sector experience to highlight parallels and predictions for the fitness sector, and it makes for very interesting listening.

Listen to John’s thoughts on…

  • The rise in consumer expectations, and how innovations in one field can drive even higher expectations across the board. Apple, for example, presented products to the world that nobody had ever thought of, but in the process it raised consumer expectations to this new benchmark.
  • The shift from internal to external focus, whereby businesses now have to look at what their customers want and shape their businesses around this. “There’s a land grab in fitness at the moment, and businesses that think outside in, not inside out, will be the ones that succeed… The more you can take what the person wants and embed it in their day-to-day life, the more relevant and meaningful it becomes to them and the more they will come back.”
  • The parallels between fitness and retail, where Walmart’s out-of-town supercentres first drove business away from the high street, before Amazon’s ultra-convenience then drove business into the home. In fitness, at-home may not replace in-club, but it will play a role.
  • The pace of change, with fitness at the forefront in terms of available opportunities. For example, aggregating data (usage, purchase patterns, physiological data etc) and using it to predict and engage across content recommendations, nutrition, workouts etc.
  • The need to harness automation when doing this: “Do not sleep on data and automation. A whole portfolio of interactions will become automated.”
  • The learnings from content streaming media around how to curate content based on viewing patterns, taking into account context and personal behaviours to present content recommendations in a meaningful, relevant way.
  • The potential to put metadata behind every section of workout content, so if someone has 30 minutes to work out, Alexa can curate a personalised session – one that potentially stitches together content from multiple providers to meet the individual’s precise needs.
  • An omnichannel future in which the monolith of fitness is being carved up into micro-services, and where even those services that are digitalised might be delivered through different digital platforms: mobiles, Google Glass, “whatever the new Wii is”, and so on.
  • How to leverage partnerships, stitching together distinct offerings to look seamless to the end user. “In today’s world, when barriers to digital entry are so low, it’s important to be able to scale without investing heavily in it.”
  • For business leaders, the importance of recognising that having your workforce digitally connected 24/7 doesn’t mean it’s OK to engage with them 24/7. It is up to leaders to be the filter.

The Wexer Podcast sees Wexer CEO Paul Bowman speak to digital pioneers and experts from around the world, offering listeners insights and advice to support their own digital journeys. Follow the podcast, browse all episodes and listen right here.




Get updates, insights and the latest digital fitness news!