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Addressing the Growing Business of E-Gymming The e-gymming brands provide one-on-one personal training tend to customise their instructions to cater to an individual's need according to their fitness goals

By Riz Sunny

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The advent of the internet and its penetration across various verticals has allowed the world to be connected like never before. The way businesses engage with its consumers has transformed with the rapid technological evolution. As further advancements become commercialised and easily accessible to the masses, technologies like AR, VR, robotics and artificial intelligence are no longer futuristic ideas. These technologies are available today and being used by companies to connect with their customers, and by people to connect with their friends, across borders and across continents. An online gym, also referred to as e-gymming, may sound like an oxymoron to some people, but it is a niche yet growing business which is set to grow rapidly. It has disrupted the way people approach personal fitness.

Gravitational Pull of E-Commerce

The reason consumers gravitate towards online businesses is that of the ease of access, convenience and availability of choices that a consumer has at the tips of his/her fingers. Such a consumer-centric approach has worked wonderfully for the e-commerce industry. But what differentiates the fitness industry from the rest is that popularity of e-gymming will not lessen the importance of the personal fitness market in its present form, but rather will add-on to it. It is so because the fitness enthusiasts will not give up there everyday routine of going to the gym to get their daily dose of hardcore workout, so the physical gyms will not face a backlash with the rise of e-gymming. Rather, it presents an easy workout option for those people who either do not have means to go to an actual gym or somewhere lack true motivation. In such a situation, training with a virtual trainer becomes a far more convenient and comfortable option for many people. In this way, e-gymming is making fitness accessible to people who otherwise might not be receptive to the idea of physical training due to various reasons.

The Relevance of E-Gymming

There is this argument that e-gymming can never replace the personal one-to-one element of experience that comes with working out at a physical gym. The target audiences of both of these businesses are different however it is entirely possible to replicate the coveted gym experience with e-gymming. It all depends on your virtual trainer and their approach towards fitness training. As with any online business, it is the customer service which makes all the difference. Which is why it is important that the trainer not only feels passionate about his/her work but also infuses this element of enthusiasm in their instruction. For this, the trainer needs to connect with each client personally and be prompt in engaging them at every turn. Thus, it all boils down to making the right choice while choosing your virtual trainer.

Following along the same line of thought is another argument which expresses that online training can support more customers, thus having the advantage of showing inflated volume. But the quality of instruction, which is a critical part of fitness training, drops down. Again, how satisfied a customer would feel about e-gymming depends a lot on the kind of interaction they had with their virtual trainer. As a business, adding the online aspect is always helpful in boosting the volume because one can reach people from many different places within a fraction of the time. This has the potential of decreasing the quality of the business as well, especially if the company becomes fixated on numerical growth and disregards customer's happiness. For any business, maintaining this balance is a constant struggle. In an ideal scenario, businesses should only take on the number of clients which they can handle without sacrificing the quality of the work.

Customised Services

The e-gymming brands which provide one-on-one personal training tend to customise their instructions to cater to an individual's need according to their fitness goals. The trainer not only monitors the quality of the workout but also keeps a steady track of the progress made over time. Similar to a trainer in a physical gym, they will also motivate the individual if he/she is feeling low. However, this level of personalisation does not come cheap and depending upon the trainer, availability of personal training sessions can be an issue. But the quality delivered through this method is incomparable with other types of e-gymming services. The most common e-gymming services are generic and not tailored made to suit any specific individual. It targets a large audience that has a relatively common goal such as losing weight, building abs, toning muscles, among others. Such services are generally available either for free or at a nominal fee. This option is thus preferred by those who are trying their hand at e-gymming for the first time. Many tend to feel dissatisfied with such a service, because to avail benefits from this type of mass training one needs to be motivated and disciplined to work-out by themselves. The virtual trainer will continue to give instructions without pausing to check whether you are following or not.

E-gymming, just like personal training, has its limitations which are centred on profitability and revenue growth strategy. However, it wouldn't be prudent to say that one type of service is more profitable and safe than the other. This again is also rooted in customer experience. A brick and mortar gym requires less staff to hold the fort, but then there are over-head, equipment and logistical expenses associated with a physical gym. In the case of online gymming, experts who specialise in different aspects of running an online business are required. The payroll expense becomes higher in this scenario. This way, the difference between running two different types of gym services is not too drastic. How it can impact the business's profitability and economic growth depends on how the business is managed.

E-gymming is a service business and each business comes with its own set of challenges. It is important for every brand to remain true to their vision, their mission statement and their goals while maintaining a meaningful connection with their customers.

Riz Sunny

Founder, My Bollywood Body

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