Pricing + Targeting = Perceived Value
For the last few years the health and fitness industry has been booming, and new entrants have crowded the marketplace. With versatile entrants to the market, pricing has become a point of interest, as well as a key differentiator for brands competing in the busy industry. To illustrate how pricing decisions are at the core of a brand’s marketing strategy, in this blog we discuss the various aspects that influence pricing for a brand in the health and fitness industry.
Pricing in the health and fitness industry
Pricing is a key component in every business strategy. While pricing decisions may seem complicated, it all boils down to the value the business is trying to communicate with its customers. How does the brand define itself? What is the key differentiator or unique selling point? These are questions that should be used as guidelines when determining the brand’s pricing model.
It is important to consider who your customers are. Understanding the buying behaviour of your target audience can give guidance on price points, as different consumer groups are likely to respond to price signals differently. Hence, pricing can be an important tool used to communicate brand position in the market.
Gyms and health clubs are a great example on how pricing models can communicate positioning. For example PureGym and The Gym Group have established themselves as budget gyms specialising in low prices. This creates a large footfall, but does not necessarily cater to everyone’s needs. As a contrast to the budget gyms, David Lloyd Clubs and Virgin Active -The Collection, offer a premium health club experience, with a state of art gym, pool and in the former, the opportunity for racket-sports. For these gyms, the overall footfall will be smaller, but the gym will be able to offer its members a premium experience, attracting the high-end customers willing to pay money for a higher quality; ultimately, they’re selling a lifestyle.
Typical pricing tactics in the health and fitness industry include add-on pricing, where for an additional charge the customer can upgrade their experience. An example of this would be off-peak versus anytime gym access or one site versus multisite access to a health club. Price anchoring, where three different prices (such as £29.99, £59.99 and £79.99) are displayed is often used as a tool to give the customer a price reference, as well as guide consumers towards a certain price point. With gyms, price anchoring is often used to illustrate any-add on features or benefits that can be purchased for just a small increase in a monthly price.
Bundle pricing is another pricing tactic prominent in the health and fitness industry. Especially supplement sellers such as Bulk Powders or MyProtein who often utilise this tactic to encourage consumers to buy larger quantities of their products. They often set the price per kilo for their products to decrease as the quantity increases, so for example the price/kilo of whey protein tends to be higher in a 500 gram pouch compared to a 2kg pouch. Similarly personal trainers often have a discounted price for purchasing ten sessions at once, compared to purchasing them one-by-one. For personal trainers, gyms and health clubs, free trials also represent an important to way attract new customers as they lower the perceived barrier for trying something new.
How can a brand communicate value?
For any brand in the health and fitness industry, a point worth considering is the source of value. Using gyms as an example, is the success of a gym down to the service-scape, such as the equipment available? Or is value rather derived from the trainers and other staff, making talent retention and important value consideration? How does brand play into this?
Fitness First is an example of brand that went through a complete rebrand in order to resonate with their audience better. They upgraded their brand positioning to ‘premium’, underwent a complete brand and facilities/environment redesign and increased their prices to match their new identity. In addition to this they underwent a merger and are now called DW Fitness First. Their example illustrates how profitability resonates with clear positioning, and both price and position are key in communicating value to the consumer.
Technology can also represent a source of value. For example Gym apps, such as David Lloyd Mobile App for booking classes and courts adds value through improved convenience. At Village gyms, their Technogym equipment allows you to track your progress via their MyWellness-platform which then creates personalised training routines, and motivational messages. Additionally, when joining the gym an expert trainer will measure your unique body composition by using Tanita and BodyMATRIX technology. These value-adding technologies enhance the workout experience and therefore also justify premium pricing.