Congratulations—you’re opening your first or 50th boutique fitness studio location. And when it comes to boutique fitness scheduling software, you want to make the best choice for one of the most important aspects of your business. What is the best boutique fitness studio scheduling system for you? Making the right choice now can save you headaches and time (which=money) down the line. With so many options out there, here are some things to consider when making this important decision:
6 essential attributes of boutique fitness scheduling software:
1. Keep the customer on your site.
Does the system have a “pop up” window taking your customers off your site to book a class? If so, then you may never get those eyeballs back on your site to see your branding and your messaging. Always keep your customers engaged with YOUR brand! And by the way, if the customer is logged into another fitness studio using the same system, do they have to go back and log out before booking at YOUR studio? Think about how annoying that is. You certainly don’t want to annoy your customers!
2. Who owns your customer data?
Do your customers belong to you or the scheduling software company? Does that company market other businesses to them? Perhaps even your competitors? Make sure you own your customer data!
3. Will you need to use third party solutions to get the features you want?
Smart boutique fitness studio owners know that booking is just the start. Retention and engagement are the name of the game. Rewards, referral programs and guest booking are all good tools every savvy studio should be using. Are your customers expecting the ability to reserve a specific bike, mat or reformer? Are these features native to your studio management system? You don’t want to be troubleshooting when one component is upgraded and no longer talks to your booking site. Which program is it? What went wrong? Which tech support do I need to call? Avoid these questions by choosing a system that has these features built in.
4. Payment Processing
How transparent and simple are the fees for online payment processing? Are there monthly, annual, or other hidden fees in addition to the transaction fees? Will you be needing to sort through a myriad of different fee tiers? Merchant processing can take a significant bite out of your gross. Make sure your system is easy to understand.
5. Going mobile
Does your system offer a studio branded mobile app with all of their pricing plans or just the most expensive ones? Watch out for software vendors offering their own B2C app where they are free to cross-market your customers to their other studio clients (i.e. your competitors). Make sure the mobile experience mirrors the desktop experience you worked so hard to create.
6. Can it scale with your brand?
Things are really cooking and you are adding new locations, maybe starting to franchise, How easily can your system accommodate these changes? You want to have control over branding and be able to sandbox financials across locations if possible. How easy is it for your customers to book classes at the new location across town without having to open a second account?
Choosing your class booking and studio management system for group fitness classes is one of the most important decisions you will make in running your fitness boutique business. Yes, you can always change your mind and switch later, but not without expense in both time and money. Why not start out on the right foot from the beginning so you can do what you really love—grow your tribe, build your community and spread health & wellness throughout the land.
By Susan Stone, Sales Representative