New Year’s Resolution for the fitness industry: Getting your payments process into shape
This month we saw the annual tradition of creating New Year’s resolutions. According to a YouGov poll, 50% of adults say exercising was their top resolution. It’s no secret that after the festive season’s overindulgence, many people look to get back in shape – whether by signing up at a gym, joining a yoga or pilates studio or practicing self-care at a spa or wellness center.
The US-based International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) reports that 12% of all new gym memberships happen in January. This figure drops to 8% during other months.
This is fantastic news for the fitness industry. But are fitness and wellness merchants ready to undertake the influx of new members? How can they manage their subscriptions, process payments more efficiently and turn the influx of new visitors into loyal members?
Given the January spike in memberships and subscriptions, fitness providers must ensure their in-person and online platforms can handle the additional traffic. This means working with a payments partner that can provide a seamless sign-up experience. Here are the factors that merchants should consider when going about selecting a payments partner:
Member onboarding experience
Everything starts with the onboarding process. Businesses risk losing their excited and motivated new customers if there are delays or errors during this journey. For that reason, merchants need a payments partner that supports the best onboarding experience. That process includes setting up accounts efficiently, collecting customers’ payment information safely, processing payments quickly and providing customers with receipts in real time.
Frictionless payment experience
Even though most of a gym’s positive customer experience lies in the in-person fitness experience it offers, providing a frictionless payment process can be a differentiator. Whether it is a one-off or recurring payment, customers expect an almost effortless experience. Merchants need solutions that can handle all these transactions, whether it is a subscription fee or a monthly payment. In addition, for those businesses that operate internationally, integration of their software platform across multiple countries and currencies is another must-have feature.
Range of payment options
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a payment solution. To fully cater to members’ preferred payment methods, merchants should rely on a payments partner that offers a range of options.
Cash or debit and credit cards are still the most preferred methods. However, merchants should consider which other alternatives their members may want to use and also factor in the growing adoption of mobile payments and look for in-store or online payments solutions that accommodate them. In 2023, it is projected that there will be 1.31 billion mobile payment users worldwide, up from 950 million users in 2019. Our Lost in Transaction research among businesses in 2022 also showed that online merchants saw an increase in transactions completed using mobile wallets and digital wallets, both to the tune of 65%. Offering broader payment options can increase customer loyalty and ensure that merchants stay competitive.
Risk and fraud
As membership activities increase in January, so does the risk of fraud. According to PwC, there has been a significant rise in platform fraud. 51% of the organizations surveyed experienced fraud in the past two years, the highest level in PwC’s 20 years of research.
Since fraudsters are constantly innovating new fraud schemes, merchants must check with their payment providers what tools they have to protect their customers’ personal and banking information.
The ones offered by Paysafe, for example, will scrub transactions on merchants’ platforms using tools like IP and geolocation, velocity logic, and negative database scrubbing. These tools help maximize the defense mechanisms around the transactions.
Putting it into practice
MINDBODY is a global provider of web and mobile business management solutions to the health, wellness, and beauty industries. Using our knowledge and expertise, we have provided them with a tailor-made solution to process payments for their wellness merchants across more than 100 countries.
Working closely with MINDBODY, we developed a fully-automated, user-friendly online merchant application integrated directly – without needing a payment gateway. This solution means their new merchants can process customer transactions within 24 hours.
Our development of a real-time merchant onboarding service also allows MINDBODY merchants to start accepting payments quickly. This includes access to a complete merchant account, payment gateway, reconciliation, and support. In addition, merchants can access essential alternative payment methods such as UK Direct Debit.
The month of January, following the overindulgence of the festive period, offers an excellent opportunity for the fitness industry to gain new members and its vital to have the right payments partner in place to capitalize on this peak time. The new year is also a great time for fitness and wellness merchants to revisit their payments strategy and consider leveraging it to provide premium member service.