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FInd Your Market And Other Lessons On Navigating Market Competition From FitReserve

When FitReserve launched in 2015, the company was launching at a time when the boutique fitness trend was in full-swing and established players like ClassPass already had traction in the all-access fitness membership model. FitReserve knew they needed to be strategic about how to carve out mindshare of their own.

Since launching in New York City in 2015, Co-Founders Megan Smyth and Bill Arzt have been able to do just that, growing their studio footprint, bringing on name-brand partners like Barry’s Bootcamp and Bar Method and offering consumers more than 60,000 classes to choose from per month. The company expanded to Boston and has other local roll-outs on-deck for the coming months.

Navigating around the competition is something that most startups face, presenting its own set of marketing challenges. I recently connected with FitReserve CEO Megan Smyth about her thoughts for entering an already crowded market, and tips for other entrepreneurs navigating a similar scenario.

Sommer: How did you think about your launch strategy, considering the competitive market?

Smyth: For New York City, we launched as quickly as possible with a core group of studio partners. This enabled us to rapidly gain insightful feedback from both sides of the market (consumers and fitness providers). We did not ignore the competition, but rather emphasized how we are different: we are the only all-access fitness membership that offers studios’ full class schedules, including all peak class times, with the ability to make your favorite studios part of your weekly routine. Once we were live, we then focused on generating positive word-of-mouth awareness and expanding our studio partnerships. We applied a similar strategy for Boston.

Sommer: What factors do you think helped you gain market traction?

Smyth: Before launching, we spent considerable time interviewing customers of competitive products (both consumers and studio owners) to best understand their pain points and unfulfilled needs. What we learned was that many consumers were frustrated by the inability to get into the best classes at their desired times on competitive platforms. This helped us think about targeting an underserved market niche, which was fitness enthusiasts who wanted one membership that provided the ability to reserve at their favorite studios at any time of the day, not just during certain peak hours. Ultimately, by focusing on gaps in the market, we were able to build a name brand and stimulate word-of-mouth awareness.