We are living in unprecedented times. As the world is faced with the effects of a pandemic, most of us are locked up in our homes as a precautionary measure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), social distancing can help prevent the overwhelming of our healthcare systems. Hence, most countries have issued stay-at-home orders for citizens. A report by Business Insider revealed that over one-third of the world is under lockdown. COVID-19 has impacted mobile usage immensely. According to App Annie, people have now spent 20% more time on apps than they did in 2019. Additionally, a whopping $23 billion in revenue has been generated by app stores in 2020 so far. This includes fitness apps as well. With gyms closed and parks no longer accessible, people are looking for new ways to stay fit by working out at home. Therefore, this is a great time to release a fitness app that is aligned with the needs of consumers during the pandemic. It is the most opportune time for any fitness app to become customer-favorite.
Must Have Features for Fitness Apps
Any fitness app that desires to help people during pandemic must have certain features. Below is a list of must-have features for fitness apps to get more downloads:
Apart from a few people who have in-house gym and the required equipment, many who previously relied on gyms for their workout, now find themselves unable to continue their normal workout routine. While some exercises might not be possible without the right equipment, make sure that your app features ample workouts that don’t need equipment. In this way, your app will be of help for a wide chunk of the population. Get a professional trainer onboard to create the best “no-equipment workouts” that target different parts of the body. For instance, if your app features exercises for strength building, make sure it also has exercises to build endurance or focus on cardio as well. Here are some popular exercises that should be a part of your app:
- Push-ups to target chest, anterior deltoid muscles, and triceps
- Air swimming, for improving postural muscles
- Bulgarian Split Squat on raised surfaces (generally, it requires equipment but can be done at home)
- Walking lunges, planks, and one-legged squats for building endurance
Make sure to include videos that properly explain each workout.
There is one feature that was required before COVID-19, and it is even more relevant in today’s situation – personalization. As people are stuck at home and unable to work with their trainers, they require fitness apps to be more personalized so that they help them in achieving their fitness goals. Therefore, any fitness app that offers standard workouts and doesn’t take the user preferences into account is bound to fail in these times. Instead of featuring standard workouts for everyone, make sure your app is capable of evaluating a user’s fitness and strength. Ask the user for information, including height, weight, gender, age, and pre-existing conditions. Ask them about their reason behind working out. Is their goal to merely stay fit or build lean muscles? Depending on the current standing of the user and their goal, offer a customized routine. Don’t make it challenging from the get-go. Instead, start easy and slowly build it up so that the abandonment rates of the app are low.
Remind Your Users to Workout
The pandemic has changed people’s behavior drastically. Many people are struggling to stay active and maintain a routine. While previously, many woke up early and had a fixed schedule for the day, now with work-from-home and no social activities, it is common for many to wake up as they please and not plan their day at all. A successful fitness app is one that breaks this disorganization. Your app’s mission should be to bring normalcy to the lives of its customers – something which everyone is craving these days. So, at times, when users forget to workout, a feature that constantly reminds them to workout might help to motivate them.
Share Progress Daily
It is easy for the masses to feel unproductive. Many people report that they had lost a sense of accomplishment they usually felt when they got different work done. With the loss of such incentives, it is easy for people to feel dispirited. And sometimes fitness apps can further increase this feeling. After all, you cannot see a difference in your appearance or health in a few days. While this might not have been noticed by a person previously, now, with a lack of achievements, not seeing a difference in their fitness can further make one feel unaccomplished. To keep this feeling at bay, and improve your app rating, share workout progress with the users daily. Let them know how much they exercised and how much it has benefitted them. Something as simple as a number of push-ups they have done this week can help in uplifting the spirits.
Live Sessions With a Professional Trainer
Humans were already social animals. Now that everyone is staying at home and not interacting with others, many are craving socialization even more. Yes, an excellent feature to have in your fitness app is including exercises recommended by professional trainers. However, merely having the right resources is no longer enough. Now, you must provide interaction between professional trainers and users. Integrate your app to include live sessions with professional trainers. This way, users can learn about the right way of exercising as well as get their concerns addressed. For the latter, you can either choose to create a community consisting of all your app members and professional trainers or assign some people to a given trainer. What works for your app depends on how many members you have and how may personal trainers you can afford.
Make it Affordable
As businesses close down, the world is witnessing an economic crunch like never before. Industries that once soared high are now experiencing difficulties in retaining their employees. Many people have lost their jobs. On the other hand, people who haven’t lost their jobs are now preferring to save their money and are only spending on essential services. At such a time, developing a fitness app that required a premium for download is not a good idea. As a growing number of businesses are offering their services for free, this can reflect badly on your app. Not to mention that it will reduce the number of downloads. Therefore, make sure to make the app affordable. Release a free version for the time being, which is equipped with enough exercises to satisfy customers. You can also have a premium version side-by-side for those who can afford it. Remember, being sensitive to customers’ needs today will pay off in the future.
Offer More Than Just Exercises
COVID-19 is also affecting the mental health of the masses. As per research, 45 percent of Americans feel that their mental health has suffered due to the virus. It is especially true for front-line workers like health care professionals and law enforcers. Additionally, the inability to visit the gym has caused a change in the behavior of people. As per a report by Influencer Intelligence regarding the effects of COVID-19 on influencer marketing, many people are now looking at influencers when searching for content related to fitness. According to the report, apart from workouts, to stay healthy, many are relying on live music sessions, book clubs, healthy recipes, and group yoga. Incorporate all these activities into your fitness app. Don’t limit it to exercises only. Instead, create a well-being app that helps in cultivating a community. For example, hold group yoga sessions, share healthy recipes, and have stress-relieving exercises as well.
Ending Remarks: Be Sensitive and Compassionate
Any feature that takes into account the ordeal the masses are going through will help in getting more downloads. Remember, the demographics and behavior of your user are now completely changed. Now, you have to create a fitness app that aligns with a socially distant lifestyle. See how you can be of help for your target audience and come up with solutions to make life a tad easier for your users.