Unboxing the Gym Experience

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When The Unboxing Experience Feels Like Your Birthday

I recently set up a local service with a card reader. The company that sent the reader seems to have a real insight into the concept of experience, particularly the unboxing experience. The reader is well designed but so was the box that it came in. It contained three cleverly designed and satisfying layers of wrapping that had to be peeled away or opened and then a final layer of protective plastic that was strangely the best part to remove.

These days, it’s no surprise that people unbox their tech-toys and upload the video to YouTube. It’s a bit like unwrapping your birthday presents with a GoPro camera strapped to your head. This is apparently a thing now. Oddly, it somehow works; unboxing videos can be fascinating to watch.

Apple is keen on this sort of thing. They must have put as much into the design of the packaging as most companies put into the product itself. Another company, now owned by Apple, is Beats by Dre, which produces mid-quality headphones and a premium experience. Beats put their headphones in a package that is a joy to open for the first time.

And Your Cat Insists On Sitting In The Box

With a particularly good unboxing experience you feel like you are a kid at your own birthday party. The experience makes the product work on a one-time emotional level, something about the feel of the box and going through the process of opening it.

In gym management you should always be thinking of the experience that the customer is having. This is something to train into your staff and try to design into your facility. If you can make the initial membership akin to an unboxing experience that alone will help to secure the loyalty of your customers.

The Gym Experience Is Everything Always

The perceived experience is very important to the business-to-customer (B2C) relationship but also can be applied to business (B2B) customers as well. After all, businesses are made of people and if you treat your customers right it will make them remember you when recommending to friends at home.

This is a very customer oriented service business that we are in. But if you can gain some corporate memberships there might be huge potential if B2B customers share the experience of your gym with their clients, to make their relationships a better experience.

The irony of business clients is that, because they don’t have to worry about the bill, assuming their company has given permission in principle, they are even more sensitive to the experience than self-funding members. It may be that their professional reputations are more of a priority or that they appreciate time well spent. In any case, this is just something that I have personally observed.

Businesses with local corporate offices may wish to have their staff have memberships as a perk. If you can work out how to make the experience a shared benefit you can leverage your skills and make it a real winner.

Don’t Forget The Credence

The qualities of experiences only become tangible after they happen. Beyond that, there is something that marketing experts call the credence quality, this is entirely intangible and difficult to describe even after the experience has been completed. It is particularly relevant to service businesses such as gyms and fitness centers. It is the emotional take-away of the time spent in your gym.

The credence quality applies to everything from having a root canal to spending the day at your favorite theme park. It’s these qualities that lie beyond experience that cause people to sign up for a membership and only attend once, if they have a bad experience. It is the unspoken part of the experience that will render judgment, possibly a bit of a lose-win situation; if you get it right nobody notices, if you get it wrong members can’t explain it but they just stop attending.

Breaking out a new pair of shoes or the latest smartphone can be a very satisfying experience. Treating staff and clients to a rewarding experience is good business. Experience is so compelling and yet it’s so transient. You make the purchase and unbox the gadget and then you have it. I think that it’s important to remember this part of the gym membership unboxing experience. If you can make it a presentation out of a new membership, a rewarding event to start on that first day it will set up a positive association for the new member and a long term customer for you.


Fagan, Lawrence. Experience Is Everything. June 5, 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2699-experience-is-everything/ (accessed October 23, 2014).

Kotler, Philip, and Kevin L. Keller. Marketing Management. 13th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.

TechSmartt. Ultimate iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus Unboxing: White (Silver) vs Black (Space Grey) vs Gold! September 19, 2014. https://youtu.be/FyeOymXfq1o (accessed October 22, 2014).

UrAvgConsumer. OFFICIAL New Beats Solo 2 Unboxing! June 1, 2014. https://youtu.be/q6YCGAGsVHg (accessed October 22, 2014).

One Comment

November 3, 2014

Some really great insights and examples about unboxing or credence creation done well in the fitness industry would be awesome. Do you have any case studies or examples you could share?

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