SAN LUIS OBISPO, United States — Mindbody, the technology platform used by more than 50,000 thousand wellness businesses across the globe, is doubling down on its core software and product development to better serve clients and consumers in a post-COVID landscape.
The company, named one of the top 10 most innovative companies by Fast Company, earlier this year, says it plans to deliver additional value to the wellness businesses that rely on its integrated software and payments platform to run, market, and grow their businesses.
In addition to its A.I. and machine learning teams delivering a new lead management engine that supports wellness businesses in their challenge of identifying new clients to unlock growth, it also plans to launch ‘Insights’ — a real-time analytics and staff engagement platform for salon and beauty businesses.
Speaking about the fresh strategy, CEO Josh McCarter told Welltodo:
“Like other industries, COVID had a dramatic influence on our product roadmap. Since the initial shutdown began in March, we’ve been in overdrive to deliver products that not only make sense in a pandemic environment but post-pandemic as well.”
Adding: “Our work in artificial intelligence and machine learning is also advancing at an accelerated rate to provide more actionable intelligence to both customers and consumers.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mindbody has been quick to pivot its features to better support wellness business navigating this new, predominantly digital landscape.
In April, it launched a virtual wellness platform designed for boutique fitness, beauty and wellness operators to upload and share pre-recorded videos to their customers via direct, secure links.
The platform, which removes the need for third-party video solutions – as it integrates directly into the Mindbody software – means businesses can now list and market virtual classes and services on the Mindbody app and Mindbody.io.
In May, the company enhanced the feature with the launch of Integrated Live Streaming, to enable the seamless integration of virtual experiences.
“Mindbody’s Virtual Wellness Platform has become a core offering for many of our customers,” McCarter revealed.
“Since launching in early spring, we’ve seen tens of thousands of videos uploaded and thousands of classes streamed every week. Consumers have gravitated toward the product as well, with tens of thousands of users taking live-streamed classes each week.”
Despite the uptick in virtual engagement, Mindbody research reveals that 93% of consumers say they plan to go back to their previous routine once businesses fully reopen, with 46% of those noting their previous routine will now include a virtual element.
“In-studio workouts and services will remain in high demand, but our data shows that the hybrid model, one where consumers utilize both in-person and virtual classes, is here to stay,” McCarter told Welltodo.
In recognition that a hybrid business model fusing both in-person and virtual offerings will be the new expectation for wellness consumers moving forward, it’s unsurprising that Mindbody is, therefore, also accelerating the build-out of features that support an omnichannel approach.
It is currently focused on developing sophisticated recommendation engines to ensure that the right inventory, accessed through the Mindbody app or Mindbody.io, gets recommended to the right consumer at the right time.
To extend its reach across the consumer marketplace, it also plans on launching Flex — a consumer-facing membership platform, which will allow consumers to attend 10 virtual classes per month at any participating studio around the world. However, currently, the service is available by invitation only.
“In one of our recent consumer surveys, nearly 50% of respondents said their mental wellness is worse now than before COVID-19. So, wellness and fitness providers need to be able to offer their services to help get people back on track,” McCarter explained.
“The pandemic has disrupted our industry, and with it, created a new global wellness imperative that will increase demand and seek more versatile delivery options. We see the evolution of wellness characterized by fewer brick and mortar locations, smaller in-person classes and a hybrid model that combines streaming with offline experiences and memberships,” he added.
However, “with increased delivery options, we see a democratization of wellness occurring where larger audiences will have access to wellness experiences and services. This transition will be fueled by gains in artificial intelligence and machine learning that will increase personalisation and make deeper connections with communities around the world.”