American consumers now have the power to purchase goods and services using wellness currency thanks to Boston-based startup, Wellcoin.
The world’s first health currency, which launched in July, encourages members to earn Wellcoins by logging their participation in various healthy activities on the company’s free website or app.
Dr Glenn Laffel, Wellcoin’s CEO and founder, revealed that he came up with the idea in order to foster collaboration between numerous public and private health and wellness initiatives and the enormous communities they have convened (ranging from Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign to the quantified self movement and even the latest fitness, from spinning to CrossFit).
“Wellcoin was founded on the premise that rewarding people for easy-to-adopt, positive behaviors can help create lasting lifestyle changes. And we believe the model will succeed because it provides both a rewards platform and a data/tracking system to users at no cost to them,” said Laffel.
The innovative wellness scheme, rewards activities like sleeping at least seven hours per night, choosing a healthy beverage, hiking, seeing a health professional or helping one’s child be healthy. And members can ramp-up their earnings by syncing their account with fitness monitors like Fitbit and other brands, or by uploading photos to verify their claims.
Users can then spend the Wellcoins, which have real-world purchasing power, in a special online marketplace stocked with goods and services from partners such as Skechers, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Pure Barre, Whole Foods Market and dozens of other premier local fitness partners. And Laffel told Welltodo that since the company’s launch, consumer feedback has been tremendous.
“We are seeing new members appear all throughout the US with a lot of people asking globally when we intend to launch in their country. Since launch, Wellcoin has quickly become the go-to destination for those trying to live a healthy life. We are seeing tens of thousands of members – adding as many as 3,000 new members per week.
“Members are so engaged with Wellcoin that we have quickly grown to become the most photo rich health and wellness app out there. Our members upload more photos per day than users on Facebook, Instagram, and Swarm.”
Wellcoin is yet to launch internationally, however UK-based Earthmiles has adopted a similar model. The platform allows consumers to convert time spent participating in healthy activities into rewards including special discounts or free exercise classes, which are updated every week.
With plans to expand the Earthmiles community and launch in new markets, co-founder, Megha Prakash, told Welltodo:
“We wanted to use the technologies available today to bring in an innovative sense of reward and accountability that could be a part of everyday lives. More than anything we wanted to create something fun that people would connect with and use everyday to support healthier lifestyles.
“The vision that we have for Earthmiles is that people will use it to become more conscious of how much they are moving, that people would discover new healthy products and services to support a wellness-conscious lifestyle, that people would use it to connect with other people and brands on the same journey has all come true. We’re glad that it’s a brand people feel strongly connected to and with a mission they are moved by, we feel that’s one of our key achievements.”
With growing numbers of people, particularly millennials embarking on healthy behavioral changes, platforms like these, cultivating more accessible relationships between brands and consumers are able to carve a niche for themselves in a highly saturated market. And judging by the ongoing success of the ClassPass business model, perhaps it’s a niche not to be overlooked.