Director of national accounts
Manufacturers, perhaps you don’t care what Treadmill Doctor thinks about your products. But consumers do, so you should check out what they’re saying, and have been saying since 1998, about your products on the company's website. SNEWS chats with Woody Fisher, director of national accounts for the treadmill parts company, on what exactly it does and why it does it.
Tell our readers who may not be familiar with Treadmill Doctor exactly what you do:
I am director of sales, marketing, public relations for a company in Memphis, Tenn., by the name of Treadmill Doctor. Treadmill Doctor is owned by two individuals — John and Clark Stevenson. They started the company in 1998, and currently we have about 3.4 million unique viewers a month at Treadmill Doctor. Google [also was founded in] 1998, and anybody as old or older than that is considered an expert because they’ve been around from the beginning of time in the Google world.
If you look at our website you can see that we basically sell a lot of parts. We also offer the consumer, because consumer is king with us, the option of looking at the reviews we’ve established since 1998 based on over 200 treadmills and 190 ellipticals. Basically we’re not looking at programmability or aesthetics, we’re just looking at nuts-and-bolts functionality and how the company warranties the product.
Does Treadmill Doctor ever work with specialty fitness retailers in any way?
We do. We sell them parts and we provide service for some of the specialty retailers.
What do you think that specialty fitness retailers need to change in order to remain relevant and profitable in the future?
It’s very simple: Embrace the Internet. Look for common ways to sell product and don't look at the Internet as the enemy. That’s a short definition of an age-old problem that most of the specialty guys are having right now. They look at the Internet as their enemy, the majority, and the ones who are embracing the Internet are seeing some very robust sales.
It seems the philosophy of the specialty dealer has been, "If I have a store and I have a good location and I advertise minimally, then they will find me and I can win them over with my expertise." The thing is people aren’t finding them. They think that the customer actually finds them and then they go to the Internet and research the product they’ve seen at their stores. But we know through Google Analytics that 87 percent of customers shopping today will research online before they ever enter a store but they fail to realize and believe it.
What are some of the biggest trends you’re noticing in treadmills over the last few years and what do you think will continue to gain momentum?
I think if you look at companies like True and Precor you’ll see innovation that makes the customer experience much better. For instance you’ll see interfacing with iPads and iPhones – mainly iPads because it’s the next big thing – and Kindle Fires and other androids. You’re seeing these guys thinking outside the box and being innovative to go to those things that the customer is actually using.
What is your favorite thing about working in the fitness industry?
The people. It’s the people. I love the people in this industry. You’ve seen that with Paul [Cuevas of Fitness In Motion South Texas] and the people that have come around [at HFB]. We have a wonderful group of people. I would like to see the manufacturers start talking to each other more.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo