Spri match-makes retailers, consumers through Life Time Fitness clubs

In an attempt to drive more consumers directly to specialty retailers, Spri Products has become a part of a Life Time Fitness program that offers discounts to club members on selected products and services.
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In an attempt to drive more consumers directly to specialty retailers, Spri Products has become a part of a Life Time Fitness program that offers discounts to club members on selected products and services.

The club's Member Advantage program (www.lifetimefitness.com/member_advantage) links its members to a number of partners that give discounts in exchange for the company's participation in and promotion through the program to the chain's 48 clubs in nine states.

"It's a real win-win," said Craig Lerner, Spri marketing manager. "We're using our professional heritage and position to drive foot traffic to our dealers."

Once consumers are at a Spri dealer (found through the web or by calling Spri's 800 number), they get 20 percent off Spri products and 10 percent off any other products. So-called "preferred dealers" are now only in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas and include Chicago Home Fitness in Illinois, Bob Block and Chicago Home in Indiana, American Home Fitness in Michigan, 2nd Wind in Minnesota, and Busy Body and Fitness in Motion in Texas. That covers five of Life Time's nine states with clubs.

This allows club members who are already exposed at the clubs to Spri product as well as other equipment to buy gear when the club may not be able to offer a pro shop on-site. Other companies involved -- 11 currently -- include shoe stores, apparel, and travel, medical and insurance services. The only other one directly related to the fitness industry is Body-Solid's four Fitness Factory outlets in the Chicago area, which gives a 15-percent discount to Life Time members.

"We get an educated consumer that obviously appreciates the benefits of working out," said Body-Solid Co-CEO Stuart Glenn, who said the company signed up the middle of last year. "We have seen some traffic from the site. We have actually sold some equipment, and I don't believe Life Time has lost any memberships because of it!"

The program actually began just over three years ago to help with member satisfaction and retention, Thomas Link, senior director of Life Time's media division, told SNEWS®. But he and others were somewhat surprised how difficult it actually was to find national partners willing to offer discounts. Although the club does not have numbers about how many members use the program, Link said its partners are satisfied, so they must be seeing traffic.

"We do know that the majority of the people who visit our website do visit the Member Advantage pages as well," Link said. He said companies that offer a supplement to their members' way of life is a big benefit.
 
"We want the partners to be of interest to our members -- travel, finance, healthy way of life, supplements and entertainment are just some of our member's interests," Link said. "The more variety we can offer the better. For our partners, if we have more than a few companies offering the same type of products their results would be diminished."Â

Lerner said although Spri does not require a large or exclusive choice of Spri products at the retailers, it does want to make sure the retailer has "a reasonable breadth of products" that cover the basics, such as tubing, balls and balance boards.

With the program just getting rolling in early 2006, the results seem to be favorable for all parties.

"Categorically," Lerner said, "it's a success."

SNEWS® View: Although Spri said it did not do this program to gain retailers, what retailer in any area where Life Time has locations wouldn't want to be a part? It's a no-brainer way to spread the word about who and where you are to a group of savvy consumers. If only all health clubs had the foresight to offer these kinds of broad programs to members.
 

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