Myzone Switch

MZ-Switch – Making waves, and positioning your facility for the win

MZ-Switch Make Waves “Make Waves” it says in the official Myzone advert and, since its embargoed announcement to existing Myzone facilities on 18th/19th March, Myzone & MZ-Switch have certainly been doing that.

Despite MZ-Switch and MZ-Remote+ both officially being “secrets” until 24th March, there has been much murmuring within the Fitness Industry, along with transient social media postings which, if you blinked, you’d miss before they were once again taken down.

Many facilities have invested a fair wedge of cash into implementing Myzone into their gyms and studios.  The concept, upon its release, was revolutionary.  Improved further with the MZ-3 belt, Myzone has helped many facilities differentiate themselves from the competition, whilst supporting their efforts to inspire their members to “be their best”.

Now-a-days, the marketplace is awash with wearables.  Many are cheap, nasty devices with negligible accuracy.  Some, like Fitbit, Apple Watch and the like are certainly strong players. So, what do we make of the current excitement?

Over the last few days I have been approached by several customers asking me for my opinion on the product “whose name shall not be spoke” (until the 24th March). I have the utmost respect for all of the concerns that were raised, but I thought it might be of interest to a few if I shared my personal thoughts.

Full transparency: Quoox is a technology partner to Myzone.  We align several aspects of our product with Myzone, and are proud to do so. Quoox is the only fitness management solution fully integrated with Myzone, MZ-Remote, and MZ-Remote+

Neither Myzone (nor its principals) have any financial interests in Quoox, nor vice versa.

Quoox is not privy to any information about Myzone, other than that which is in the public sphere.

This blog is a “think piece” to aid our customers (and others) to position themselves for maximum benefit from the latest Myzone innovations.

What is MZ-Switch?

MZ-Switch is the new wearable device from Myzone, announced on 18/19th March, and officially launched on 24th March 2021. It is an alternative to the MZ-3 and MZ-1 offerings, which remain part of the current Myzone product suite.

The hook with MZ-Switch is that it is a “multi-site device”.  It comes with three straps, and may be worn on the chest; the upper arm; or the wrist.  No doubt an intrepid few with experiment on the hunt for other pulse points, but we’ll gloss over that for now.

For several years now facility owners have been used to explaining that a chest belt is ‘more accurate’ than a wrist worn device.  This remains absolutely true.  Switch is marginally less accurate then MZ-3, but not appreciably so for it to be of concern. Let’s be realistic, we are drawing pretty motivational graphs, not monitoring keyhole heart surgery!

The UK RRP for MZ-Switch is £139, roughly a tenner more than the RRP for the MZ-3.  As has been the case with MZ-3, facilities may still purchase belts at a discounted rate (greater discounts for 100+ units), and members may purchase directly from Myzone at a discounted rate using a facility voucher code.

…and MZ-Remote?

MZ-Remote was released by Myzone last year, and provides a mechanism whereby facility members may use their Myzone belts with online classes.  Both members and coaches may view class attendee “tiles” via the Myzone live board.

Quoox is fully integrated with MZ-Remote, and enables mutual customers to setup engaging classes with no extra effort, and for members to enjoy the full benefits of MZ-Remote whilst still using their regular bookings and session access methods within the Quoox mobile app and FitnessHub (Quoox‘s members portal).

MZ-Remote is the perfect way of bringing the engagement and community of Myzone to your live, online sessions.

So, what is MZ-Remote+ then?

MZ-Remote+ was announced by Myzone on 18th/19th March and went live on 24th March 2021.  Whilst MZ-Remote+ embodies MZ-Remote, it is a separate subscription offering to MZ-Remote – and the two should not be confused.

MZ-Remote+ provides facilities with a suite of live and on-demand sessions hosted by trained Myzone coaches and Myzone affiliates.  For a fixed monthly subscription from Myzone, facilities may optionally make these sessions available to their members (via the Myzone app), monetising them however they wish.  For example, they could be bundled into existing memberships; added to premium memberships only; or provided wholly as a separate online offering.  Myzone leave this entirely down to the facility.

Quoox is the only fitness management solution that is integrated with MZ-Remote+.  Through Quoox our mutual customers may select the sessions that they wish to make available to members; select the members to whom they are assigned; and charge for the sessions accordingly.  This may be done on an ad hoc basis or, more likely for most facilities, via a membership plan. This is all done at a click of a button, and Quoox makes the entire process effortless.

Is Myzone selling MZ-Switch and MZ-Remote+ directly to the public?

Myzone has long since sold the MZ-3 belt directly to end-users, including through Amazon.  This is nothing new, and them doing the same with MZ-Switch is no change.

It is my understanding that Myzone will be directly marketing MZ-Switch to existing MZ-1/MZ-3 end-users, and offering users the option to move to MZ-Switch for a discounted price.  In his launch presentation, Myzone CEO Dave Wright was explicit that facilities may request their members not be contacted, and that facilities simply need to contact and request such through their account manager prior to the launch date.

If is my further understanding that Myzone will be making the MZ-Remote+ classes available to end-users that are not currently affiliated with any facility. I.e. they are not going to target a facility’s members, but those who have a belt that isn’t linked with a facility will be approached.

But that’s outrageous!

Is it though? This is a cry that I have read in many social media posts but, to be honest (and with the greatest respect), don’t wholly understand.  My rationale is this…

Myzone is a privately owned, “for profit” business, just like yours and mine. I had a quick check earlier and, as far as I can see, Myzone is not a registered charity! 😉

Myzone have sold belts directly to end-users for a long time, so them selling MZ-Switch is no change in position.  What is new, is the offering of MZ-Remote+ classes to unaffiliated Myzone belt owners.

Now, putting your facility aside, is that unreasonable?  An individual owns a belt, arguably of limited use without an affiliation.  MZ-Remote+ gives them content, akin to Peloton; Apple; FIIT; and an ever increasing list of other providers.

Whilst I’m sure the facility subscriptions are nice, I would wager that Myzone makes most of its revenue through belt sales.  Effectively, their primary revenue generating sales force has been on lockdown for the past 12-months, or so.  I imagine that would focus the minds of any organisation, and that there’d be a greater desire to have control of the sales cycle.

Myzone are competing against my facility!

But are they, though?  I’ve thought long and hard about this over the last few days, and here is my take…

Is Myzone still a great training tool?

In my opinion, yes.  Whilst there are a few other competitive offerings, I would argue Myzone remains the best.

Personally, I think the creation of MZ-Switch was essential.  It is incredibly hard to compete with the likes of Fitbit etc. with a chest strap.  Yes, they’re accurate, but they’re not overly convenient; not particularly comfortable; and if you’re a woman, or a man with pecks (or moobs) the belt continuity isn’t great.  I will certainly be switching (see what I did there?!) across to a wrist belt, and look forward to it.  I will still get to see (with acceptable accuracy) whether I’m dying in the red zone, or have collapsed in yellow (before even getting to red).

But what do I tell my members?

This shouldn’t be a contentious situation.  Myzone have released a new product and, as such, (unless you opt out) they will be offering this to your members at a discounted rate (a benefit your members receive by being part of your facility).  If you have opted out, you may present MZ-Switch as an alternative option to your members as you wish.

For those who have long sold the chest straps on the basis that they are “more accurate”, that was true when you said it and remains true now. The reality is that Myzone have developed a wrist/arm worn strap, working with experts at world renowned Loughborough University, to minimise the inaccuracies (though still present).  It is a matter of choice and preference, balanced with pro’s and con’s.

A quick straw poll that I did showed that many would stick with the MZ-3, whilst my personal preference would be for the wrist worn convenience of MZ-Switch.  Different members will have different preferences, and that is fine.

Some facilities buy a stock of belts, and sell them directly to members.  Quoox simplifies the belt setup process, by enabling facilities to directly setup the Myzone member record from directly within Quoox.

Other facilities take advantage of the Myzone store, whereby members may buy their belt directly from Myzone using a facility voucher code.  Members get the belt at a discounted rate (typically £50 less), and Myzone ship it direct to the member, already configured for the facility.  As with direct sales, Quoox also simplifies this process – enabling members to link to the Myzone store (pre-configured with your voucher code) from either the Quoox mobile app, or the FitnessHub member site.

But I still have a stock of belts I bought?

You’re talking to the man who bought a full price Macbook a week before Tim Apple announced a whole new, better version for the same price! This is, sadly, a reality of business.

Like my Macbook, the belts you have in stock still work and still have the same value.  Unlike my Macbook, they’re still a current product line [damn you, Tim Apple].  You bought them at a discount, right?  Why not clear your stock by offering them for slightly less than you usually would, and instead move to using Myzone for your fulfilment?  Money tied-up “on your shelf” and for which you only make a small cut, isn’t necessarily an ideal situation in the current financial climate anyway.

Myzone are now promoting MZ-Remote+ to all of my ex-members?! I was trying to get them back!

I’d quite like to have not messed up a relationship I had 5+ years ago, but that ship has sailed; the bridges were burned; and the horse is several fields away! Bye Felicia! 😐

The key here is to view MZ-Remote+ as value add in your proposition.  Why should a member a come to your facility instead of using MZ-Remote+ or, for that matter, Apple Fitness+, or anything else with a “+” on the end of it?  As successful as Myzone are, you can guarantee that the likes of Apple and Fitbit (now owned by Google) have a stack more cash for marketing to your members – and they don’t give a damn if they’re still your current members.

Training with a professional coach will always yield better results.  On-demand is one thing.  Live was a bit better, but in-person is the only way that you can get the level of feedback, encouragement and guidance that makes a real difference.

Positioning Myzone and your facility for a stronger bottom line

Whether you love it; hate it; or are largely ambivalent to it; online training is not going away.  Your members have now all experienced the benefits and convenience of online training, but it has also likely re-enforced the significant plus sides to in-person training.

For many smaller facilities, the challenge is how to continue to provide a hybrid product when you have limited resource.  Er, MZ-Remote+ anyone?!

How many members do you have saying “I’m going on holiday for 4 weeks [Ed. Nice, if you can afford it], so can I pause my membership?” With a true hybrid offering it’s a lot easier to justify why not to suspend, plus you can deal with people being on work trips and many other “away from base” scenarios.

Myzone remains the fantastic engagement and motivational tool it always was, now without the hassle of having to explain to people the benefits of a chest strap (an easier sale, right?).  Your facility is able to offer your members a belt at a price far cheaper than they can get directly.  Another win.

Now you can optionally supplement your own live classes with those from MZ-Remote+.  Using Quoox you can opt out of those that you do not wish to provide (E.g. those of a genre less relevant to your offering; or those which are timed for a session where you’d prefer your members to be attending your own session).

Let’s say that Myzone charge facilities £81 per month for MZ-Remote+ and say you have ~100 members, you can offer 160+ live and on-demand classes to your members for less than £1 per member, per month.  How you include it or bundle it is up to you.  You could include it in premium memberships only, or offer it as a bolt-on “online membership”.  Through Quoox these are easy to sell and administer.

Using Quoox and MZ-Remote+ you could also add a whole new offering to your facility’s portfolio.  Setting up and selling a no-touch, “online only” membership is so easy with Quoox, and you don’t even have to do any work to deliver the classes.  It’s like printing your own money!  Now, for online members in your area you have a great new lead pipeline, and you can further upsell by adding other resources and content to your memberships using FitnessHub; Fitflix and the other array of tools Quoox makes available to you.

I’m still unhappy, but I’ve forgotten why!

Like all business owners, we all worry about revenue and losing customers.  The Fitness Industry is one that has always evolved, and will continue to evolve.  In my opinion, Myzone are simply doing what is necessary to stay relevant in today’s 24×7 wellness world.

Over time, many of us have started thinking of Myzone belt sales as simply being another tenner of revenue here or there. We need to step back and remind ourselves of the much broader benefits Myzone brings our facilities, and look more broadly at the (much greater) revenue opportunities that smart implementation can bring.

For example, beyond online memberships and “value add” memberships, offer a membership that includes a belt upon sign-up.  You still charge for the belt, but you make a little bit, and your member saves money from if they’d bought it direct.  Everyone wins.  Now your member has their belt, and you can accelerate their engagement into your community – showing them what makes your facility unique.  Hint: It’s you and your team.

Use Myzone challenges and the in-built Myzone leader board within Quoox to establish competition on an even playing field.  No other similar system does that quite as well as the Myzone MEPs.

I’ll say it again (for the lawyers)

The opinions stated in this blog are my own; not necessarily those of Quoox or Myzone; and my take on the latest Myzone innovations may not match with everyone’s.

I can only speak from experience.  My experience, like many reading, will be that Myzone is a great tool for any in-person facility.  This is why we’re so proud to include integration to Myzone within Quoox, and why I’m always wanging-on about it!

Over time, many of us have perhaps come to “take for granted” the brightly coloured tiles on the wall, and have perhaps slightly disengaged from it.  After a period of absence, there is no better time to get your members re-invigorated and re-enthused for Myzone – and all without having to grossly spit on the damned strap to try and get your tile to appear!

Did I mention…

…that Quoox is the only fitness management solution to be fully integrated with Myzone; MZ-Remote; and MZ-Remote+?

We don’t even charge any extra. All Quoox customers get all Quoox features for one fixed monthly fee!

On that note, I’m off to review our own business model, as that seems way too good to be true. [Ed. But it is true]

Chris Windram signature

Chris Windram | Co-Founder

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