From a longevity point of view, figures from a study carried out by Endeavour Partners show the alarming rate at which current consumers of Fitbit’s wearable devices drop off in the first 6 months with over third of individuals choosing to no longer use it. These people who were once motivated spend their money on Fitbit’s devises have found the product to be lacking in on-going considerations, in effect, the novelty wore off. Fitbit’s consumers are failing to find the value in such designs which could be resolved by focusing on 2 key areas more extensively;
- Integrated their device in to their consumer’s daily routine.
- Using the right materials so the device is fashionable, allows for the technology and is perceived to be worth its cost.
Today people expect so much more from their electronic devices. We as a culture have grown more sophisticated in our daily use of technology with many aspects becoming a part of our everyday life. With this in mind, consumers need to be shown the true value of what Fitbit’s wearable devices can bring and Fitbit in turn must deliver valuable, usable information or the consumer will quickly become tired of the device.
With Fitbit the user is offered a lot of information and it is up to them to determine its value. They often don’t know what they should do with it or even how to change and improve their stats long time. Even more importantly, why should they care? The on-going considerations for Fitbit must be properly addressed, at the moment aspects of their technology feel more like a gimmick than a valuable asset.
Karinna Nobbs, senior lecturer of fashion brand strategy at London College of fashion, recently stated that “in order for wearable tech to become accepted by the mass market, the design has to fit, but the tech also has to add value to the product and not be a gimmick, which many of the offers have been to date”. Though technologically advanced Fitbit needs to understand what their real purpose is, why and what they are meant to do. We need to be addressing what the users need and want from their device over time, not just their initial incentives to prevent such staggering drop off rates.
In essence it needs to have a real function, it needs to enhance the daily lives of its users in a way that isn’t readily available in another existing device. Fitbit are by far the leaders in this area but their current solution is flawed in the way it isn’t fully integrating its system in to their users lives (in the way smart phones have been able to) and currently has one isolated functionality than needs to be used constantly.
The device itself is great technologically and fashion-wise is a marked improvement on anything else that is currently out there however it fails on the holistic experience as it doesn’t yet fit in to our everyday lives. The current Fitbit device tracks valuable data that could be used to create that emotional attachment to the product that will allow for greater integration. I believe that the current information could be be better relayed to the user to show them not just what they have done but what they need to do for the rest of the day. For example, if the user is under their recommended daily exercise an email could be sent to suggest they take a different route home that requires more walking (such as taking the subway from Wall Street rather then their usual Bowling Green location as it’s an extra 10 minute walk) and it could send them the directions.
Another example would be if the user has been good in terms of their exercise and calorie intake for the day the device could suggest meals they could have via email, text message or social media. Equally if they have struggled with fitting in their daily exercise Fitbit could suggest low calorie meals with easy recipes to follow and could even help to map out which Supermarket they could walk to in order to get their ingredients. This much more integrated system adds more value that just presenting the user with how many calories they have burnt or how to improve their fitness. It becomes a much more multifunctional device that doesn’t just sit in the one area of exercise but encompasses much more of the health industry that many wearable devices are failing to touch upon.
Currently Fitbit is the most all encompassing health and fitness tracker on the market which means they have the tools to evolve their system better than any other and I believe the above solution will help them to retain their competitive edge. Furthermore as people like multipurpose Apple watch looks set enter the market Fitbit need to offer so much more.
Another area that Fitbit need to focus on is the aesthetics. The recent collaboration with Tony Burch to create a line of accessories that were compatible with the Fitbit Flex device proved to be a massive step in the right direction. It showed that Fitbit understood that their devices needed to be fashion driven as well as technologically. This range included a brass necklace, bracelet and a silicone band with the prices started at $99.95 and rose to $195 (which didn’t account for the $99.95 Fitbit itself). Sadly the brass options looked more like a cheap piece of costume jewellery meaning the quality of the aesthetics didn’t quite match the price, as most of the cost was in integrating the technology component which could not necessarily be seen by the consumer.
Furthermore the pieces of jewellery themselves strike me as rather impractical for wearing during exercise. The brass bracelet is heavier and chunkier than the usual silicon and materials aren’t very breathable which is a potential problem when consumers sweat. Though the necklace doesn’t have these problems it is awkward trying to exercise when there is something dangling around a consumers. All in all these materials aren’t as effective as the silicon versions yet they are much more appealing aesthetically. Yet having a fashionable device is key as it needs to be worn everyday to fully unlock its capabilities.
Therefore, I feel there needs to be more focus on addressing the manufacturing process, potentially exploring new alternatives to the key cost-driving components, such as display or connectivity. This will result in either the product price can be driven down or the expenditure on quality aesthetics and materials can increase. The materials themselves also need much further development so that they are wearable during exercise yet fashionable enough to wear throughout the day. This can be through the use of different metals, leathers, fabric or reassessing the design so that the area’s that touch the skin are different to those on the outside.
If Fitbit were to focus on these two areas, functionality that fully integrates with the users everyday life and wearable device materials they would be able to further build on the success and make sure that wearable technology isn’t a fad but is here to stay.