- StepSetGo was born when one of the founders joked about losing the enthusiasm to workout in the gym every day and pay a hefty amount of money for it.
- They thought to themselves that roles should be reversed and consumers should be paid for working out and achieving their targets.
- Two years later, StepSetGo has added 7 million users on its app and is known for its rewards.
- We catch up with Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO and Co-founder, StepSetGo to further understand the idea behind the app, discuss the challenges of COVID-19, future of the fitness industry and his goals for 2021.
Shortly, with some creative ideas and quick execution, the lockdown proved to be a blessing in disguise for the brand. The user engagement (social triggers and gamification triggers) of the application peaked and its user base jumped from 5 million to 7 million after the lockdown.
However, the starting of the lockdown, like many other businesses, was the lowest point for StepSetGo.
Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO and Co-founder, StepSetGo, shared, “Since our core concept revolved around movement which was not restricted, at the start of the lockdown we didn’t see too much of a spike. In fact, what we did see was a slight decline in the number of total steps taken by our users, which was bound to happen. However, when we rejigged our systems, to adapt to the new circumstances we were all facing, things changed. Once we made that very subtle tweak, we did see quite an uptick in our traction and the number of time users were spending on the application almost doubled.
On their strategy behind transitioning from an outdoor app to indoor fitness app, Ghatge added, “It was a two-fold strategy. First, we switched the coin multiplier to reward users more for walking indoors rather than outdoors. Next, we created an ecosystem of games as well as heightened incentivisation. Example; turbo time, which happens a few times a day gives users a chance to earn more coins for every 1000 steps. We also introduced hyper-casual games that unlock more chances by walking.”
It all started with a joke
StepSetGo was born when the founders thought to themselves, “Why am I paying the gym so much? Getting fit is so hard, the gym should reward me for going!” This joke was the inception of StepSetGo.
They thought getting fit was hard enough and finding the motivation to walk into a gym every day is an uphill task. It also requires a lot of patience to see the end result one is aiming for. So, the founders asked themselves what is it that every Indian loves. They came up with a simple solution, “Why not reward users, provide additional motivation and make it fun? We knew there was potential here and went for it, all guns blazing!"
Every 1000 steps a user takes is rewarded with 1 SSG Coin. These SSG Coins can be collected over time to claim products and discounts in the in-app Bazaar.
Three months into the launch of the app, it had seen 650,000 downloads with no marketing. That’s when the founders knew they had a winner and kept walking.
“What has worked for us from the get-go has been ‘word of mouth’ publicity. The freshness and uniqueness of the idea along with the fact that the app works as a highly effective motivation game are what has really helped drive our organic growth, especially through our users. Therefore, so far we haven’t found the need to make heavy investments in marketing,” said Ghatge.
In September 2020, StepSetGo entered the top 50 free apps under the Indian 'all' category and reached the second spot in India under the 'health and fitness' category. It also won the Atma Nirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge under the health and fitness category which accelerated the 2-year-old app’s growth and brought it to the forefront.
However, for Ghatge, consumer feedback was the biggest win. “For us, the true achievement was the number of users who wrote to us on the goals and targets achieved as well as weight-loss success stories, which we’ve even put up (a few) on the StepSetGo website,” said he.
Customer feedback and word-of-mouth helped StepSetGo reach its goal and going forward, it will continue spending on digital mediums to expand its user base.
Telling us about the app's first campaign and how PM Modi’s mention helped the app gain organic users, Ghatge said, “Our first-ever marketing campaign was released just recently in November 2020 in time for Diwali. #SSGKeSaathChal was a playful campaign boosted solely through social media channels to just remind people to stay healthy, active and make every step count during the festive season. Finally, not to forget when the Honorable Prime Minister mentions you on Maan ki Baat, no form of marketing could work better than that. From a future perspective as well, we won’t be doing traditional forms of advertising, we believe we can do much better-targeted advertising through online means when we start allocating a dedicated ad budget.”
Trends in 2021
Customer sentiment is still fairly divided in the market. There is one set of people that have adapted to the concept of online fitness and then there are the traditional fitness followers who have been waiting to get back to the gym and resume their sessions. As a result, many fitness brands have dabbled with hybrid models that cater to both kinds of cohorts.
Ghatge said that it is too early to comment on StepSetGo’s hybrid model’s execution but did agree that hybrid is the future of the fitness industry.
He said, “Hybrid is very much the future. The lockdown saw a large chunk of new audiences who had every excuse in the book to not commit to a fitness regimen, suddenly taking the leap due to heightened accessibility (made possible through the virtual fitness boom) and time availability.”
However, to sustain this surge in interest, Ghatge said that the fitness apps will have to evolve through collaborations that give more choice to the user.
“For most people, convenience is key when it comes to fitness. So, the solution will need to be user-centric, giving them the option of maximum flexibility when it comes to making a fitness choice. For something like this, what could be a possibility is two-three (offline and online) different players coming together to provide this holistic solution. One thing is for sure, each player must have a focused offering. So when multiple players do come together, each one can set a defining functionality that compliments the other, which will inevitably help with growth, acquisition and carving a niche for themselves,” said Ghatge.
StepSetGo’s vision is to create an all-encompassing tracking ecosystem that goes well beyond just walking.
Elaborating on his goals, Ghatge said, “It's our ambition to be able to map and monitor all physical activity our current and potential users could possibly explore. So whether it's a home workout, kickboxing class at your local fitness centre or Yoga in the park, StepSetGo will be able to track, monitor and reward you for progress made.”
StepSetGo would also focus on improving its technology, which Ghatge says, is the app’s core strength.
“We are working on using the front camera to authenticate different movements. Internationally we have seen some innovative fitness products like the game on the Nintendo Switch called the Ring Fit Adventure or The Mirror to name a few. We will be moving towards trying to integrate more and more fun and engaging options to motivate people to stick to their fitness goals. And more importantly, you can be sure that all these activities will be gamified and socially integrated inside the StepSetGo ecosystem to keep users motivated,” shared Ghatge.
StepSetGo is also looking to close its first investment round and push out all the features that are currently in development.
Ghatge said, “These developments will let users record and compete on a lot of other metrics apart from walking. Apart from that, our vision to create an all-encompassing fitness monitoring, tracking and rewarding ecosystem so that no matter what the fitness requirement of a user, StepSetGo will provide a solution and reward that activity.
With COVID, as the whole country became more health-conscious and ‘immunity’ became the talk of town, StepSetGo is aiming to grow its revenue by 10x in 2021.
“Looking at the market and the enthusiasm towards fitness, we aim to grow by 10x,” Ghatge signed off.