Quo Vadis, Fitbit?
Fitbit’s position as an innovative and leading player in the fitness tracker business has become somewhat precarious over the course of the last year:
- Fitbit’s stock lost 50% of its value in 2016.
- Revenue growth declined from triple-digit growth in 2015 to single digit growth in 2016.
- Almost 50% of users stop wearing their Fitbit trackers after only several months.
There are several reasons:
- Smartwatches are competing with fitness trackers.
- Competition on the fitness tracker market has increased.
- Fitness Tracker Market has become saturated.
Fitbit has launched its own smartwatch, the Fitbit Blaze, which is one of the best and best-priced smartwatches on the market. It has not been the breakthrough success that Fitbit had hoped for but it might be the way into a successful future for Fitbit.
However, Fitbit also has to consider the future of its Fitbit tracker devices. One of the great attractions of Fitbit’s trackers is the communication with the Fitbit app. It allows users to exchange their activity metrics with their Fitbit friends and to enter into competitions and challenges with them. This social aspect of Fitbit’s trackers has been a value differentiator from the beginning and has helped Fitbit to outcompete its competitors.
Today, however, it is no longer enough. To revitalize Fitbit’s tracker devices, Fitbit has to offer more functionality to its Fitbit app.
Expanding the Fitbit Ecosystem
Our team of three (Sam Sudberg, Mothusi Thusi and myself) decided to find a future for Fitbit’s trackers. How could we expand the functionality of their trackers and their Fitbit app?
- We knew that we didn’t know the answer either.
- So we got out of the building and talked to users who use fitness trackers.
- To find out about their needs, their problems and their behaviors.
- If we hit upon users’ needs, we’ll uncover new markets for Fitbit.
Insights from User Interviews
- Many long-term Fitbit users are moderately to very active, even athletic individuals.
- A significant minority has moderate to severe health problems that require dietary and calorific restrictions.
- In general, for healthy and not-so-healthy Fitbit users alike, their big concern is food: how to plan healthy and balanced meals while leading a busy life.
- Fitbit users tend to have little time to plan meals and cook meals.
- They worry about consuming too many calories.
- They worry about eating nutritionally unbalanced meals.
- They would like to log their food intake but find it too tedious and time intensive.
- They complained about the food logging component of the Fitbit App, saying that it was not intuitive enough, had too little functionality and that food logging was too cumbersome.
Insights from Discovering Users’ Pain Points
- Fitness and healthy food consumption are two sides of the same coin: taking care of yourself. Users want apps that offer both.
- Fitbit offers Fitness Tracking but does little to help with food consumption.
- Healthy and weight goal tailored food consumption is the culmination of time-intensive and deliberate processes like meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and food logging.
Ideas resulting from Insights
Our research showed that users need help preparing healthy, highly personalized meals tailored to their individual weight goals and their individual health problems.
Expanding the Fitbit Ecosystem
So, how about expanding the Fitbit ecosystem to include an app that receives a plethora of highly specific activity data, weight goal data, body data and health data from the Fitbit app and then uses this data to offer truly custom-tailored recipes and meal plans to Fitbit users?
We decided to call this Fitbit complementary app “Fitmeals.”
Fitmeals can be launched from within Fitbit via its primary nav bar (like Fitbit’s workout app “Fitstar”) or externally.
Partnering with meal ingredient delivery and meal delivery companies
In addition, the app would offer meal ingredient delivery for meal plans and also freshly prepared meal delivery by partnering with third party companies like HelloFresh, BlueApron and Habit.
Dynamic Calorie Budget
Fitmeals would include a dynamic daily calorie budget that adjusts the daily allowance cap of calorie intake according to daily activity levels. Activity levels are tracked automatically (e.g. daily steps via the tracker device) and also manually via the Fitbit app. For example: a user has set her calorie intake to 1,500 per day in order to lose weight. Her daily steps are set to 10,000. If on a given day she walks 20,000 steps, her calorie budget for that specific day would increase by the appropriate number of calories in accordance with her specific metabolism data. If, in addition, she logged a 3 mile run, her daily budget would yet again increase.
Fitmeals would also help users to log calories by including a dynamic calorie logging process. How does this work? A user pulls up a recipe or meal plan custom-tailored to his food profile (including food tolerance info and unloved food info among many other parameters). He prepares the food according to the instructions. Then he is asked if he wants to log the calories now or later. If he chooses to log now, the calories contained in the serving he consumed will be automatically added to his dynamic calorie budget and he sees his dynamic calorie dashboard with a brief animation that shows the increase in consumed calories and the decrease of remaining calories.
If he chooses to log later, the unlogged meal will be saved in his Meal Loglist where he can log the meal later, edit the meal (in case he ate less than one portion) or delete the meal (in case someone else ate it).
Logging will also trigger an update of the calorie dashboard in the Fitbit App so that both apps are always in sync.
Social and Competitive Component: Fitmeals Friends
He can also grant access to his Meal Loglist to his Fitmeals Friends — similar to the Fitbit app. He can challenge his friends to log a certain number of healthy meals per week and send them info about the meals he ate.
It is very important to incorporate this social and competitive aspect into Fitmeals since the Fitbit app has demonstrated how popular this is.
Why? In 2016 Quarter 3, Android dominated the market with a 86.8% share worldwide.
- Direct access to device hardware functionality (camera, accelerometer, gyroscope etc.)
- Statefulness (users remain logged in)
- Easy access
Our research showed that overwhelmingly people use their cellphones to keep track of their fitness and food consumption. A main reason is that fitness and dieting apps are used on the go in many different environments and only rarely from a computer or tablet.
Smartwatches are used mostly for fitness and health tracking purposes at present but not yet for food consumption tracking and food ordering.
In addition, people mostly use their smartphones to order meals or meal ingredients to their homes and offices.
Potential Partner Companies
- A world-wide meal planning and meal ingredient delivery business based in Berlin, Germany.
- Well-established in Europe and in the US.
- Makes millions of deliveries every month.
- Has a vast database of recipes (1,5 million).
- A personalized meal delivery company that delivers freshly prepared, highly customized and locally sourced meals to its customers.
- Currently in beta-test in the Bay Area only.
What’s in it for the partner companies?
- Fitbit will offer HelloFresh and Habit access to its 28 million customers.
- In exchange, Fitbit will receive a percentage of all orders placed from the Fitmeals app with HelloFresh and Habit.
And how would this work from a technical point of view?
- Fitmeals will access HelloFresh’s vast database of 1,5 million recipes and hundreds of continually updated meal plans through HelloFresh’s API (Application Programming Interface).
- Fitmeals pulls in only recipes and meal plans from HelloFresh that tailor with the specific food profile as well as body and health data of individual users. Fitmeals users do not see the entire, unfiltered recipe and meal plan database that HelloFresh shows in its own app.
- Fitmeals pulls in only freshly prepared meals from Habit that tailor with the specific food profile as well as body and health data of individual users.
- Users choose recipes, meal plans, ingredient delivery and meal delivery from within the Fitmeals app but are aware that deliveries come from Fitmeals partners HelloFresh and Habit.
- Once a user places an order, HelloFresh and Habit will access order data through Fitmeal’s API and take care of everything from this point on. Order tracking data can be accessed from Fitmeals app through the partner companies’ APIs.
- Users never leave the Fitmeals app to order from HelloFresh or Habit.
Based on our user interviews and user research, we created two main personas: Josh and Aurora.
Below is a feature comparison between Fitbit’s app and its main competitors Garmin Connect, fossil Q, Apple Health and Samsung Health.
The Fitbit app has many features in the activity, food and water tracking sector. Neither the Fitbit app nor any of the listed competitor apps currently provides meal planning help.
The graph below shows where how Fitbit compares with its main competitors in the areas of cost, fashion and functionality.
Medium Fidelity Wireframes
Below is the Recipe List wireframe:
Below is the Meal View with Ingredients tab selected:
Below is the Meal View with Instructions tab selected:
High Fidelity Mockups
Fitmeals Launch Page:
Below are several screens showing various steps of food profile creation for the first-time user:
Meal View with Ingredients tab selected:
Meal View with Side Nav Drawer opened:
Meal View with Instructions tab selected:
Meal Log screen:
Prototype and User Testing
Our team built a prototype in InVision with the medium fidelity wireframes and did a first round of user testing.
We got a lot of valuable feedback from our users, made small user flow changes and fixed some bugs. Then we built a second prototype from our high fidelity mockups and did a second round of user testing.
We found that users generally found the app useful, easy to use and visually appealing. They were particularly interested in the meal planning and meal ingredient delivery options.
Here is the link to the high fidelity prototype: https://invis.io/MDAQHHXP5
- Validate business idea
- Change Fitbit’s business model from a B2C only company to a B2C and B2B company
- Forge partnerships with meal ingredient delivery companies
- Forge partnerships with meal delivery companies
- Develop new marketing strategy to reflect Fitbit’s market pivot into the healthy food/meal delivery sector
- Roll out Fitmeals early in test areas (metropolitan centers on the east and west coasts) to learn quickly and improve the business idea
- Develop iOS version
- Develop Android tablet version
- Develop desktop app for Mac and PC
- Integrate Fitbit Blaze into Fitmeals so that users can order meals/meal ingredients and log food from their phones
- Develop offline order functionality that sends off completed orders automatically when connected
- Add voice ordering
- Add commenting on recipes, meal plans and deliveries
Our two rounds of user testing showed us that users indeed welcomed the extension of the Fitbit App into the realm of healthy meal planning and delivery.
The proliferation of highly personalized meal ingredient and meal planning apps is also an indication that there is a large market for such apps.
Fitbit has a natural advantage over other companies because it can use its vast amount of user data gathered in its Fitbit app to create extremely user-tailored meal plans and recipe lists.
The data that Fitmeals will be able to access via the Fitbit app include the following categories:
- weight goal management data
- body data
- health data
- calorie consumption data
- water intake data
- activity data
- daily steps data
- sleep data
- location data
The business proposition also seems to have value: Fitbit has 28 million customers who own a Fitbit tracker device. According to our research, around 16 million of them are active users.
How many of the active users would actually place orders via Fitmeals — either meal ingredient delivery orders or meal delivery orders?
Number of Fitmeals orders assuming different percentages of users ordering via Fitmeals:
2%: 320,000 orders
3%: 480,000 orders
4%: 640,000 orders
5%: 800,000 orders
- 2% of all active Fitmeals’ users place 2 orders each per year.
- The average price per order is $50 (this would equate to 4 freshly prepared meals or ingredients for 8 meals).
- Fitbit receives 10% of each order placed.
These 640,000 orders would add up to $32 million revenue. Fitbit would receive $3.2 million.
- 5% of all active Fitmeals’ users place 10 orders each per year.
- The average price per order is $50 (this would equate to four freshly prepared meals or ingredients for 8 meals).
- Fitbit receives 10% of each order placed.
These 1.6 million orders would add up to $80 million revenue. Fitbit would receive $8 million.
How many active Fitbit users would place orders? And how regularly would they place orders? What would the retention rate be? How many users would order just once? How many would order on a regular basis?
All these questions can only be answered in a round of user testing with a MVP Fitmeals app that targets a limited area of the United States with a high percentage of Fitmeals’ target personas, e.g. the Bay Area or New York City.
An additional business incentive for Fitbit would be a potential feedback loop: users who do not have a Fitbit tracker and get to know the Fitmeals app (which can be launched as a standalone app outside of Fitbit’s app) via friends or colleagues and then decide to buy a tracker to make full use of Fitmeals’ functionality.
Also, existing Fitbit tracker users would have an additional incentive to upgrade their device to a higher-end device or to replace a tracker that stopped functioning with a new one.