FIBO USA FOCUS: ECHELON
BUILDING A CONNECTION
February 15, 2020
Echelon is using technology to create AN experience to fit today’s exercise demands.
Modern life is all about connectivity — at work, at home, when out with friends and, increasingly, in the gym. It is that connection that Echelon CEO Lou Lentine goes to the office every day to accomplish with the equipment and technology company he heads.
“At Echelon we focus on inclusivity and accessibility for everyone,” Lentine says, explaining that the company offers an at-home connected experience with a wide range of workouts, from cycling to yoga to Tae Bo, all from professional instructors.
“Our consumer is looking for fitness at their fingertips and our commercial grade lines allow for the connected experience, wherever their life takes them,” he continues. “While our product portfolio continues to grow, our commitment to affordability and achievability remains central to our DNA.”
Echelon is built on the understanding that many commercial fitness centers may not have the resources to offer in-person instruction to every member 24/7. Thus the Echelon line of commercial products with live and on-demand coaching and instruction are proving to be an excellent supplement for these commercial facilities.
“We started from the belief that we could fill a void in the fitness market – that convergence of premium equipment and content that is approachable to a broader swath of consumers commercially and residentially – and our rapid success has proven this to be true,” Lentine says.
Fitness, Affordability, Connection
It is part of Lentine’s mission to make products that reach out to all levels of the fitness community — and to make those products affordable. Again, for him it comes down to connectivity.
“Our members are never on their own,” Lentine explains, since its live streaming and On-Demand programs provide a unique sense of community. This tight-knit community allows instructors and members to communicate and share inspiration on a one-on-one level and the company encourages suggestions, motivation and selfies from members to other members.
It is important to Lentine that Echelon service its target customers who are, as he puts it, “real people.” They are people looking for products that work for a full range of body types. In addition, its live, streaming and On-Demand content has something for everyone — beginner, intermediate and advanced.
“Our products are so convenient that anyone can use them at any time of the day,” he points out, so whether they are a stay-at-home parent, a medical professional working the night shift or a college student, Echelon can help them achieve their fitness goals.
The Echelon difference is actually rather straightforward: It provides state-of-the-art fitness equipment, content and a community experience at half the cost of the industry average. To achieve this it offers multiple modalities within the Connected Fitness category.
“Echelon offers fitness for everyone because we have that unique combination of a range of product offerings, live, streaming and on-demand fitness, high-quality technology and design and much more affordable pricing for residential and commercial properties than well-known competitors,” says Lentine. In addition, its instructors come from a variety of backgrounds, so it is easy for its members to build a connection with them and the brand.
Lentine likes to bill Echelon as a one-stop shop for bikes, rowers, treadmills and on- and off-line content led by some of the biggest names in the industry. Echelon also boasts exclusive partnerships with industry heavyweights such as Billy Blanks, Denise Austin and Katie Austin.
In order to reach this broad target market, Echelon products are distributed through several different channels — directly to consumers through its website; at several large national retailers; at regional specialty fitness retailers; commercially through regional authorized distributors; and directly to large national health club chains.
“Our mission as a company from the start was to offer inclusive fitness, which means that we don’t see the value in limiting access to anyone who wants to make a positive effect in their lives through fitness,” he continues.
The Home-Studio Connection
The debate in the fitness business in 2020 is the competition between the growing in-home fitness segment and the traditional studio/club fitness businesses. Lentine wants Echelon to exist in both markets.
“We are pleased to offer both in harmony,” Lentine says, pointing out that its studios in Chattanooga, TN, and Miami are the heart of its production and product development. Or, as he puts it, “This is where all of the live magic happens.”
Local members are able to attend live classes that fit their schedule, but so can its global riders. Echelon streams every ride so Cindy in San Diego can be in class the same time Brian from Chattanooga attends one live. And if they missed one of the several daily live classes, they can upload it from the on-demand section and take it on their own time, in the comfort of their own home, or even a second time to beat their past scores.
The bikes in the studio are the same as what consumers ride at home. Riders and instructors are able to see their stats on screen. Members can also mirror their apps to a smart TV for an experience that feels as if they are live in studio.
All of this is part of the larger fitness industry dynamic in 2020 and club owners need to be on top of these trends to survive and thrive as the industry merges technology and fitness like never before. The fitness industry is estimated at $30 billion a year and analysts suggest it is growing at approximately five percent per year. Technology – and the ability to evolve to provide the unique experience that the consumer is craving – is at the heart of that growth.
It is important to Lentine that this is where Echelon fits in. “We are providing a connected fitness experience that is accessible to everyone,” Lentine says. “The fitness industry is craving something new. New trends and products are key elements in keeping exercisers motivated and thus fueling growth. We are proud that Echelon is at the front edge of the strong growth trend toward connected fitness.”
This connection to the future is why Lentine is so optimistic about not only Echelon’s future, but of the entire industry’s as well.
“Echelon has exploded since it came onto the scene with our mission of inclusivity and fitness for everyone and our vision is to continue creating high-quality products, at an affordable price, that connect us no matter where we are in the world,” he says. Its developers and creators are working to create a united line where members only need one subscription to access each product and can conveniently use one app for all their workout needs.
“As we grow and team up with other brands and personalities our consumers already know and trust, we know we can take connected home fitness technology across the world to where it’s never been before.”
The Technology Revolution
Technology has allowed users to bring fitness into the comfort of their own home and has certainly made working out more accessible. And since not everyone has easy access to professional gym facilities or content – or has the time to take advantage of all that is out there – this technology has made the world closer in many ways.
“The same holds true in fitness,” says Echelon CEO Lou Lentine. “The connected fitness Echelon offers lets people work out when and where is best for them. Our focus is on inclusivity and accessibility for everybody.”
This same technology has allowed its members to create social media groups to discuss classes and their journey.
“We love that people have welcomed us into their homes and technology has allowed us to be a part of their journey,” he adds.
And for those that are fortunate enough to have access to a fitness center, technology has allowed exercisers to gain knowledge and information to improve their fitness journey.
“This has empowered people to feel confident that they are exercising correctly,” Lentine continues. “That empowerment leads to improved results and increased desire to keep chasing goals.”
The company’s social media efforts take this connectivity to an even higher level. Echelon uses social media – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – to keep its community up to date on new classes, products and any news happening at the company.
It began with Connect Smart Bikes, expanded to the Reflect Touch-Screen Workout Mirror and the Echelon Row rowing machines and is heading into the world of Echelon treadmills. Today Echelon is a growing fitness equipment and technology company that is taking the at-home fitness experience to new heights by offering high-tech fitness equipment, personalized workouts and an online community at a reasonable cost to both the consumer and commercial market.
Its products today are distributed through mass retail, sporting goods, membership retailers and online, while its commercial grade line of products is sold to clubs, studios, hospitality and multi-family properties. It all adds up to a business built on the ever-increasing trend of home workouts facilitated by technology.