What is the best pricing model for a marketplace that delivers offline services that won't heavily impact the sales process?

At FitnessSpot, we assist the users to find a qualified personal trainers in their neighborhood. Since no transaction happens on our site once they user/trainer get connected, it sounds realistic to charge the listing owners a monthly fee. However, that affects the new listing acquisitions. I am wondering what other pricing models can be used which has less impact on the sales process?


There are numerous possibilities. What was the original strategy outlined in your business model?

Before even considering pricing you should understand that you need a value proposition. You also need to target a market segment with whom you are going to develop relationships. You also should be concerned about getting some engagements the experience your online service provides. Price is usually a product of all of the above understanding that price is relative to the value you offer. The more value that is perceived the more someone is willing to pay for your services.

If your service is in the Uber type category, peer to peer, you could charge for the initial session but then you will most probably lose out if a recurring sessions are booked between the trainer and customer.

To give you more options I would require a better understanding of your business and your vision. I also how and what you are offering to better understand how your target market will respond.

I could be available to discuss this next.

Answered 8 years ago

You have two ways you can go: the users pay more, or the trainers pay more. So initially try to understand, what they are willing to pay for.

Users would be willing to pay for convenience - good trainers without having to shop around. Could you make some kind of rating system of the trainers, user driven? Or provide interesting content for fitness users, blogging, fora or something similar?

In all likelihood, users would not pay a fee to get a trainer. But if you could make them come back, and you could document that increased traffic for the trainers, they would be willing to pay more, as they would get access to more prospective clients.

For the trainers, you could give them access to blogging or facilitating in discussions to get closer user interactions. Or you could make a SaaS-like pricing model, where you limit the number of clients each trainer can get depending on their monthly fee. If you know, how many clients you provide for each trainer, you know the value you create, and you can convert that to a fixed cost every month instead of you getting money pr. transaction. But you would have to be able to document the number of prospective clients, that each trainer can expect to make new trainers sign on.

Feel free to set up a call, if you want to discuss these ideas further - or we could come up with new ones. There are many ways to go on this.

Best regards
Kenneth Wolstrup

Answered 8 years ago

Great question! I assume the listing owners (the folks paying the monthly fee) are the trainers? Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

1) I googled FitnessSpot, and found a large number of results. I'm not sure if FS is a website, or a local club in Michigan, a studio in NYC, or something else entirely. A little SEO will go a long way; along with some brand building activities. Get your name out there in multiple channels, make sure you dominate the search results.

2) I'm assuming you're a startup. At this stage, the name of the game is users. If you have a large user base, trainers will pay to get access to them. If you a lot of trainers, users can still use the phone book or google to find them. The key is user enrollment; and that's driven by traffic.

3) Is your value as a matchmaking service for trainers and their clients? That seems like a one and done activity- client meets trainer, trainer meets client; they both leave the site. There are a couple of options here- you can continue down this track, which is fine; but looking for either trainer or client to be a long-term revenue stream (at best). In this case, I would recommend exploring other revenue streams - maybe adsense, maybe affiliate marketing. In any event, the name of the game here is still traffic & brand awareness. Think of a comparison to a dating website- by its very nature, if you are doing a good job, your users will fall out of the marketplace.
You could also look to drive more engaged users. This is likely my recommendation (without knowing many specifics). In this case, you'll need to think of other value you provide. Is it tips & tricks, nutritional information, exercise of the day, etc.? The point is that you would need a much smaller user base to drive the same amount of traffic. Your efforts can be less focused on relentlessly attracting new users, and more focused on building an online community. It's under this model that you'd be more likely to monetize the users/trainers directly; but keep in mind what they're paying for- users will pay for valuable content; trainers will pay for access to the users.

I'd love to discuss this with you in more detail, and better understand if I can help. Please drop me a line at your convenience to chat. Cheers!

Answered 8 years ago

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