ClassPass begins testing variable pricing as it expands beyond studio fitness

On the heels of its $70 million Series C, an expansion to new markets, and a partnership with Blink Fitness, the popular workout subscription service ClassPass is now beginning to experiment with variable pricing. The test was revealed by new ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman, speaking on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF this afternoon.

The idea to try out a virtual currency of sorts came about because ClassPass has been working to extend its business model to go beyond your typical gym class. With its Blink Fitness deal, for example, it added co-memberships – meaning ClassPass subscribers can opt to pay another $15 per month to have a real gym membership. And the company is expanding to include CrossFit locations, group runs, and even team sports, by way of rec leagues, among other things.

“We really started in studio fitness, and now we’re expanding to more types of fitness,” explained¬†Lanman.

With all the different types of workout experiences available, ClassPass’s business model now has to evolve as well.

Right now, you buy an either 3, 5 or 10 class plan on ClassPass which can be used at any of the 8,500 locations in its network. That’s been working well so far – ClassPass recently said it doubled its member base in the past year and has grown to 35 million reservations to date.

“We have really strong product-market fit with a particular type of customer,” said Lanman. “But there’s some people we don’t work great for – like people who want more value for their money,” he admits.

The problem is that whether you take a yoga class at a gym or a Flywheel indoor cycling class (the latter being more expensive), both would cost you one class credit. The solution ClassPass is testing to solve this issue is variable credit currency within the ClassPass system.

In other words, ClassPass users would be able to better control how they want to spend their credits. If they wanted more workouts, they could decide to go to lower cost inventory, less popular classes, or go at times when the class wasn’t typically as full.

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“In these experiments, we’re seeing what would happen if we only charge you half of a class to go to a gym visit, or maybe to an off-peak class,” said Lanman. “It’s cheaper for us to buy it, so we should give the consumer an incentive to try it,” he explained.

That means people could work out more for the same budget – something that might appeal to those who think that a program like ClassPass isn’t affordable enough to meet their needs.

And on the flip side, this variable pricing system would also remove the limitation currently in place on being able to visit your favorite studios multiple times per month. Instead, you’d be able to go as much as you wanted – it would just get a little more expensive the more you want to go.

You might pay a few dollars extra, or pay a class and a half, in terms of credits, to go, the exec said.

This new pricing mechanic could also serve ClassPass as it expands beyond fitness, Lanman added.

“It would be really hard for us to introduce a massage into the current subscription, or going to visit the opera, or taking a language learning class,” he¬†noted.

The company just began testing this pricing model in the last month or so with a subset of users in San Francisco and Chicago, we understand. There’s no formal ETA as to when it will arrive to the broader customer base at this time