CASE STUDY
Orangetheory
VERTICALS
Logistics
Ecommerce
SERVICES
Product Strategy
Product Management
Product Development

When Building Brand Muscle Calls for Custom Ecommerce

Did you know that smells are one of the top reasons women cancel gym memberships? Popular fitness innovator Orangetheory does. The brand’s rabidly loyal members expect an exactingly consistent experience at every Orangetheory location — right down to the smell of the hand soap. When consistency is queen, ordering whatever’s on Amazon just doesn’t cut it. 

Client

Orangetheory Fitness innovates exercise by giving people real-time insight into their cardiovascular performance. Unique, technology-infused workouts motivate people to push their personal best while delivering optimum benefit. With 1+ million active members, Orangetheory is one of the fastest-growing and most beloved fitness industry brands.

Altus Nova helped us define and execute an ecommerce strategy to take control of a key component of our business while allowing our own technology team to stay focused on the core fitness technology that defines us as a business.

Devin Lebrun, VP Partners & Innovations, Orangetheory

Challenge

Orangetheory’s novel and effective approach to working out inspires rabid brand love. The brand is focused on providing a consistent experience — which studio-hopping Orangetheory members expect at each and every location.

But Orangetheory leadership saw that some franchisees were failing their members simply by ordering off-brand studio supplies — think products from gym wipes to hand soaps. Leadership knew inconsistencies like these posed a real risk to member retention.

From compliant studio supplies to special-event wear and premium brands for members, Orangetheory leadership saw a compelling opportunity for custom ecommerce. They hoped to:

  • Show off cool lifestyle and branded merchandise in studios.
  • Offer members an effortless online shopping option.
  • Motivate purchase decisions with easy in-studio pickup.


But even more importantly, Orangetheory leaders knew member retention hinged upon providing a 100% consistent experience at each and every OrangeTheory location. Which boils down to this key question:

How can we keep our 1,350 franchisees from panic-ordering whatever off-brand gym wipes Amazon will deliver tomorrow when they’ve run out 3x faster than usual because it’s Hell Week and these machines won’t wipe themselves?

That’s right. Despite a huge gap in ecommerce experience and infrastructure, Orangetheory leadership envisioned in-house e-commerce that would be more compelling than Amazon. Luckily, Altus Nova knew how to find the way.

Discovery

While Orangetheory’s own developers stayed focused on the core technologies that infuse the brand’s workouts and studios, Altus Nova focused on the franchisees, asking, “How might custom ecommerce keep franchisees from pulling up Amazon and ordering the cheapest, fastest thing to save them from running out of key supplies?”

We found that despite documented compliance guidelines, franchisees struggled with what to buy, when to buy, and how much to buy. Too much guesswork and frequent ordering mistakes threatened the brand experience. And while top performers did better by creating ad-hoc purchase management systems — think scratch pads and spreadsheets — they were still spending too much time on purchasing.

Altus Nova aligned Orangetheory leadership around giving franchisees a 24/7 digital purchasing manager in the form of a custom storefront that advises franchisees across all studio purchasing needs — from gym wipes to merchandise, exercise equipment to wearables, print materials and more.

To win over Amazon, we’d turn every franchisee into an expert purchaser. Rather than pull up Amazon to order reactively when the gym wipes run out, a custom solution would show franchisees how to be proactive based on data. No more emergencies. Lots more compliance.

Solution

Altus Nova knew that Orangetheory’s ecommerce vision would yield measurable benefits for the brand — but moving from having no point of sale access into 1,350 locations around the world to a custom-built platform would pose many challenges.

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Altus Nova proposed a rational crawl-walk-run approach as the quickest path to ROI with the least brand risk. A 5-phase plan would let the company build ecommerce experience and capability while helping franchisees become expert and compliant buyers:

  • Phase 1: Build a scalable, branded ecommerce site that offers valuable purchasing support for franchisees.
  • Phase 2: Fast-follow by adding premium merchandise options and product review capabilities.
  • Phase 3: Upgrade operations with timely drop-ship ordering and return capabilities.
  • Phase 4: Expand into special event merchandise with location-specific planning and inventory management.
  • Phase 5: Extend full ecommerce experience to members, including studio-based attribution and rewards.

With the first phase approved, Altus Nova built Orangetheory Supplies Central. This robust procurement platform was developed upon a BigCommerce foundation as a single storefront that allows franchisees to purchase all the supplies and services needed to operate an Orangetheory studio.

Streamlined purchasing and order management across 12+ suppliers as well as forecasting and customized buying recommendations help even the least experienced franchisees operate like those with most expertise. Proactive buying means always having what you need — and never even thinking of pulling up Amazon.

Orangetheory leadership can now fully leverage collective buying power to reduce product sourcing costs as well as manage supplier performance. Corporate can also monitor studio purchasing compliance to protect the Orangetheory brand experience, and provide members the consistency they count on.

Process

Orangetheory studios know a lot about their members including their gender, size, age, attendance, and workout patterns. Altus Nova’s custom ecommerce solution leverages this data to leapfrog Amazon. OrangeTheory Supplies Central makes expert buying recommendations for franchisees to help each stay 100% brand compliant, keep costs under control, and maintain profitability.

Yes, Amazon offers low prices and next day shipping. But you don’t need next day delivery when you’re proactive, and when your decisions are based on data. And that’s how Orangetheory Supplies Central changes the game.

Can Amazon support franchisee approval processes? Complex monthly re-orders? Can it analyze member data to help franchisees increase the gym wipes just in time for Hell Week, or predict the right size distribution for special event T-shirts based on your most likely buyers? Nope.

From solid insights, Altus Nova was able to prioritize business requirements to build a phase one solution that would win franchisee users without any top-down mandates from Orangetheory leadership.

Method

The key to Orangetheory’s full ecommerce vision was to invest in the right platform from the start. Altus Nova’s objective scoring of vendor capabilities vs Orangetheory capability requirements across Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify Plus, Magento 2.3 and others drove the confident selection of BigCommerce Enterprise Edition for its:

  • Scalable technical architecture to handle orders from millions of buyers
  • Flexible ability to scale, adding studios quickly with low overhead
  • More cost-effective price tag

From there, Altus Nova roadmapped an achievable 5-phase development plan, documenting step-by-step change management, new and legacy application integrations, plus extensions and customizations that would be needed to support franchisee compliance goals AND scale ecommerce out to members over time.

Orangetheory Supplies Central also leverages Virtual Commerce Services (VCS) framework, a fully-managed Altus Nova solution with connectivity, data translation, and compliance all handled in the Azure cloud. This lets the brand maintain a master record of customer, product, order, and shipment data, mitigating vendor lock-in or data silos across international markets.

Experience

Our designers expertly created storefront designs with clear information designs that can grow and scale as the number and types of products offered expands.

To maintain upgradability with the latest and greatest BigCommerce features, OSC’s storefront design leverages a modified Cornerstone base theme developed using BigCommerce’s Stencil CLI running on Node.js runtime environment.

Stencil’s logic-based templates allowed Altus Nova to customize storefront pages efficiently with the templating language, Handlebars.js.

Performance

Orangetheory’s foray into custom ecommerce has been a resounding success. Orangetheory Supplies Central builds the brand by reducing vendor dependence, cutting time wasted on non-revenue generating activities, and driving franchisee compliance to deliver a more consistent member experience every day and at every location.

Today, Orangetheory Supplies Central is a go-to for 600 franchisees and growing, handling half a million dollars worth of orders every month. Altus Nova’s quality development has resulted in zero bugs in 12 months, and extremely low support costs for Orangetheory. (Support since launch (3/2020 = 1% of build cost).

With Altus Nova’s 5-phase roadmap in hand, Orangetheory can extend effortless ecommerce to members in clearly documented phases. The in-house development team is set up for success both today and into the future.

The technology strategy defined by Altus Nova gave us a stepping-stone approach to reliably execute Ecommerce across myriad product lines, customer groups, partners, and suppliers that our global business has to manage. While being entirely self-contained with business strategy, product management, development, and support resources, the Altus Nova team made sure that our stakeholders were in the decision-making process at all times.

Devin Lebrun, VP Partners & Innovations, Orangetheory

Solution Architecture

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Technologies

Design
  • Figma
  • DLS using Material Design foundation
Front End
  • React 16 (custom checkout)
  • Material UI
  • TypeScript
  • Stylelint
Back End

Virtual Commerce Services (VCS) — microservice-based serverless Azure solution using

  • App Service
  • Active Directory
  • Active Directory B2C
  • API Management
  • Compute Functions
  • SQL DB
  • Event Grid
  • Webhooks
  • Data Factory with messaging and notifications using SendGrid
Integration
  • Avalara Avatax (tax management)
  • Avalara CertCapture (tax exemption management)
  • Microsoft Dynamics (payment processing and accounting)
  • Logicbroker (order management, inventory management, and supplier integrations)
  • Amazon Cognito (IdM and SSO)
  • ZenDesk
  • Orangetheory Hub platform
Monitoring + Alerting, Live Ops
  • Azure Application Insights
  • PagerDuty
  • HotJar
  • Google Analytics
  • GTM
Test & Automations
  • TestRail
  • Selenium
  • Azure Test Plans
Deployment

Azure Pipelines

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