Case Study: KX Pilates
KX Pilates is an industry-leading Pilates fitness franchise with more than 95 studios located across Australia, as well as additional locations in New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and China. Recently, we interviewed CEO Selina Bridge to talk about location intelligence, KX’s use of GapMaps, and their expansion plans for the next five years.
What challenges does GapMaps help you solve?
When we are looking at new locations for studios, we need to understand the demographic data in the proposed area. We use GapMaps to understand the common factors involved in our successful studios. And then to evaluate if a potential location is aligned with these factors. GapMaps gives us more confidence to approve or reject a location. Gathering data on population density as well as demographic factors such as gender splits, age, industry professions and household incomes can aid in predicting the potential of a new location.
How do you use GapMaps?
We use GapMaps for planning Network Development in Australia. We don’t sell territories however we look to create ‘non-development zones’ around specific studio locations. GapMaps helps us to see the distances between studios and where potential studios might sit. Likewise, the data helps us to see the potential of a location based on a radius that is relevant to the population density of the area. This data provides an additional and complementary perspective to our Franchise Partner who is also researching the location at a local level.
Does GapMaps help you onboard new franchisees?
In our model, the franchisee will scout the location. GapMaps data helps us reaffirm or challenge the area to ensure the studio location has potential. Whilst we can’t guarantee success we can deter our Franchise Partners from choosing a location if the data does not align with common criteria for success.
GapMaps also helps us provide a clear distance between the existing studios. Our approach is to ensure we question each potential location. “Does this make sense?” “Do we have the data to back this?” We believe supporting our franchisees’ location decisions with data is more active than relying solely on their personal impressions.
We use GapMaps’ demographic data to educate our Franchise Partners at the beginning but also throughout their journey with KX. It is very possible that demographics shift over a five-year term and updated data helps Franchisees to continue to assess the viability of a location.
Is GapMaps significant in the location approval process?
Whilst we can’t guarantee that a site will be successful, we have definitely not approved locations based on the data we see in GapMaps. Sometimes the population isn’t suitable, or large enough. We’re not just selling franchises and chasing the numbers. Our goal isn’t to be the biggest network – we want to have a healthy network of high-performing studios that successfully service the local community. We want a reputation for quality over quantity. If we continuously open up more studios, with no strategic planning – it wouldn’t be fair to our existing franchisees.
Can you provide information about the growth plans of KX using GapMaps?
We have mapped out to grow by an additional 50 locations in Australia over the next 5-6 years. We are at 96 studios in Australia at the moment. We know a significant opportunity still exists in New South Wales, Queensland and even Victoria. We know there is still opportunity because of the demographics we see in the GapMaps platform. And the demographics are always evolving. For us, we are definitely looking to expand, and GapMaps helps us to focus on our target areas. The data provided by GapMaps will significantly contribute to achieving our growth targets.
How many studios do you plan to open per year?
We are opening roughly 10-14 a year. We aim to ensure that our location decisions are supported by data. Furthermore, we provide extensive training and support to our Franchise Partners. To maintain our high expectations around the client experience we need to keep the numbers manageable from a quality perspective.
Can you share your thoughts on what you appreciate about GapMaps?
I like the visualization aspect, which allows me to view maps and data that are relevant to our business needs. It’s great to be able to zoom in and out, and I particularly appreciate being able to examine the data within a specific radius and expand it to a larger area. The data helps our team have objective and informed conversations with franchise partners as they plan their business expansion. There are loads of great functions, such as the ability to turn on and off competitor locations and other businesses in the area. I think that the data diversity and flexibility in the information that can be accessed are really useful.
What is your experience with your Client Services Manager and the overall service provided by GapMaps?
At KX, we really drive home that our franchise partners are our business partners. The only way for us to succeed is to ensure we truly provide genuine and optimal support to them. In order to achieve our goal, it is essential to ensure that we only work with the finest suppliers available. Our suppliers need to be on the journey with us. And I must say our CSM has always been brilliant. She’s very responsive, we get very good client service. It’s important to have a shared understanding with suppliers. It helps to build a better working relationship and a better business. I can say I’ve had a very positive experience with GapMaps.