Today's blog post was written by Dave Colina, founder and president of the recovery drink company, formula O2. Dave works with gym owners and retailers alike, and today he shares his advice on how to run a successful retail operation at your gym.
Thousands of gym owners are retailing products to increase revenue at their gym, and even more are considering it. Depending on how well it’s executed, retail can be a time-consuming headache or a low-maintenance profit center. As the founder of formula O2, I see a lot of different retail operations and have noticed a few common themes underlying the successful ones. Here are the top 5 tips I give to gym owners venturing into retail for the first time or looking to revamp their existing operation.
1. Sell Only What You Believe In
At the end of the day, you are directly responsible for the well-being of athletes who trust you. This means you must be selective regarding what products you allow into your gym. Every product you sell comes with an endorsement from you in the eyes of your athletes. Our own rule of thumb at formula O2 is to only sell something we believe in. That’s a pretty good rule of thumb for you, too. Besides, a great way to jumpstart sales is to be seen using the product you just started retailing.
Remember, you can only truly believe in so many products before you start to lose credibility, so keep your portfolio of brands limited to one to three if you’re just starting out, and no more than five to ten if you own a large gym with a diverse membership base.
Also, don't forget to screen brands by their nutrition labels and their customer support. Make sure the brand will help you be successful selling their product at your gym.
2. Spread The Word
Think back to the last time you decided to buy a new brand. Chances are, you either heard about how great it was from a friend, or you got to try it for free before you bought it. I’ll cover that last part in a minute, but first let’s talk about the easiest thing you can do to successfully start selling a new product: talk it up! We all know how to talk about products we love (see tip number 1), so be creative and have fun with it. Just remember, you must do your part to spread the word if you’re going to be successful in retail.
3. Sample The Product For Free
We do this all the time at places like Whole Foods, and it’s the single most effective way to sell product for newer brands. For food/beverage/supplement products, it may make sense to sample before or after a class, so use your discretion. But either way, taste is one of the largest purchase influencers, and people want to try before they buy. Ask your brand partner for tips and supplies to help with this.
4. Make It Visible
At a grocery store, products placed between the average customer’s “eyes to thighs” are the ones that sell most. People need to be able to see something to even consider purchasing it. Your setup will differ from the gym down the street, but one thing should be consistent if you intend to move products: make them visible.
5. Make It Easy To Purchase
The easier you make it for your athletes to purchase stuff from you, the more you’ll sell. Simplify the payment process as much as possible and let your athletes know how they can purchase from you. This next tip is really crucial: develop a system that doesn’t require cash. Most people can be found with a credit card on them, but when it comes to cash we’re often at a loss. Don’t limit purchases of products at your gym to the small subset of the population that still uses those “dollar dollar bills, y’all.”