You have a nice studio, talented teachers, and great class participation. Why in the world would you consider taking on the extra work involved in selling retail products? The answer is easy: adding retail will increase revenue at your yoga studio, serve your students, and build value for your community.
Studios that sell retail items bring in an average of 10-20% more revenue than studios that don’t. But the revenue increase can often be higher if the program is run well.
Carrying retail items also provides a convenience for your students. Just think... they have to buy things like water, mats, and work out gear somewhere. By having these items on hand in your studio, you’re saving them a trip to the convenience store or mall. Over several purchases, it works out to be a significant time savings. Now who couldn’t use that?
There’s also a less tangible but equally valuable reason to bring retail items into your studio. To stand out in the crowded yoga market, studio owners need to continue finding ways to add overall value to their students' experience. Providing both essential and non-essential yoga items reinforces your studio’s value in the eyes of your students. Before long, your students will realize you care for their needs in a comprehensive way.
How to Launch A Retail Program
As we mentioned, well-run retail programs make the most money. That means it’s important to be strategic when launching retail sales. Here are some things to consider as you start to plan your program.
Sell What You Believe In
Your students trust you. Every product you sell comes with your implicit endorsement. A good rule of thumb is only to sell something you believe in or are proud to carry. Besides, a great way to jump-start sales is to be seen using the product you just started retailing.
This point also corresponds with Patanjali’s Yama, Satya, or truthfulness. By only stocking things you believe in, you’ll be able to uphold this important principle.
Align With Your Student Demographic
You know your yogis best. To ensure you don’t end up with un-sellable items, consider their interests and habits. If they are hot power-flow yogis, would they be interested in primordial sound meditation resources? Maybe not. But they probably would love ice-cold water and Gaiam Thirsty Towels.
So be thoughtful and err on the cautious side when ordering. To get your ideas flowing, here is a list of things we’ve seen in the best studio retail sections:
- Manduka and Jade Mats
- Bottled water and reusable water containers
- Logo clothing
- Eye pillows
- Essential oils
- Popular yoga clothing like prAna, Gaiam, and Lululemon
Price Your Items Right
Setting the right price for your retail products is critical to your success. Yoga Journal suggests marking clothing up 2 to 2.3 times the wholesale price. However, they caution against marking up books and CDs that high because of competition from retailers like Amazon. While that is a valid concern, the exception would be if you have a teacher-training program and stock the required reading. In that case, the convenience factor would win out, and you could sell the required books at a higher price.
Merchandising and Placement Like a Pro
The next thing you need to take into account is where you’ll set up your retail area. You needed a space that won’t be crowded or congested, while also having good lighting. The items you place at eye level will be those you’re most likely to sell first. Items on high or low shelves aren’t seen as easily, so they will sell more slowly.
Pay Attention to Seasonality of Clothing
Consider seasonality when stocking clothing items. Try to buy a little ahead of the upcoming season, as the major retail stores do. It’s better to start stocking hoodies and wraps in August than in April. Likewise, tanks will sell better in March than in September, for most parts of the country. This may sound obvious, but clearance ranks are usually filled with leftover seasonal clothing.
Make it Easy for Your Students to Buy
The easier you make it for your students to buy from you, the more you’ll sell. Simplify the payment process as much as possible and let your athletes know how to shop with you. Also, develop a system that doesn’t require cash, such as Square. Most people carry a credit card but not as many carry cash.
Start Small and Ramp Up
As with many things in life, it’s better to start your program modestly and ramp up as you get your systems in place. Starting slowly also gives you the chance to make observations and tweak things as needed. For instance, you might feel confident the Manduka water bottles will sell best, only to end up completely surprised that the less expensive water bottles fly off the shelves. So start small, and ramp up.
You opened your studio to share your love of yoga with the community. But in the end, your studio is a business and needs to function like one. Take advantage of the insight provided here, and get your retail program up and running soon. It's one of the best ways to increase revenue at your yoga studio.