Adding gym retail and merchandise to your facility is a great way to increase your bottom line and add a sense of convenience for your customers. There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and forgetting something crucial. Get into the mindset of your members and offer the right products. As we have discussed before, selling merchandise is also a great way to add additional revenue streams to your gym.
From earbuds and water bottles to yoga mats and leggings, gyms can make a good portion of profit from selling products. The global sportswear market is booming and expected to reach $108.7 billion by the end of 2025. That’s just sportswear alone without considering electronics, equipment, or branded merchandise. In this article, we will discuss why you should start selling products at your gym, what to sell, and where to start.
Why Should You Sell Products in Your Gym?
It takes a lot of time and effort to teach classes, run a successful business, manage staff, and build relationships with customers. Do you really need to sell retail products on top of that? Selling gym retail is easier than you might think, and once the product is on the floor, most of the work is already done. If you’re still not convinced whether to start offering retail, here are three reasons why you should.
Increase Your Revenue
You’re passionate about fitness but never forget that you’re running a business. One of the top reasons to sell products is to increase your revenue. To remain relevant, your business needs to be profitable. By selling retail products, you’re providing your customers with an additional service and more value. The amount of time and money they spend during one visit can increase significantly.
Strengthen Your Fitness Community
The community in your gym is essential for retaining members and keeping them engaged. There are different ways to strengthen your community, and selling retail is one of them. Members love to chat about their favorite protein bars or pair of leggings. By providing easy access to them, they can feel like they belong and pick up recommended products.
You Are an Expert
You are an expert in sports and fitness. You know what’s good and bad for the body. Members go to your gym to learn from an expert and how to exercise effectively to help them meet their goals. With the addition of gym retail, you can give members advice directly about the products that will be best for them and sell them straight from your gym.
4 Products to Sell at Your Gym
When it comes to deciding what to sell at your gym, there are a lot of options. Think about your members and what they already wear or use. They are your target audience, and what you sell should be helping your members. Gym retail can become time-consuming and a bit of a headache if you’re constantly pushing products that are irrelevant and not suitable for your members.
Between sportswear and athleisure wear, there’s a massive demand for fitness clothing. Many consumers are already swapping denim for yoga pants. If you run a yoga studio, then the natural step is to sell yoga apparel. However, if you manage a 24-hour gym, it may be more focused on selling own-brand gym shorts and breathable t-shirts.
Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand, and selling nutrition-related products is another way you can help your members achieve the best results. Smaller items like protein bars are perfect for positioning on the front desk and take up little room. You also have the option to expand into protein shakes, protein powder, and vitamins and supplements.
Health and Beauty
Health and beauty products are another area to focus on when considering gym retail. This might include shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, reusable water bottles, hair ties, or a healthy recipe book. This could make up a small part of your gym retail and again, is entirely dependent on your clientele.
Members visiting your gym are usually looking to either improve fitness or just blow off some steam. Selling items that help them to achieve this is a fantastic way to position yourself as an expert. If you’re a boxing gym, then selling boxing gloves and wraps is very relevant and convenient for your members.
7 Tips for Selling Gym Retail the Right Way
Thousands of gym owners are already selling retail items to increase their revenue. Like any other part of your business, your gym retail needs to be carefully planned out and implemented. Choose products that seamlessly align with your members’ goals and enhance their performance and fitness.
Sell What You Believe In
You are the expert in your field, and as an expert, everything you sell comes with an endorsement from you. You are telling your members that the product is the best and will help them achieve their goals. It’s so important to sell what you believe in. If you believe in a product, then you’ll probably be using it, which is a great way to promote the product in the first place. Don’t just choose any product; make sure to evaluate the brand.
If you’re selling nutrition items like protein shakes or bars, screen the nutrition label. You want to choose brands that will help you be as successful as possible, that have a reputation for excellent customer service and make high-quality products. For some inspiration, listen to Episode 15 of The Fitness Founders Podcast How I Won Asia’s Gym of The Year. In this episode, Jack Thomas, founder and CEO of BASE, a boutique fitness studio based in Bangkok discusses the commercial benefits of having a community
“You hear the word community a lot. It is kind of like a bit of a buzz word but you do need to do things to help to build that. Our coaches hang around at BASE even when they don’t have any sessions. They are joining classes. We do events outside of BASE as well. These things just sort of helped sort of naturally have that sense of community”.
What Will be Popular?
To answer this question, you need to refer to your customer and audience research. As a gym owner, you probably know the type of people that visit your gym and what they like or dislike. You want to choose products that are relevant to your members, which will make their lives easier, and that will be popular. If you have a few different customer personas, you may want to go ahead and target a specific market. For example, sports bras for women and protein powders for performance athletes.
If your clients have forgotten something essential to their workout, they won’t have to make a round trip to pick it up anymore. By providing convenient, relevant, and helpful products, they are sure to be a hit with your members. Research and planning have their place in all areas of business. So make sure to fully understand your gym retail model and understand why you are choosing to sell certain items.
Start With Limited Stock
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself but begin by deciding on a few select brands that you believe in and think your clients will love. Start with a limited stock so that you can test the waters and gauge the demand. Having stagnant stock lying around is a waste of money. The idea is that your gym retail increases revenue but doesn’t take up your whole time. By having minimal stock, it will be easier to manage, and you can introduce new items along the way that you feel will do well.
Keep on top of your stock and inventory management. This is key to running a successful and profitable gym retail element to your business. If you’re unsure where to start, vending machines have a high markup and are incredibly convenient to your members. Consider stocking the vending machine with protein bars or power drinks. This also takes out the need for a staff member to handle the payment, making an immediate effect on your bottom line.
Make it Visible and Easy to Purchase
At a supermarket, the products that sell the most are those that are positioned well. Product placement can be very influential to buyers, and it makes sense that the more visible the product, the higher the sales are likely to be. In order to purchase something, people need to be able to see it clearly. Every gym setup can be different, but one thing that should be the same is that retail items are visible.
Wherever your customer is likely to be coming and going the most is the perfect place to position items. This might be around your front desk or in your lobby where you greet members when they come in. As well as making it easy to see, it also needs to be easy to purchase. How easy it is to buy your products will affect how many you sell. Simplify the payment process as much as possible, making it convenient to make a payment. This will be dependent on your customer base; they may want to add it to their monthly payment, use Apple Pay, or pay with cash.
Promote and Spread the Word
Market your gym retail as you would your entire business. You’ve done your research and chosen the perfect products that you think your members will love. It’s time to get the word out there and promote your products. Think back to the last time you bought a new product, did you hear about it from a friend, see it on Instagram, or get a free sample? In the beginning, one of the easiest ways to successfully sell your new product is to talk it up.
Through word-of-mouth marketing, your social media platforms, and your website, you have the channels to promote your retail items. With items like protein bars, you can offer free samples as a way to taste before you buy. Taste is a significant influence when purchasing, and if something is delicious, your members won’t be able to resist buying more. We’ve put together proven marketing strategies you can apply to your business in our marketing guide for the modern fitness founder.
Run a Cost Analysis
The whole point of selling products at your gym is to increase revenue. Run a cost analysis and make sure that the items you’re selling are making a profit. If you’re not making a profit, then you need to re-evaluate your pricing. Your analysis should tell you how profitable your retail business should be. This is something that you can update as you change products and introduce new items.
To increase business profitability, and have a better understanding of your finances, check out these excellent reads:
- Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential by Greg Crabtree and Beverly Blair Harzog – this no-frills guide takes the mystery out of small business finance
- Profit First A Simple System to Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz – this one is all about using a simple accounting system to transform your business.
Price it Right
Several factors can influence your gym’s bottom line, and that includes appropriately priced items that will maximize sales. There are several methods that can come into pricing an item correctly. The best price comes from looking at the cost of the item, your desired profit margins, and how attractive it is to the customers. Here are some of the top pricing strategies you can use to determine the price of your gym retail products:
- Markup Pricing. The markup percentage is calculated by dividing the markup price by the retail price. For example, if your markup is $20 and you sell the item for $40, that’s a 50% markup price. Keep your markup high enough so you can offer price reductions in sales and still make a profit.
- Keystone Pricing. The basis of this pricing strategy is charging double what you paid for it. This will help you keep on top of your profits and increase revenue.
- Competitive Pricing. Generally, consumers like to shop around to make sure they get the best deal. Consider pricing just below the competition or even pricing above the competition if your facility is exclusive, and you can justify the higher price.
Selling retail products at your gym is a fantastic way to add an additional stream of revenue and boost your bottom line. Extending your gym’s business model into retail can not only maximize your profits but also help to strengthen your gym community and keep your members engaged.