As a gym owner, some of your top goals include providing quality customer service, helping your members and clients to be successful, and earning revenue that provides opportunities for longevity and growth. Membership dues, personal training fees, and payments for other services are almost always going to be the primary drivers of your revenue, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore some additional options.
There are countless products to sell in your gym that will provide convenience for your members while helping boost your income. In today’s world, businesses find success when they provide a certain experience for their customers. By keeping a supply of regularly used items on hand, you are giving your members the ability to have everything they need for the best experience possible, which will keep them coming back.
Having products on-site gives your members the convenience of being able to purchase something on the spot, whether they forgot a certain item or just want it for their workout that day. It is an option, however, to provide added convenience and the potential for higher sales by selling your products through gym ecommerce software. This shouldn’t take the place of the products you sell at your brick and mortar location, but it can serve as a booster. For gyms using the Exercise.com software platform, this is an easy transition.
While product sales can be very helpful, choosing what to sell is not as simple as picking what you think would be cool to sell. There are plenty of things to keep in mind when choosing your merchandise that will help you maximize the convenience for your customer and add to your bottom line.
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How to Make a Gym Profitable Using Gym Merchandise
The two biggest reasons to sell gym merchandise are to increase revenue and to keep your clients happy. Focusing on the latter, it’s important to remember that your clients are individuals and their needs may differ from the needs of another gym’s clients down the street. While there are a few universal items that serve as tried-and-true top gym retail items, keep these three tips for retailing in your gym in mind prior to building out your list of products to sell in your gym or fitness center:
Consider the Needs of Your Members
If you want to increase your sales, you need to make sure the products on your shelves are in line with what your members will want or need to buy. Would it be awesome to have a full stock of custom running shoes with your gym’s logo on the side? Absolutely. Would it be practical for sales purposes? Not at all.
This is just an example, of course, but it is a good reminder of some considerations you need to have when selecting your merchandise. For starters, not everyone in your gym comes in to run, so a large supply of running shoes wouldn’t make sense. Even among runners, there is normally a good amount of brand loyalty where the runner sticks to his or her favorite shoe.
The number of people who would buy a pair of your gym’s running shoes is small relative to the overall number of members in your facility. This, then, is an example of a product that would not be beneficial for your gym or your members because it does not appeal to a big enough audience.
Consider Your Space to Store and Display Products
When deciding which products to sell in your gym, you want to think about the things that will serve the needs of your members and merchandise that will yield a profit. You should also consider the size of your facility when it comes to the storage and display of your merchandise.
If you have a large facility, that is great. There are likely several different storage rooms where you can find shelves or other units to keep items that are waiting to be sold. You may even have a specific space to use as a shop or at least a larger area to display your merchandise. Smaller facilities, however, may not have these luxuries and should adjust accordingly.
With this in mind, think about the size of the products you want to sell. Smaller items are also easy to purchase in larger quantities because they are normally more cost-effective and they do not require a lot of storage space. Larger or more complex items like shoes, however, may not sell as quickly so storing them or buying them in bulk may not be your best option.
This same notion rings true, even if you conduct your entire business operation online. When trying to come up with fitness products to sell online, you need to think about your storage capacity. Those who are focusing solely on fitness products to sell from home should ask themselves where in their home will they be storing these items? It’s crucial to plan accordingly.
Consider Your Brand
In our previous example about shoes, the product was a poor idea because of the select number of people who would utilize it. One part of that example that is useful for other products, however, is that custom logo.
When your members own an item with your business’s logo, they feel like they are part of your community. It’s a sign that they are proud to belong to your gym and they want to continue to support your business. For people who feel this way, it is an easy decision between purchasing an item that has your logo or a generic version of the same item.
Branded items also are built-in promotional tools. When your members take one of your branded products into a public place outside your gym, other people have the opportunity to see it, ask about your facility, and pursue your services. If selling a product with your logo can help recruit new members while also earning income for you on the initial sale, then you’ve succeeded twice off of the same product.
What Should You Sell in Your Gym?
The specific items you sell will really be up to you and will come from your understanding of the business, but the considerations should remain the same. Choose products that are going to be frequently used by your members, things that will promote your brand, items that are easily stored and displayed, and merchandise that will turn a profit for your business.
There are countless options for you to sell gym merchandise, but following the above principles will help guide your decision. Here are some ideas for products that commonly work well for many different gyms:
Keep Members Motivated With Headphones
Headphones are at the top of this list because they are something used by nearly everyone who walks in your door to work out. Music is motivating for many people and these same people often feel like the quality of their workout isn’t the same if they don’t have the right tunes to pump them up. Keeping headphones in stock, at your gym store, offers a convenient solution for those who don’t want to sweat without their playlist.
The style and quality of the headphones you sell will be up to you, but it is worth considering that most people who make that purchase are doing so in a last resort situation. Most of them already have at least one pair of headphones; they simply forgot them at home on this occasion. With that in mind, selling a high-quality product that costs an arm and leg will likely not result in many purchases and will not do much to increase your revenue because of it.
It is more beneficial to offer headphones that don’t cost much money, for your business or your customers, because they will likely only be used as a back-up plan. People don’t want to spend a lot of money on something they only plan to use once or twice. By giving them an option that gets them through their workout on that day, you are capitalizing on the cost of convenience without spending a lot of your business’s money to do so.
This is also an item that you don’t need to purchase a large amount of. It won’t be in the same demand group as, say, water bottles.
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Keep Members Hydrated With Water Bottles
Yes, your gym probably already has at least a couple of water fountains, located in various places, but many people don’t want to walk over between every set just to hydrate. It is also far more convenient to have your own water or sports drink if you are on a piece of cardio equipment, since leaving to go get a drink might change the landscape of your workout.
A lot of people do choose to bring a water bottle from home but some may not realize the convenience until they’ve already started their workout. Selling water bottles is another way of marketing to a wide range of people who all have the same need. You can even help increase your bottle sales by posting reminders, throughout your facility, about the importance of staying hydrated during exercise and stating what your store is offering.
Water bottles are also a great product to sell retail at your gym because of the potential for promoting your business. When ordering the product, you can choose a company that will place your gym’s logo on the bottle. People who make this purchase from you are likely to also use their water bottle outside of the gym, so having your logo on display is a great way to market after making an initial sale.
Keep Personal Items Safe With Locks
Provided that your gym has a locker room, locks are a great item to keep in your gym retail store because their specific purpose can serve everyone. Your members want the peace of mind in knowing that their personal belongings are safe and will still be there when they finish working out. This security adds to the overall experience of your members and will help them feel confident in coming back.
There are also different ways to sell locks, which offers versatility and greater revenue potential. The most straightforward thing you can do is to sell the lock, give it to your customer, and move on to the next transaction. Other possibilities, however, including renting the lock or even renting the package of a lock and specific locker.
The rental options have nice potential because, rather than receiving money one time and never seeing the lock again, you can earn money month after month and will have the product returned to you at the end of the agreement. You can then put the same item back into use with another customer.
Keep Members Fed With Snacks
There is no need to get super complicated in this arena. Protein bars, powders, or fruit will serve the needs of most people who come to you to buy food. The people who have very specific fitness goals probably have their own supplements, so this is not the group you are marketing toward. Instead, you want to stock your shelves based on the needs of the member majority.
Most people purchase food at a gym because they are either feeling light-headed, forgot to eat, or want to refuel after their workout as they head to their next activity for the day. Keeping simple products in-stock will meet people’s needs without forcing you to offer a full menu or purchase too many different options.
Having simple, protein-based, snacks also gives you the chance to partner with a local nutrition store. They may give you discounted prices because of your partnership, and there is a lot of potential for cross-promotion between the two businesses. This, again, is a great way to promote to potential members while serving the needs of your current ones.
Keep Members Clean With Toiletry Items
A fair number of your members and clients will probably come to your gym either before work or on their lunch break. These people often are short on time and want to avoid another stop so they choose to get ready at your facility rather than go home in between. It is very easy for people in these situations to forget that they ran out of shampoo last time or that they didn’t put toothpaste in their duffle bag.
Keeping full-sized or travel-sized toiletry items on hand for purchase adds convenience, does not cost a lot of money for you, and allows you to make money without charging your members a lot. These are also items that are easy to purchase in any quantity and can be stored in your facility without taking up much space. Having them available to your members adds another layer to the positive experience they have when coming to your gym.
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Keep Members Comfortable With Weightlifting Gloves
As the benefits of strength training have continued coming into the forefront of the fitness industry, more and more people are starting to hit the weights. As they gain strength and are able to increase the amount of weight they lift, many find that the dumbbells or barbells are more difficult to hold onto. You want these people to continue using your gym to the fullest and seeing results, so providing them with a solution like weightlifting gloves is a benefit for all involved.
Lifting gloves are relatively inexpensive, do not take up much space, and have appeal to a fairly large audience. You may want to keep a few different sizes in stock to fit each individual’s hands, but the gloves are otherwise pretty universal.
You also have some built-in marketing ability with your personal training staff. It is part of the trainer’s job to communicate with a client about how they feel during a given exercise. When it comes to weightlifting, trainers have a great opportunity to suggest weightlifting gloves to help with grip or alleviate any pain in the hands.
Wrist wraps and knee sleeves are two additional lifting accessories that are worth considering.
Keep Members Dry With Sweat Towels and Bands
Few things are worse during a workout than having sweat constantly dripping in your eyes during cardio or into your hands during a weightlifting session. It distracts you from the goal you’re working on and can be frustrating when it keeps happening and you can’t do anything about it. As a gym owner, you can help clean up this situation by selling sweat towels or sweatbands.
Now, many gyms already provide sweat towels that are free for members to use, but that doesn’t mean they still wouldn’t sell as a product in your shop. Many people prefer to have their own towel for a variety of reasons. They may have sensitive skin that does not react well to the detergent your facility uses, or they may simply dislike the idea of wiping their face with an item that has been used by countless other people. Whatever the reason is, purchasing a towel for their personal use may work for them.
Sweatbands are also a great option to sell because many people prefer to not even have to stop to wipe their skin with a towel. They may prefer to put a band on their forehead or wrist and just let it do its job until their workout is complete. Sweatbands are very inexpensive, so keeping them in your facility will not break the bank.
Both sweat towels and sweatbands can also be customized if you want your brand to appear on the products. This might not be the most financially beneficial option because these products are not normally used outside of a gym setting; so they would not be seen by outside people who may want to join your gym. With that said, if you are trying to create a more community-minded experience in your gym, logos on these products are an option.
Keep Members On-Brand With Gym Apparel
Selling apparel can be tricky but also worthwhile. The more difficult parts to navigate include deciding which types of apparel to sell and keeping enough different sizes in stock to be available for most people. Your products should be appealing to most members in your gym and priced in a way that allows them to move off the shelves fairly quickly.
It is a good idea to start small. Everyone in your gym wears a shirt, so selling t-shirts is a logical first step. Many people will want to purchase a comfortable shirt to use during workouts. Others may want one to wear when they’re out running errands or doing other daily activities. Either way, starting with a basic tee shirt that has your logo will appeal to a wide range of people. If they sell well, you can expand to quarter zips, tank tops, or sweatshirts.
Hats are also worn by many people, whether in or out of the gym and are easy to store and display. Many baseball cap styles have adjustable sizing in the back, so you do not need to worry about keeping a large stock of them to fit all kinds of different people. Much like shirts, if the baseball caps fly off your shelves, you have the option to move on to other similar styles like visors or winter hats.
Gym Retail Items = Easy Marketing
As we mentioned, product sales will never be your gym’s primary source of income. With that said, you can help create a positive member experience by providing members with convenient items to get them through every workout, or on to a different part of their day. When members feel a positive experience day after day, they talk to their friends and family members about it, which may prompt them to join. These new memberships are the higher profit areas and they come from the experience you created.
Product sales will vary from business to business but the principles apply to all situations. Sell items that your members want while keeping your costs low and your profit margins high. In a gym setting, there is also a promotional element to consider. If you sell items that travel outside of your facility and into the community, such as shirts, hats, or water bottles, it might be worthwhile to have your gym’s logo printed on them for all to see.
It might be extra work to create an in-house shop for your members, but the rewards are worth it. Happy members mean continued membership dues and word-of-mouth promotion, both of which are great for the growth and longevity of your fitness. Help keep your members happy by providing them with convenient products to buy in your gym, and the results will be worth it.
If you are interested in selling products at your gym, request a demo today to see how the Exercise.com software platform can help your business.