3 Lessons on How to Retail Products in your Health Club

As a former gym owner I was fortunate enough to get an education from the school of hard knocks on how to sell ancillary items in my gym to increase my overall revenue. Owning a 24 hour key card facility added a layer of uncertain security with inventory but after we got past that there was even more we had to learn about being a retailer.

In your gym, you have to consider it like a retail store front. Anyone that enters is an opportunity to provide an additional product or service that they most likely are already buying somewhere else or online. The nice part about owning or operating a health club is that it’s a location that they can’t otherwise experience the benefits online.

That being said, this should open your club up to all kinds of retail possibilities.
At first we brought in powdered nutritional products (protein, pre workout, creatine, etc.) and pills (multivitamins, fish oils, etc). With a membership count of only 500 active members these items did not fly off the shelves.

Lesson Learned: not everyone will take these products, if you’re lucky 20% will try and 10% will take on a reoccurring basis. Most of these product come in a 30 day supply so plan your inventory accordingly and remember they have expiration dates.

The second category we explored was the RTD (ready to drink) drink cooler option. This was a success! The only challenges we faced was getting the drinks at a competitive price because our orders were on the smaller side and managing the inventory. In the evenings we used cash box and we sold drinks after hours. On the rare occasion our inventory didn’t match up and it took our managers extra time to reconcile the payments.

Lesson Learned: we should have offered cold drinks from the start and found proper inventory management systems.

Finally, we dabbled in gym accessories, shirts, headphones, shaker bottles, exercise bands, watches, shoes and shoe inserts. These we could normally buy at very aggressive prices and make a ton. Plus, if bought correctly, would never go out of style. It was a safe bet to inventory as it would always sell.

Lesson Learned: The one size fits all model is the way to go. Any clothing without dates written on them (ex. Fun Run July 4th 2016) only sell that day and never after. Lastly, keep it timeless, certain color trends don’t last very long, be sure to stay within the neutral zones especially if you are going to stock inventory.

The last tip is the power of suggestion. Just because you have product sitting in plain site doesn’t mean it will sell itself. Have your staff continually talk about what’s available and make precise recommendations for specific members. If executed systematically, you can add thousands to your bottom line every month.

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