This is the first in a series of blogs on the topic of Building a Lucrative Retail Business for your Gym, Academy, or School. Adding retail services to your gym can elevate your business by adding to the bottom line, and providing students with the equipment they need to be successful in their training.
The first step to building a retail business is understanding who your customers are and what “problem” are you going to solve for them.
Knowing who your customers are is critical to your success. Your customers are your students. You have two types: new students and existing students. The problems you are solving for them:
- What equipment do I need to learn this sport? Or to improve my skills?
- Where do I buy it?
New students are unsure of what they need to buy to participate in MMA sports. They will not be very knowledgeable about the gear they need to learn the sport. They will be looking to you for advice and you must be prepared to provide them with the information.
Existing students are more confident about what they want for gear. They have more knowledge about products and brands. They have learned about other places to buy the equipment they want. And probably most important, they are ready to upgrade their equipment because they have progressed in their training and probably have outgrown their current equipment.
When choosing products for new students, SAFETY should be the main factor. A safe healthy student stays a student. Never sacrifice quality for price! New students are generally younger and it is important to protect their hands, their head and the rest of their body from injury. Existing students have gained knowledge and experience and are ready to upgrade their equipment.
Having products in your gym, school or academy available to purchase by your students is the best way to ensure the equipment your students are using is meeting your standards for safety. Also, it can be a great way to generate additional revenue.
This creates several opportunities for your gym.
Opportunity #1 – Develop a list of Mandatory or Preferred Products for each class taught in your school, academy, or gym. Then make it easy for them to buy them by having them available for purchase in your gym.
Opportunity #2 – Provide new students with a list of the equipment they need to learn safely, and include those products bundled as part of the registration cost. This makes it easy for your students and their parents and you are guaranteed they will have the right equipment. During the enrollment process, present them with the items, and explain each piece to them.
Opportunity #3 – Existing or returning students are probably looking to upgrade their equipment. Having the next level of equipment available to purchase can build loyalty to you and your gym.
Choosing the right vendor(s) who have the products you want your students to use is key. When selecting your vendor, consider the following in making that decision.
- Quality – Do the products meet the needs of the student for safety, comfort, and durability? (Cheap products that constantly need replacing will cost money and time, and possibly students.)
- Inventory – Does your vendor have the products in stock when you need them? Just as you need to have the products available for your students when they want them, your vendor needs to have products available when you need them. Generally having six weeks of inventory in stock is a good rule of thumb for general stock items.
- Minimums – Some vendors will have an initial minimum order quantity (MOQ), some will require a MOQ for every order, and some will offer no required minimums. For stock items, no minimums is the easiest entry point and allows for versatility and testing of the products viability with your students.
- Ordering – Find a vendor that will let you order the way you like to order. For stock items, being able to order 24/7 online from wherever you are is the easiest option. If you do have questions or need custom items, is there an account representative that is easy to get a hold of for help?
- One Stop – You want to limit the number of vendors you need to work with. It is easier to work with 1 or 2 vendors that will supply you with everything you need, then it is working with 5 or 6 vendors.
- Shipping – The cost of shipping needs to be considered as it adds to the costs of goods. Paying shipping costs with one vendor is much cheaper than paying shipping costs from five vendors.
- Production Time – If you are ordering custom products you need to know how long it will take them to produce, pack, and ship your order.
The next post will continue the discussion of products. This will include the types of products, margin vs. markup, ordering, and testing new products.
A healthy student, stays a student
– Dan LaSavage