There are misconceptions about operating online shopping experiences as a fitness facility. Many think they require too much management, whilst others raise concerns that fulfilling orders be it by post or customer collection is unneeded hassle.
However, these people are forgetting that by owning a gym you already have a captive market. That is to say, you already have access to a number of potential customers who have an interest in health and fitness in the form of your members. Why have these members shop for products through large corporations when they could be supporting the gym that they love so much!
3 Simple Reasons Why Your Club Needs An Online Store
Just in case you weren’t sold at this point, there are 3 really easy ways to justift an online store.
- It’s a simple way to increase your revenue with additional upsells
- It’s an additional source of income from cancelled members as you can advertise a new product to them
- It provides your members with more reasons to stay through membership discounts and incentives
An online store gives you an incredibly powerful way to maximise the value from every single member you have; regardless if they’re a current member or one who hasn’t set foot in the gym for years.
After national lockdowns around the world, the gym industry is hurting for investment. You need to get your business back to where it was pre-COVID. And the sad fact is that for a while, you’re simply not going to attract the same number of members that you did previously, at least for a while.
People are still struggling for money and many are nervous about returning to public areas after such a long stint of isolation. Because of that, you don’t need to grow, you simply need to maximise every single member, so you can make more revenue from what you already have.
And the best part is, it takes no time at all to start.
How To Set Up A Simple Online Store
There are 2 very simple ways to host an online store…
- Host your store on your current website
- Build an external store
How To Host Your Store On Your Gym Website
Whether you run your own website or have a web developer handling it for you, you can add a simple store to most websites with very little fuss.
How you add a store depends entirely on what software you are using to run your website, but bear in mind, this option is the more complicated of the two, so make sure you have a few hours to spare to learn how it all works.
If you are hosting your site on a website builder like Wix or Squarespace, then these site builders both have pre-built online store templates. You simply need to purchase the online store additions for a small price and then you can create a no fuss online store all by yourself.
If you have built your website on a platform like WordPress, then you have a few more options when it comes to starting your store. Simply searching for an online store plugin will bring back hundreds of options, all with their own pros and cons, which can range from free to paid. Our personal recommendation would be the WooCommerce plugin, which is typically accepted as the best option, but you are free to choose when it comes to your own personal needs.
Of course, if you have a web developer, this entire process is made much simpler as you can just ask them to update your site for you.
How To Build An External Store
If you don’t have the technical know-how to build a store on your own site, then an alternative is just to create another site that is focused on just being an online store and linking over to it.
There’s loads of them out there, but one of our personal recommendations would be Shopify. It’s a website builder that is build around online stores, so everything from stock management to payments is already handled on the site.
It’s perfect for complete beginners to set up and is extremely straightforward for beginners to use.
At just a small fee every month to keep a basic Shopify store open, it’s so easy to get your store up and running, get some products on it and then simply add a link to your current gym website.
Discover What Your Members Want To Buy
Getting the store set up is the easy bit. It’s selecting a catalogue of products that appeals to YOUR members is the real challenge. Consider the type of facility you are. If you’re personal trainer focused for instance, then perhaps class gift packs will be popular.
Products that you already sell a lot of in-house might find a wider audience by having a spot on your online store. In theory you be opening up your range of supplements or merchandise to a national audience.
Do you offer bespoke nutrition plans or training programmes? An online store is a great way of managing such sales as the automatic confirmation email when a member purchases these items could contain a link to book the initial consultation. Saving you time, money and organisational headaches!
If your gym contains a real mix of member types, it might be worth putting out a survey to your members to better understand their purchase behaviours. We’ve even written a guide on how to create free and simple surveys for you to start using within minutes.
A Few Additional Online Store Ideas
Just in case you were really interested in having and online store, but need a few more points of inspiration before you get started, here’s a list of a few ideas that our clubs have tried in the past.
- Surplus or Bulk Stock – If you have items in your stock cupboard that have sat for a while, adding them to you online store may help to shift them before that used by date creeps up on you. Alongside this, a lot of items that may be easy for you to get hold of, are not so easy for members to find. One idea is to order in additional stock of popular products and sell them at a wholesale price to your members for the entire pallet or box.
- Christmas Presents – That time of year is on the horizon, so now is a great time to offer your members the opportunity to purchase Christmas presents for their loved ones. Why not bundle together some simple equipment or merchandise and a paid in full gym membership for the month of January.
- Old Equipment – Why give eBay the fees, when you have a captive market of members who may be interested in purchasing your old or unneeded equipment? Your old kettlebell could find a fantastic home with one of your members!
- Training & Nutrition Programmes – Producing a generic training or nutrition programme doesn’t necessarily cost you anything but could have value to a member. You could even allow your trainers to create their own generic programmes and see which proves the most popular amongst your members! Bespoke programmes can then be charged at a premium.
Let Ashbourne Help You Build Your Site
The team at Ashbourne are here to deliver the most complete club management in the world. After 25 years, we know that managing a club is more complex than just collecting your direct debits and calling it a day. We only work with clubs who are invested in growing and building themselves, and we’re ready to join you on that journey.
If you’re interested in taking your club to the next level, then we’re all in. And the best part is, we have services for every aspect of club management, including building and maintaining your club’s website and online store.
If you want to learn more about us and see what we can do for your fitness business, then book a free demo here and we’ll show you around our entire platform, no strings attached.