gym revenue

Beyond Apparel: Six Merchandise Ideas To Increase Gym Revenue

Looking to increase gym revenue? Apparel isn't the only option! Here are six tips for what merchandise to sell and how to make it benefit your gym.

Emily Beers
January 23, 2023
Beyond Apparel: Six Merchandise Ideas To Increase Gym Revenue
Looking to increase gym revenue? Apparel isn't the only option! Here are six tips for what merchandise to sell and how to make it benefit your gym.

If you think of gym revenue streams like the CrossFit pyramid, classes are probably your foundation. For a lot of gyms, apparel is sometimes the only other part of the pyramid. If that’s your gym, how can you expand your pyramid to increase gym revenue?

This whole month, we’ve been talking about additional revenue streams. So if you’re looking for ideas, go and check out The Business Of Fitness blog. The PushPress team is made up of gym owners ourselves. And we’ve been sharing what works and what doesn’t, along with some other helpful tips.

Increase gym revenue with merchandise sales

Today, we’re aiming to help you build more levels into your pyramid. While apparel is a good start, there are a world of other options to explore. Ultimately though, the ROI (return on investment) has to be worth the effort.

Remember that time you invested in fish oil because you thought your clients needed more Omega-3? When it sat on the shelves until it expired, you probably thought, ‘Not worth the effort.’

We get it. Our experience shows us it’s possible to increase gym revenue streams outside of classes and apparel. You just need the right strategy.

Six Tips Increase Gym Revenue Streams:

1. Sell Products That Meet Client Needs.

The fish oil is a good example of taking a wild guess about members’ needs. For some gyms, supplements are a substantial revenue stream. For others, not a money-maker at all. The difference may come from the marketing (we’ll talk about that later) but it could also simply come down to member needs.

For instance, if you have a highly-competitive clientele, performance supplements could be a huge hit. On the other hand, if your community is focused on overall wellness, recovery drinks and mobility tools might sell well.

It can be tempting to sell everything from gymnastics grips to Hypervolts. Perhaps you think the more options you have, the more you’ll meet every demand. But this is where it’s worth the effort to figure out exactly what people need.

2. Partner With The Right Companies.

One of the simplest ways to take work off your plate is to let the experts do what they’re good at. Using apparel as an example, we recommend a company like Forever Fierce. The company has been working specifically with affiliate gyms for a decade.

They know the industry - and your needs as a gym owner - well. Check out “Five Steps To Selling Gym Merchandise That Generates Revenue” for more details.

Seek companies that can help you create a plan, using experience from working with other gyms. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel if a successful template already exists.

Secondly, it’s imperative to consider profit margins. Often, more expensive merchandise doesn’t offer great margins for the gym. So there’s not much room to increase gym revenue, even with frequent purchases.

3. Get A Discount On Your First Order.

Many times, you’ll need to trial a product in your gym in order to find out if there’s a demand. For things like recovery drinks, this could be as simple as a sampling event after classes.

Offer a product sampling night at your gym

The “pro” is you get to find out if it’s worth selling the product in your gym. The “con” is that you might be paying for a product that people don’t want.

Therefore, seek out companies that give you an initial incentive to trial their products. Usually, this comes in the form of a first-order discount but there are other options. At the very least, these incentives remove some of the risk. And if the product does well, it becomes one of your staples to increase gym revenue.

For example, Yerbae is a natural energy drink, popular in the CrossFit community. The company is partially owned by CrossFit Games champion Annie Thorisdottir. Yerbae offers a first-order discount to gym owners so members can taste-test the product.

4. Spread The Word.

As obvious as it may sound, marketing is often the most-overlooked step when it comes to merchandise. After all, people won’t buy if they don’t know what you’re selling.

Because there’s always that member who’s been at your gym for two years and says, “I didn’t know you sold those."

Sometimes it’s as simple as informing members about what products you offer. But more often, the key is selling the benefits to the member. Chances are, they don't know why they need creatine or a foam roller unless you outline the benefits.

When you’re going to introduce a new product, let people know it’s coming down the pipeline. PushPress gyms can use the Social Feed in the Members App to announce new products and benefits. Or PushPress Grow lets you send a gym-wide text to get people hyped for new merchandise. Or if you’re placing an apparel pre-order, email an order form and deadline to your community.

Pro Tip: Want to learn more about how PushPress products can help you sell more merchandise? Book a demo with our team today!

5. Make The Process Easy.

Once they’re ready to purchase, it’s crucial to make the buying process simple. It should never take them more than a few clicks at the front desk or in the app to purchase something. When a member signs up for the first time, it’s worth taking the time to show them the steps.

Also, use the PushPress Store Kiosk (in the Members App) for members to purchase products quickly and easily. This way, you can increase gym revenue but take coaches completely out of the equation.

Further, it saves you money on credit card fees, as the kiosk closes payments just once a month. So if someone buys three bottles of water and eight protein bars in one month, you pay just one transaction fee.

Make buying merchandise simple for members

6. Find The Merchandise That Works For Your Gym.

As always, there will be trial and error as you work to find the products your members want. Here are some options to start with:

  • Ready-to-drink beverages: From pre-workout energy to post-workout recovery, drinks generally provide decent margins. Companies like FitAid also offer great incentives for first-time orders.
  • Bottled water: No, you probably won’t increase gym revenue by a substantial amount. But the profit margin on water is likely extremely high.
  • Grab-and-go bars: From carbs to protein bars (e.g. Barebells), find one or two that your members like. And stock the right amount: Overstocking will lead to bars expiring, and not stocking enough will cost you revenue.
  • Unique foods: Every gym owner has that one, unique cafe item that members can’t get enough of. From beef jerky to granola to cookies, if something works, give the people what they want.
  • Supplements: Especially for gyms with competitive athletes, supplements can be a fantastic revenue stream. From HMB to beta alanine, athletes will spend money on supplements. So why not at your gym? Bonus: Talk to companies you partner with about “bundling” packages based on performance goals to sell additional product.
  • Equipment: Depending on margins and demand, selling equipment can be profitable. If athletes are going to purchase jump ropes and grips anyway, you might as well earn some of the revenue.
  • Mobility and recovery tools: Every serious athlete needs to work on mobility and place an emphasis on recovery. From foam rollers to lacrosse balls - and again, depending on margins and demand - you can increase gym revenue in this area.

Pro Tip: Use merchandise to celebrate your community! Although it’s not a direct money-maker, gifts are great for gym member retention. When clients hit milestones, celebrate their achievement with branded water bottles, patches, etc.

In Summary:

As a gym owner, you’re not primarily in the apparel or supplement business. But if members are going to spend money on merchandise, why not at your gym? With the right parameters, it’s worth the time and effort to sell merchandise.

Check the profit margins, do some sampling to gage demand, then spread the word. When you find the right options, you can increase gym revenue and provide members more value.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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