The wise adage is true: people buy with their eyes. However, in health club retail, buying incentive is more than visual interest alone. Allowing people to touch and feel the products creates a scenario in which they are much more likely to buy.
According to Everyone Active’s Duncan Jefford, when done well, retail can generate more profit per square meter than anywhere else in the gym.
“We generate more than £3m a year from retail,” says Jefford. “The key is to put it in the right place. Many operators put their retail section behind the reception, which is a huge loss. People need to be able to touch and feel the product to drive purchase.”
While he admits that the retail space at his centres can never compete with online retailers, positioning products in the right place can make a massive difference in terms of sales.
“We generate more than £3m a year from retail. The key thing is to put it in the right place” - Duncan Jefford, regional director, Everyone Active
Seems obvious, right? But Duncan says that concerns around theft often prevent a facility from moving their retail to the front of house. But reassuringly, he said that their stock loss is minimal – less than 2 per cent per year.
Another major sales driver is to have a range of quality products available.
“The vast majority of retail sales are for goggles and swimming costumes,” he says. “These are usually distress purchases, made on-site when a member has come for a workout and forgotten a critical piece of kit.
“However, one thing we’re noticing is that people are willing to pay a bit more for a quality product if there’s one available.”
Expanding the appeal of retail to include pop-up shops in partnership with new companies, especially athleisure brands, is also now proving to be a fruitful strategy.
These work well in a larger facility with a little more space. They’re not a permanent fixture, says Jefford, but they keep things fresh and interesting and have proven to give a great return.