Do you have a pro shop in your facility? If not, have you seriously considered it? Dedicating even a small space in your facility to a pro shop can provide new opportunities and profits while also building a better relationship with your customers.
Steps to Opening a Pro Shop in Your Facility
First of all, your facility has to have the space to properly display merchandise. Most facilities that don’t have a pro shop say they just don’t have the space, but it really doesn’t take as much room as you would think.
Second, you will need someone to operate the pro shop and keep it stocked and cleaned. And yes, that might have to be you. Finally, will have to do your homework to determine what items you want to sell (or more importantly, what items your customer base will be most likely to purchase).
Acquiring the Right Products
Don’t try to make product decisions on your own. Meet with your trainers and ask them what they think? Talk with a few of your students to see what they would be interested in purchasing. Most students are very loyal to their gym or dojo and would rather purchase from you rather than somewhere else.
Once you determine the product mix, you need to do more homework on which suppliers to purchase from. Most successful pro shops offer standard items like training gloves, shin guards, shorts, t-shirts, rash guards and mouthpieces.
When talking to potential product suppliers, make sure you ask them things like:
- How quickly can you get products to me when I order?
- Do you have minimum orders?
- Do you offer any marketing help like point-of-purchase displays or signage?
Consider Selling Gear Packages
Many facilities that have highly successful pro shops have found that selling certain gear packages works the best. This creates the appearance of high value to your students while helping you move more inventory.
Some of the gear packages you can consider selling are:
- New Member Packages: many new members will likely need a lot of gear before getting started.
- Stand-Up Packages: including gloves, a mouth guard, training pads and a t-shirt with your logo.
- Grappling Packages: including a GI, rash guard and t-shirt with your logo.
Brand Your Gear with Logos
T-shirts with your logo on them should be a major selling item. Some facilities require students to wear a t-shirt (or other gear depending on the class) with their logo for all classes. Your students will want to wear them not only when coming in to train, but also around town. The same goes for hats, sweatpants, sweatshirts and gym bags, all of which will have your logo on them! This provides your facility with a great source of exposure and advertising.
Making Your Pro Shop a Success
Yes, your students can purchase gear at large, big box retail stores (probably for less than you will sell it), but they can’t compete with your facility on product knowledge and customer service!
Selling the right gear at your pro shop is all about providing superior service and stocking products that your students will need to get the most out of their training. They obviously trust you to deliver high-quality training, and well-stocked pro shop will increase that trust and add to your bottom line.
Trust is Key
Building trust with new and current members is one of the most important things a gym or dojo leader can do. One of the things that you can do to greatly increase that trust is providing your students with a safe, well-equipped gym. At Zebra, we sell equipment like heavy bags and bag racks used by some of the world’s best training facilities, and it could be just the thing that you need to build a better gym.