Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Increase sales – through line extension and sampling

Is your in-gym store producing the results that you want? Are you getting the activity from the supplements that you sell, that you expect or need for the space they are taking up? Are your members aware of all of the products you have available for them and the benefits they offer? If not, read on for some proven ideas for increasing sales and profits, while bringing more health benefits to your members. For those facilities that are not selling any supplements in their retail stores, please see my articles in January or February on getting started.

Many of you are selling a line of supplements made specifically for your gym or simply a full line of products from a single provider. You have got vitamins, fat burners, carb blockers… every kind of pill or capsule someone might want to swallow. But what about the whole segment of the population that won’t or can’t swallow pills? What about the people that are in doubt that those pills do anything for them. Or the people that don’t see the difference between your pills and the ones at the grocery store? It may be time to augment that line of supplements with some additional items that will capture these segments of your clients that aren’t currently purchasing supplements from you.

I know you may be concerned about cannibalizing the sales of the products that you are already committed to. I know there are many excellent supplement regimens. However, I would like to present some ideas that can increase your overall sales by both offering additional liquid vitamins and by revitalizing interest in your existing line. Just as your members don’t all workout the same way and don’t all have the same goals for their workouts, they also don’t all have the same tastes or needs in supplements. So if you offer them a different solution, you have the opportunity to meet their needs with different products.

Your trainers are already recommending supplements to your members and being their expert advisors on nutrition. Likewise, they know that they can purchase supplements in your store. By offering an additional line of liquid vitamins, you have just expanded your area of expertise that they can rely on you for. Their perception of your vitamin recommendations have just moved up from being “sold your supplements” to having a nutrition expert consult with them on what best fits their needs. This is akin to doctors clustering in medical plazas, providing one-stop-service. Bringing together multiple choices for the consumer into a community, is done in so many settings because it is good for business for everyone in the community. Consumers then, cluster to that location, because they know they have a good chance of finding what they need.

I spoke with Art Druhl of Powerhouse Gyms in Jacksonville, FL today, and he confirmed this strategy. When he added liquid vitamins to his offerings, not only did his total supplement sales go up, but because of his sampling program, sales of his other vitamins went up as well. Upon bringing in the new liquid multi-vitamin, he set up some sampling opportunities for his members. This gave his trainers and sales people the opportunity to remind people of their need for a good multi-vitamin. They realized that they didn’t have to be a heavy lifter or be looking to bulk up, to need some nutritional support. Consequently, the new line took off, as well as sales of the 2 other multi-vitamins he was already selling. In fact, I have just moved from a regional trial with a national fitness chain (which has their own supplement line), to a national contract with them because they experienced the exact same increase.

The criteria that I recommend for adding a line extension like this are these:
1. add something a little different or unique from your other offerings
a. liquids
b. unique delivery methods
2. keep the quality high for all your offerings, don’t bring the standard grocery store fare.
3. look for a company that can provide some good POS materials and support
4. look for a company that will support you with sampling help
5. when shopping liquid vitamins, look for good taste with low sugar, and avoid thick syrupy brands – if people don’t like it they won’t take it.

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