Selling physical products online can be very difficult. The distractions of online ads and social media are very real. We all jump on our phones with one objective only to find ourselves down an unrelated rabbit hole- a text message that requires a response, an instagram rabbit hole, or "breaking news" that we must check out. Your clients experience the same issues once we decide to shop online.
The reason why apparel is such a foundational component of the affiliate experience is that it truly anchors members to your gym. It is one thing to say I belong to a gym. It is a different thing when you are wearing the shirt to the grocery store and it is part of your wardrobe. We find ourselves in a new environment with all gyms being forced to move online. In the past, I’ve always said I don’t like online stores because of the way most of them are set up. However, they can work if you set them up properly. Here are our steps to ensure that you maximize your online apparel sales.
- Lock in. The online store option is not a "set it and forget it!" tool. It is a tool that requires a herculean effort every day to generate sales. So, when you're offering an online store, your only priority should be promoting and pushing that product. Make sure your staff understand how to buy something. Make sure you've purchased an item yourself so you can get a feel for the check out process.
- Limit the options. You do not need 3 different tanks, 5 different tee colors, and 2 different long sleeve options. We have discussed this before. You are taking a bunch of great ideas and trying to offer too much. Most folks only have a budget for one new gym item a month. As much as clients ask for different colors and styles, if you offer too much in one offering, you won't reach anyone. Offering too many options is "paralyzing" and there are plenty of examples of this phenomenon across various industries and studies. Just google choice paralysis. If you must offer some variety, I would recommend 1 tee and tank style in 2 colors. That would be 4 options for people...and even that feels like too much.
Promote it. A single facebook and instagram post is not promoting or marketing your preorder. Chances are your members did not see that post. Between the newsfeed and timeline algorithms and all of the other micro changes to social media platforms, it is becoming less and less common that business posts find their way organically into their clients social media lives. You need to advertise through all channels: email, text messages, whatever you have in your arsenal for contacting people, you need to utilize it. We came up with a system for doing the marketing for you. You need at least one social media post for every day you are leaving the preorder window open. You can check out those messages here:
- Set a deadline. 365/24/7 store options do not work. Those items simply find their way on a wishlist. Wishlists don’t convert. They are a placeholder for “things I’d like to buy when I have time”. Deadlines spur action. It is ok to have a 7 day preorder window. The people who are most likely to buy will cycle through your messaging within 7 days and they will be aware of the store. When setting deadlines, I know it may feel counter intuitive, but shorter deadlines are better.