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Online Store Gameplan

Selling physical products online is 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 they 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.

After offering thousands of web stores, here are some lessons and tips we have learned.
    1. Lock in. The online store option is not a "set it and forget it!" tool. So, when you're offering an online store, your only priority should be promoting and pushing that product for that week. 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. Regardless of how easy and simple the store is, people are still going to ask you questions about it.

    2. Limit the options. You do not need 3 different tanks, 5 different tee colors, and 2 different long sleeve options. 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.

    3. 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, printed signs in the restrooms/locker rooms/changing rooms, announcements before AND after class, 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: Marketing Guide

    4. Samples. Make sure you have sizing samples at the front desk so your members have an opportunity to get the right size. Unfortunately, sizing is not universal. A large tee may not fit like a large hoodie. We provide free samples to clients to ensure everyone gets the right fit. Again, free means free. There is no cost to you for this.

    5. Leverage Social Proof. Post a list and update it daily or at least every other day to show who has ordered thus far. "Big thanks to everyone who has ordered thus far: Matt A. Liz A, John S."... This cues other members that they should buy apparel as well. Gyms who leverage social proof with this process see significantly more sales than those who don't. 

    6. Purchase some extras to have on hand. People procrastinate. Stuff happens. People forget to order. I would recommend 6-12 extra items per project to have on hand. This is a manageable amount of inventory.