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The Impact of Apparel on Gym Membership Retention

I will start off by saying, if you are looking for hardcore numbers, statistics, and names of gyms and gym owners correlating the direct impact of apparel and retention, this is not the article for you. 

What I would like to do is simply share my 11 years of experience and working with 1,000s of gym owners to help them with apparel to help you figure out what role apparel plays in your business and how it may help with member retention.

Here is my guiding philosophy: You cannot name one gym that you know, like, trust, or admire that does not utilize apparel as a facet of their member experience. 

Here are my 3 ways apparel will help with member retention:

1. Builds community. Apparel has been used for thousands of years to help build and bind people to a community. From schools to sports to military purposes, apparel/uniforms play a huge role in forging a sense of belongingness. There is something inside all of us that when we put on the same shirt/uniform as others we know/like/trust/love, we feel a sense of duty to support and stick with the group.

2. Members expect this in premium fitness businesses.  Apparel has always been a status symbol. Go all the way back to the beginning of history. Apparel has been used to distinguish unique individuals. People do the same thing today. Your members are spending a significant amount of money on fitness. They want to show it off. They want to let everyone know that they take their fitness seriously and they are damn proud of it. Give them this opportunity. 

3. Loyalty. Another philosophy I subscribe to is that it is harder for someone to cancel if they have multiple pieces of apparel in their closet from your business.Think about your favorite sports team: even if they haven't won a championship in your lifetime, you still show up and watch every game, decked out in their apparel. Similarly, the more apparel you provide, the more your members will feel a tangible connection to your gym, fostering loyalty