As martial arts training goes, the objective of every teacher is to facilitate a structured learning environment where anyone can come in to study self-defense skills and practice combat sports. However, it is crucial for students to have the proper tools and equipment in order to learn any martial arts discipline.
Most importantly, these tools and equipment should have your brand attached to them in order to instill trust and camaraderie amongst students, instructors and the public. You will improve the professional look of your school when you add a pro shop, and bring in additional revenue, which is always a bonus.
Here are four tips for selling retail at your martial arts school:
1) Ask for Student Feedback
Before you begin the process of setting up your own retail shop, make sure you know your audience. Ask yourself, what have my students been looking for? Or better yet, ask your students what would improve their training experience. You’ll often find that your students have been searching for the best deals on equipment, and that is where you, the school owner, can step in.
Depending on the discipline you’re teaching, try to offer deals that students can’t find anywhere else. For example, you can create a full starter package with everything a student needs to be successful from day one. Also, you can offer branded products (more to come on this below!), which will boost your sales as your students show off their new equipment.
2) Get Outside Help
As a school owner, especially if you’re running things by yourself, you’re busy making sure the essentials of your school are operating effectively. So when you’re setting up your new pro shop, always enlist the help of a local marketing firm, research online resources or ask a fellow school owner to help you set up your own pro shop.
No matter what your experience level with marketing or business management is, recruiting help for your pro shop is usually a necessary task. If you bring on a marketing firm, that organization can help you with deciding what merchandise will work best in your school.
Another tip for recruiting help for your pro shop is to get your instructors to wear and advertise your merchandise to current students. Your students will be able to see and use the merchandise before purchasing it, which makes the process of marketing to your student base more organic and effective.
3) Free Advertising
Advertising and branding are two key components of a successful marketing strategy, and an in-school pro shop can help support these tasks. Having your own branded products will simultaneously build awareness and advertise for your business as students sport your apparel around town.
Your logo will be the face of your school as students walk around town in your gear, so it’s important that you have a strong logo for your school. If you don’t currently have a logo, or if you’re in need of a refresh, there are plenty of affordable online logo creators, such as:
4) Use a Wholesale Retailer
When you’re launching your pro shop, make sure you’re sourcing your products through a reputable wholesale retailer, like our friends at Revgear. Purchasing your martial arts equipment and apparel at a wholesale discount usually requires that you first apply for a wholesale account, which may include Tax ID number and proof of business. Typically, brands will provide anywhere from 10%-40% off products for those who qualify for a wholesale account.
Once you’ve established a relationship with wholesale retailers, be sure you’re tracking your inventory carefully. Don’t only track your best-selling items, but be aware of those items that generate the highest revenue and best margins. This will take time, but after a year, you’ll have a good snapshot as to which products your students and staff like the most–and which products you can leave off the next order.
This integration of brand and products allows you to foster a strong community amongst your students; everyone will feel like a team when they wear and workout with your branded merchandise. When you build up your pro shop, you’re creating a brand much larger than the school itself, which in turn will nurture a strong community of students for years to come.
Guest post provided by our partner, Revgear