You’ve got a beautiful studio and an active, thriving community. Your schedule is full, and you have talented teachers to cover all of your classes. Things are going well, so it only makes sense to consider selling retail products at your studio too. To help you make your decision we’re going to cover the pros and cons of retail sales. Then we’ll wrap up this post with some tips for running a successful retail sales program.
The Pros and Cons of Studio Retail Sales
Con: Investment of Time and Money
Starting with the obvious con, there’s an investment in terms of time and money. You have to shop around, establish relationships with vendors, stock and merchandise the products in your studio, sell them and repeat the cycle. Besides needing the cash upfront to purchase everything, you must consider the time investment required before you make your decision.
There’s also risk involved with possibly not being able to sell the products you buy and stock. Because of this risk, studio owners must be thoughtful and strategic when deciding what to stock and sell.
Con: Tight Profit Margins
Profit margins have gone down as online retailers like Amazon started selling the same things you can sell in your studio. That’s just a fact.
Pro: Additional Revenue
Industry experts recommend marking up retail items by about 50%. After factoring in the costs involved with buying, stocking, and selling the item, there is still room in the markup for profit.
Pro: Convenience for Your Students
Your students need to buy yoga related things like mats, water, and clothing somewhere. If you sell these items, it can help meet a need for your students. This is especially true when it comes to items like headbands, towels and water before a hot yoga class.
Pro: Brand Awareness
Many studio owners enjoy great success selling logo clothing items like t-shirts, tank tops and hoodies. Besides bringing in revenue, the items provide visibility and brand awareness out in the community.
Pro: Strengthened Community
Several studio owners told us that having a retail section in their studio generated conversations and built community. Students hang around after class to talk about and try on items instead of leaving directly after classes. While this benefit isn’t quantifiable in terms of revenue, it’s still a benefit to consider.
How to Make Your Retail Program a Success
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided you do want to launch a retail sales program at your studio, we have a few tips to make sure it’s a successful one.
Sell Things You Can Stand Behind
This suggestion goes without saying, but be sure you can stand behind everything you sell. If you’re not proud of it, don’t sell it, no matter how great the profit might be.
Sell Thoughtfully Curated Things
As we mentioned earlier, online retailers can usually sell whatever it is you sell, but they can sell it cheaper. One way to get around that is to curate your retail products carefully and sell unique things that have special value. A good method for finding these special items to look for things with an interesting story or allow your students to give back in some way.
For instance, you could sell Noonday Collection jewelry. These unique, handmade pieces are crafted by artisans from around the world, and purchases support some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Love Your Melon hats and Bombas socks are also great products that provide an opportunity to give back with each purchase.
One final suggestion is to look into Faire, a product curation site that allows you to order unique and often handmade items, stock them in your studio, and return the pieces that don’t sell after 60-days for a refund.
Sell Convenient Things
Selling items of convenience is another way to get around the issue of online pricing competition because these items are things your students need right at the moment they buy them. As we mentioned earlier, examples of these items include cold water, headbands and towels in a hot studio.
Of course, you can sell traditional yoga items too. Things like mats, props, books, eye pillows, essential oils, malas and crystals are always popular. Just remember that you’ll need to price these things competitively to make selling them a profitable venture.
Display Merchandise Strategically
It probably goes without saying, but for the greatest success, you’ll want to invest some time and effort into merchandising your retail items. Dusty or dimly lit items won’t sell as well as well-maintained things set up at eye-level and in good light. Even if you have to spend a little on shelving and racks to get your setup right, it’s worth it in the long run.
Make the Sales Process Easy
Finally, make the process easy by using your yoga studio software for your retail product inventory and sales. With the right software, you can effortlessly set up your product catalog and then sell products from there, posting sales directly into your student accounts. This allows you to track inventory and generate retail sales reports with a push of a button.