The market place is unforgiving and customers are fickle. I have worked in the fitness industry since the eighties, when Jane Fonda & Aerobics was the big thing. Every year we saw the same cycle people, would be determined to get fit and they’d join our gym. At first they’d do a lot of classes then after three months 80% of our clients would have stopped working out. Retention of clients in the fitness industry is a struggle, because working out is hard, and time consuming. Like most creatures, humans are lazy, it is actually part of DNA. We are programmed to avoid strenuous activity.
Yoga is a part of the fitness industry, make no mistake, many of your customers are coming to yoga to get fit and healthy. You are competing with, not just other Yoga Studios, but with Mini Gyms, Personal Trainers, Crossfit, lifting studios, Pilates, Ballet Barre classes and the big full service gyms. They are all fighting to attract the small numbers of people who work out regularly. Only 20% of the population even get the minimum 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Of this 20% only a sliver of this group are regular, active members of a yoga or fitness centre.
It is not all doom and gloom. Business savvy studio owners often have formed great relationships with their clients and develop a loyal following. But they have know they cannot rely on membership sales alone. Many successful studios have expanded their revenue streams by including a good range of retail products. MindBody, the fitness software company, recommends this strategy.
It will cost some money to start. Remember the old adage, it takes money to make money. You must invest in stock and outfitting a retail space within the studio. While many studios sell water, and rent towels they have not created a space that makes clients engage with products. Products are often hidden behind the desk or shoved in a corner. This is not effective and people will not think of the studio as place to make purchases. The mix of products is important too. Think of your studio as boutique, find unique products that appeal your clients. They love healthy, organic, eco friendly products. They look for products that make them feel healthy and they love pretty, well branded things. T2 is really just selling tea and what makes it attractive is the packaging - the look. Most of your clients will have decent disposable incomes and they don’t mind spending money on a nice product. Think beyond the margins. Making even 40% on a product is positive in the long run. You need to get your clients to get in the habit of buying products from you. You want them to come to you, not other shops when they need gear, cool clothes or a birthday present. And don’t forget you and your yoga teachers are the influencers. Wear the gear and use the products you sell - talk about them. The clients will follow your example. Sales isn’t a dirty word. If you don’t sell, they won’t buy. Keeping your studio’s balance sheet healthy and strong means you keep doing your good karma yoga for a long time.