Today's Guest Blog is from our friends at Revgear:
Regardless of the size of your merchandising operation, the following steps can help any martial arts school run a strong pro shop. There are, of course, many other rules you can implement in your school, but here are some basics you can start with:
1. Build your products into your programs.
Have you taken the time to determine exactly what you want your students to buy from you in the normal course of their training? Do you know what product they should have at every belt level? If not, you should make the list right away. Then make it mandatory that they buy that product to train at each level. One way to do this is to build packages. Make sure there is a package of product specifically designed for each belt level OR training program (i.e. kickboxing, adult self defense, Olympic TKD training program, or others).
Here is an example: assumption is – at orange belt level your students start sparring. Also assume that students need a package of punches, kicks, and headgear to be in sparring classes.
One option is to offer a gift certificate to people at the time they earn their orange belt. The gift certificate enables them to buy your sparring gear package at some discount if they buy it within 7 days of passing their test. After the 7 days the pricing reverts to the normal package price. Remember: it should be mandatory that they have this product to train at orange belt level. Give them the gift certificate with their orange belt.
2. You must set goals.
It is easy to set out down the merchandising trail without setting any goals. However, you must set some sort of goal to determine your merchandising plan. A common goal is to sell $20 worth of merchandise per student per month. A more aggressive goal is to sell $40 worth of merchandise per student per month. Once you have set this goal, you can determine how you want to reach it. For example, you may decide that you may be able to reach your $20/head goal by selling additional colors of T-shirts rather than just the one style of shirt you currently offer. Or you may decide that you are going to reach your goal by selling more sparring gear, and thus offering a discount on headgear for every customer that purchases a pair of punches or kicks. Many of you will have students that pay for class, but never show up. Do not include these students when setting your goals. It will be more realistic to do goal setting based on how many people walk in your door to train on a monthly basis.
3. Don’t provide what you can be selling.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been to schools where there are jump ropes hanging on the wall. Most school owners tell me they provide them to their members as a part of good customer service. However, whenever I ask the school owner if they have to replace the jump ropes because of theft, the answer is ALWAYS yes. When a student puts YOUR jump rope in THEIR gear bag they don’t feel like they are stealing it because
- They only want to use the jump rope when taking your class and
- They are just trying to ensure that the jump rope that they like to use in your class is always available to them when they take that class.
The truth is that the student has taken the jump rope, and you don’t have the rope when you actually need them in different classes. Therefore, you should be selling or making it compulsory for the students to buy items that the students can easily fit into their gear bags. Some examples of this type of item include jump ropes, focus targets, and resistance bands.
4. Always give out gift certificates.
If you think that you are sacrificing margin as a result of giving out gift certificates, you should re-think this. Many times a student will spend much more than the amount on a gift certificate when they go to redeem it. A gift certificate is an “invitation” to spend money in your pro shop and therefore, you should give out gift certificates out very liberally in your school. The denomination of the gift certificates should be small: $5 or $10. A good amount is one that does not cut into your margin substantially but is an incentive for the student to come see what is in the shop. Further, when the student presents the gift certificate, the sales person should be trained to “up sell” or recommend a complimentary product. Good times to give out gift certificates are birthdays, belt tests, and holidays.
5. Always create a sense of urgency.
If students think that they can just “pick up and buy the product any time” then they won’t have any incentive to buy it now. You want them to buy it now AND buy something else next month. Make sure the students know that if they don’t buy the product now, they might not be able to get it later. This concept works better for seasonal items like shorts and tank tops and isn’t as important for items that you know will ALWAYS be available like cups or headgear. This concept also works well with monthly specials.
Revgear is a leading innovator and supplier of quality martial arts equipment. They offer world-class training and fight gear which we have used in our own schools for years.
For more great pro shop tips and advice for your martial arts school, click here to join the Revgear Family Facebook Group!