Have you ever looked around and realized you just have too much inventory sitting around, taking up space and collecting dust? It’s easy to pack a pro shop with multiple brands, unique apparel and accessories for every workout. However, the fact of the matter is that might not be the most profitable or successful idea for your Box.
Holly Leonard, the owner of CrossFit Peabody in Peabody, Massachusetts, found a simple solution for this problem at her gym: pre-orders. While they still keep a fair amount of extra everything on their shelves — so the pro shop doesn’t look desolate — they realized the only way to get a good read on what people would buy was to simply ask them to write it down.
“Rather than just be like, ‘Hey, let’s order $2,000 worth of stuff each month,’ and not know how much will sell, most of our ordering comes from a pre-order that we do,” said Leonard. “So we program the clients to know the first of every month we are going to put out a deadline of four or five days to put their order in.”
Robby Blanchard, the owner of CrossFit Reach in Acton, Massachusetts, said while they use TRIIB to keep track of their sales, the pre-order system is what they have found to work best at their gym as well, especially in terms of encouraging athletes to buy apparel. People want the newest thing on the market, so keeping stock of shirts from previous orders can leave you stuck with extras.
“There’s nothing worse than having so much inventory that you don’t know what to do with it,” said Blanchard. “We will order some extra on an apparel order, maybe three to five per size, just to have a little on hand. We are in more of a rural area, in a suburb of Boston, and we aren’t getting a ton of drop-ins where we could turn apparel over faster.”
Unlike apparel designs, which are always changing, there are a few hot ticket items at both the Boxes that produce extremely fast turn-over rates. Although CrossFit Peabody typically does pre-orders, they have found if they don’t have some things on their shelves then their retail sales go down.
“We assess the inventory on a weekly basis through Zen Planner. We do small orders to fill in the gaps between pre-orders. We do those orders on a bi-weekly basis,” said Leonard. “By far, Perfect Bars are the most sold items. Literally, we cannot keep those on the shelves. We have accessories like jump ropes, wrist wraps, all the way up to jugs of protein, bags of recovery protein, that we always try to keep a few of at the Box.”
Something CrossFit Reach definitely makes sure to keep on their shelves is protein. “Supplements will sell well initially, but it has to be something that comes back to how you are educating your members,” said Blanchard. “I think with protein and supplements, everybody takes it at first and then after a month they get sick of it. It’s important to keep educating people on it so they keep buying from you.”
Quality products that you and your staff understand outweigh quantity every time. If it isn’t something you would take or eat, then why are you selling it at your gym?
“Generally, our overall philosophy is to buy what we use and believe in,” said Leonard. “I have people that reach out to us all the time like, ‘Hey, we will send you a free case of this if you want to try it.’ If it’s something we try and don’t like, then we can’t get behind it and support it. For example, with recovery drinks, we will carry Formula O2 and Kill Cliff because we have found success with those brands.”
Because of this same theory of quality over quantity, CrossFit Reach offers their new members a welcome packet to get them acclimated to the different styles or brands available at the Box. This is a way for the Coaches to educate the members right from the get go.
“If a new member comes in, nine times out of 10 in the first month they will be wondering what they should be doing in terms of supplements and things like that,” said Blanchard. “So we offer an athlete starter pack which would be like a protein, a couple FITAIDs, some Fuel For Fire and a couple other things to introduce them to different products and show them the benefits of them. This helps them stick with things a lot longer than they would if they found it on their own.”