Retail scares a lot of business owners off and I understand why. Having worked with quite literally hundreds of small, medium, and large businesses I have seen the ins and outs of being in the retail game. It requires investment, creativity, and organization – just like any business. Maybe you already do retail, or maybe you want to dip your toes in – read below for the basics on what you need to run a retail business.
Before we get there…let’s ask the most important question:
Why incorporate retail into your yoga business?
Yoga studios with retail on average bring in substantially more income than those without it. In fact, some of our yoga studios that choose to display products make up to 50% of their revenue through retail. Let’s be real, your students need some combination of mats, towels, props, and apparel to practice. If they’re going to get it anywhere, why not get it from you – the expert on all things yoga? Plus, you know your students better than any big box retailer so you can buy according to what your community likes.
So, now you’re thinking: Ok. I’d like to make some extra margin. But what do I need to know? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Know your customers
What kind of studio are you? Hot and sweaty yoga, calm and cool yin, mostly prenatal? That will dictate what you sell. Think about your students. What do they need or ask for? What are their styles? What is the market in your area is lacking? Take notice of what students wear or carry in to your studio. Use this knowledge to help you build what you buy.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What items would be most helpful to make my students practice better? i.e. a grippy towel so they don’t slip or get their mat sweaty in a hot class.
- What colors, prints, and styles do my customers gravitate towards? i.e. matching apparel sets or all black everything...
2. Keep it cute
The butter to retail’s toast! Retail is bland without good merchandising and assorting, AKA how you keep your retail cute.
The visual art of retail! Merchandising involves choosing a color story and making your shop visually enticing. Think about a theme of colors, and then include different pops of color to stand out. Even if your studio loves black and white, include some pops of blue or pink – it draws the eye.
Your assortment is the group of items you are selling in a given time period. Good assorting requires planning ahead. Think about what balance of mats, props, apparel and accessories would be best for your shop. It could be 80% mats, or 80% accessories – anything can work.
3. Switch it up
While boutiques and regular shops get new customers all the time, your regular customers may be visiting daily. This means they get used to seeing what’s in your retail section. To keep things fresh and your customers looking, switch it up often – at least once a month (or weekly if you're ambitious!). Move inventory to different places, restock or bring in new items. If something isn’t selling, consider promotions and markdowns when possible.
4. Educate yourself
The key to selling all your merchandise, in addition to all the above, is great salesmanship. One of the keys to selling is educating yourself on the product so you can know the perfect item to recommend to your customers. For example, if you’d read up on our GRP Series versus PRO Series, you’d know which was better for a customer who wanted a mat they could use towel-less in a sweaty practice.
5. Ask for help
Guess what? The team at Manduka Europe is here to help. Not only are we experts on Manduka product, but we have been in yoga, pilates, barre studios, gyms, boutiques and department stores across the globe learning best practices for retail.
There’s no one size fits all so if you feel like you need more direct guidance, give us a call and we can help direct you on the best options for your studio.
You can connect with us at email@example.com and our sales team will get back to you.
Written by: Annabelle van Schravendijk - Manduka US Account Executive