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Gym | Fitness Club

Gym | Fitness Club

About the emergence of health and fitness prioritization

Not a long time ago hitting the gym or playing a sport was received as a hobby or to look better in terms of the physical structure of the body. In the blink of a decade, this perception underwent a continental shift. People now realize that physical well-being is more important than looking better physically. Fitness activities are no longer treated as a hobby but an essential part of life. Education, awareness, and experience played a big role in creating the much-needed levels of health-consciousness among the people. Yes, there are people who go to gyms or fitness clubs for fancy and professional reasons but they represent only a meagre section.

The millennials, who are now in their 30s or 40s, have witnessed the health-related issues of the previous generation. They have learnt that health abnormalities can pass on genetically to them from their parents. They might have also seen their friends and colleagues catching diseases early on in their lives. They have witnessed the hardships patients and their families have to go through physically and financially during the period of treatment and recovery.

The need for health and fitness activities is more strongly felt in urban cities. The working-class people have hectic schedules. They have more professional stress than ever before. The work-life balance is missing for a majority of them. For so many short-sighted valid reasons, work tends to get higher importance than health while leading a robotic pattern of living. Ignoring health for a long time could mean inviting health-related abnormalities. People realize this now.

All these factors led to the emergence of a huge market for gyms and fitness services. And as the market developed, service providers also began to emerge. Today, the health and fitness industry comprising gyms, fitness clubs, wellness centres, sports clubs, etc. play a crucial role in providing the necessary products and services to customers.

But over the years, the industry has also become mature and more competitive. From full service, high-end facilities to covering only the basics, there are plenty of businesses competing with one another in every place. So, how does one stand out in the crowd? How to attract more customers? How to expand the business to new markets? How to be profitable? Questions like these spare no one and every business must find its way out, with or without the professional assistance of fitness business consultants or gym consultants. And in health club management, there are no standard fit-for-all marketing strategies for gyms and fitness clubs.

Challenges for gyms and fitness clubs: Need for change

Quitters

As common as New Year resolutions are customers who quit their fitness regimes. It adversely affects the flow of business revenue. This is a concern in the backdrop of expensive real estate prices and most gyms and clubs have to pay their rents and other fixed operating charges. Many businesses resort to annual membership schemes but then they do not find many takers because those customers who know they might quit may not prefer to invest heavily. Even for the motivated ones, they may try to check out the services for a month or two before committing themselves to annual membership plans. Free trials and free consultations are also not of much help here.

Quality of customer service

The service industry in general has raised the bar of expectations customers carry from brands and their representatives. And when the expected standards are not, customers do not hesitate to turn away. Barring a few professionally managed health and fitness clubs in the big cities, the customer service levels are dismal in the majority of the rest. This even includes the big banner franchises operating in the small cities. In many cases, the poor show begins from the security and reception counter itself. There is no mandate that security staff cannot carry a smile or a friendly approach while still maintaining the protocols. Many times, employees can be found gossiping in the reception area. Employees exhibit the lack of proper training for their jobs with missing SOPs and protocols aimed at delivering a superior customer experience.

Quality of trainers

In the fitness and gym business, owners and managers must realize that customers not only expect their trainers to be good at the workouts but also in their communication and mannerisms. The issue is again rampant when gyms and clubs are not professionally managed. And whenever such voids are exposed to customers, it indicates the absence of soft-skill training to the trainers. These are the subtle areas of customer experience where businesses can leave strong positive imprints.

Lacking standardization

While more branches and franchise expansion are smart ways to grow a business, gyms and fitness clubs must be cautious about how these branches are being run. The infrastructure and services must exhibit consistency across the branches.

Standardization helps ensure that business operations are being carried out following the company-established policies and procedures across all the branches. This gives better control to business owners and their management teams over the operational activities of a brand. It also brings a higher degree of certainty in ensuring that the intended standards of performance and output are achieved in the functional departments in all the branches. The key output of all these efforts is reflected in the service delivery and customer experience. Customers would not care much if a branch is company-owned or owned and operated by a franchisee. They expect the services to be of high and consistent standards.

Poor focus on hiring

Health and fitness is a mature industry now with its unique business requirements. This changes how employees are being hired by businesses in this industry. To exemplify; one important variable is consumer behaviour. A customer has a different set of priorities when s/he visits a bank or a movie theatre. The same set of priorities would not apply when the same customer visits or is approached by a fitness club. However, we often get to see the contrary.

In many gyms and fitness clubs, the principles and standards of recruitment are being overtaken by word of mouth recommendations and other informal routes. This is an uncertain way of working in business because what could have been done in a more result-oriented manner now has been done arbitrarily. This is leaving to chance the quality of service that will be delivered by the recruits. Professionalism is now essential in gym fitness club management and administration.

But most gyms and fitness clubs get stuck with what they started with. A big reason for stagnation is not having leadership roles in the business. Business owners of gyms and fitness clubs need not necessarily be masters of marketing and business growth and development. It is common to see gyms and fitness clubs that once attracted everyone in the town at the time of launch begin to lose their business to new players.

Need to go digital

In the backdrop of the ever-growing popularity of the internet and smartphones, many gyms and fitness clubs now offer customers the convenience of managing their services over mobile applications and websites. Customers can avail many facilities online like registration, selection/change of trainers, scheduling of workout sessions, keeping track of their performance and goals, making payments, buying health supplements, etc. For product-based businesses, the need to go omnichannel is no less important than it is for any other retail business. With tight schedules and the rising trend of doing workouts at home, there has also been an increase in the online demand for gym and fitness equipment.

Lack of focus on corporate and residential markets

Many companies emphasize the importance of the health and fitness of their employees. Along with the in-house sports facilities and corporate fitness centres, employees are also offered memberships to gyms and health clubs.

In the new-age residential complexes, amenities like gyms, fitness facility centres, yoga centres, jogging tracks, and swimming pools have become a standard addition.

In gym and fitness clubs consulting, many experts now also recommend businesses to add product offerings for diversification and development. The suggestion works because, in conditions like lockdowns, curfews, or bad weather and traffic, it makes sense to customers to have a mini workout set up in their homes.

How YRC can help

Your Retail Coach (YRC) is a boutique retail and eCommerce consulting firm. We offer health club management and business consulting services to gyms and fitness clubs in the areas of market research, business modelling, business plan, strategy, operations, franchise, and talent management.

In gym and fitness centre consulting services, our first and foremost prerogative is to give clients a clear and comprehensive picture of the market in question. Market insights are essential for building a sustainable business model. We define the broad vision and roadmap for creating and delivering the intended value to customers with an eye on efficiency, revenue, and profitability.

Financial assessments are an important component of our fitness management consultancy services for gyms and health clubs. Here, we carry out various important financial and commercial forecasts and analyses. The objective is to help clients foresee the financial and commercial picture of their intended business projects and decisions.

Gyms and fitness clubs also need to have various essential functions or departments like services and operations, marketing, IT and eCommerce, HR & administration, finance, etc. We offer assistance in defining the business strategies that lays down the functional roadmaps required to run the business.

At the operational level, we design and develop the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for carrying out the business processes and operations. The goals here are to achieve standardization and process orientation.

In talent management, we cover organizational design, staffing analysis, recruitment, defining HR policies and procedures, and change management.

To know more about our gym and fitness clubs consulting services or if you have any queries for our gym and fitness business consultants, drop us a message for a callback.

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We work only for Visionaries.

PROCESS AUTOMATION

The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

Photography includes the following steps:

  • Cataloguing your products
  • Cataloguing your images
  • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
  • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

IT INTEGRATION

Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

  • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
  • Where should your Warehouse be located?
  • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
  • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
  • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
  • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
  • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
  • How much space do I require for warehouse?
  • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

 

At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

UI & UX DESIGNING

This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

Part 2: UX Designing:

“UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

“As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

Part 3: UI Designing:

UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

  • In-house Design Team
  • Freelance Designers
  • Outsourced Design Team
  • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

BRANDING

Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

CRITICAL PATHWAY

Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

MARKET RESEARCH

Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.