5 Mistakes You’re Making When Ordering Gym Shirts


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Ordering apparel for your gym should be fun. Cool gear should be a way to bring the community together and put some extra money in your pocket. But time and again, I see gym owners give up on the process or avoid it because of the stress and confusion involved.

I see this because I run a custom apparel business myself. I’ve seen the mistakes most people are prone to making. So, here are my recommended strategies to avoid the headaches and just get down to what matters – bringing your community together.

Too Many Options and Styles

Did you know that people actually buy less when they have more options? If you’re curious about why choice is demotivating to clients and consumers, check out the Columbia Jam Study. Basically, the study focused on a jam-tasting booth set up inside a popular grocery chain. On different weekends, they tested the following:

  • On one Saturday, the booth would have 24 different jams to choose from.
  • On the following Saturday, the booth would have only six different jams.

It turned out that the booth with fewer choices sold more jars of jam. This has been tested over and over again with various products in different studies.

So where exactly do pitfalls occur in your gym apparel order? Well for one, clients don’t have time to think about what color shirt they want. They just want someone to show them the best option, not all the options. So, yes, you probably designed a shirt that works across ten different colors, but that doesn’t mean you should take advantage of it and have all those shirts made.

We often have people come to us wanting every color shirt we offer. We try to talk them out of it, but sometimes people just ignore our advice. Then, when they reorder, they will tell us, “I sold out of X color, but I have a whole box of Y color still left!” In these situations, groupthink or herd mentality takes over. If five to six people start buying the blue shirt, everyone wants a blue shirt and you’re stuck with the box of red shirts. When it doubt, keep it simple.

Many owners believe that ordering different styles is the golden ticket to making sales. But just because one person wants a V-neck doesn’t mean you should accommodate that one person. Gym owners tend to get out of hand, wanting six different women’s cuts. Just offer one women’s t-shirt, one women’s tank, one men’s t-shirt, and one men’s tank. Keep everything simple.

Too Many Cooks in The Kitchen

You’re a busy gym owner. You don’t have time to coordinate the apparel order, but you know you need one. You put the office manager in charge of the order. In turn, he or she asks his or her friends for help, in turn these friends ask the rest of the gym for help.

You essentially turned your profit making opportunity into a three-ring circus by inviting outsiders into some pseudo-committee decision-making process. Keep the apparel order between you and a few trusted advisors. Sure, ask for feedback from outsiders, but if this is for your profit and branding, you should have final say.

Not Having Clear Branding

Are you the type of owner who just isn’t satisfied with the branding of your gym? You’ve tried different logos and typefaces and nothing just seems to stick with you? Well the secret is that’s the problem. You need to stick with one logo and branding message.

Think about all the big brands you see on an everyday basis, from Apple to Rogue Fitness. All of their branding is the exact same from day one. You don’t see Apple rolling out a new logo every year for every new product launch. Successful businesses stick with their branding through good times and tough times. Find some type of branding that demonstrates what you and your business are all about and stick with it.

No Preorder

You decided to go ahead and order tanks on behalf of the women’s group training class because you think you know their sizing. Or you “don’t have time to take a preorder” so you just ordered twenty of every size.

Wrong move! Again, this goes back to a profit making opportunity. Take the time, carefully organize the pre-order, and eliminate excess inventory headaches.

Delaying the Sale of Shirts

We know you’re slammed with time commitments. We deal with it on a daily basis, too. However, by delaying your apparel order, you are potentially leaving hundreds of dollars per month on the table. Apparel sales are one of the most passive income streams you can have at your business.

To wrap things up, before stressing yourself out on your next apparel order, take a minute to get organized, eliminate the noise, and remember the central reasons why you wanted shirts to begin with.

Photo 1 courtesy ofJorge Huerta Photography.

Photos 2 & 3 courtesy ofShutterstock.

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