We dropped-in at one of our earliest customers to ask a few questions and get the latest on how working with Affiliate Supplements has helped their business. Here's what their owner, Andy Boone had to say:
Q: When we first came and talked to you last year, what was your previous experience selling supps at your gym?
A: We'd sold other supplements in the past. The products were high-quality but the margins weren't great and we were always fighting against online retailers. It seemed like if people liked the product that they'd then look online to find it cheaper there instead. If we were going to do it again, we wanted to be able to better control where our people could buy our products and make sure the prices were fair for them and margins good for our business.
We'd never really thought about the private label route because minimums are usually way too high to commit to, especially if we weren't 100% sure they'd sell. So, coming into the meeting, we were interested but had our reservations.
Q: In the end you decided to give us a try. How was the whole experience of getting a label created and getting the project off the ground?
A: Pretty freaking easy. We gave you our logo and told you what template style we liked. And out came our custom label. The design was not something I wanted to have to spend a lot of my own time on; so for me the label templates were a major selling point.
The 5-bag minimum was pretty helpful too. You never know if a flavor like strawberry is going to sell but for 5 bags it was worth it to find out. By the way it turns out Strawberry Recovery is one of our best sellers now.
Q: How was the buy-in from your community?
As part of rolling-out these products we started selling them at our cost to our coaches and staff. We saw this as a perk for our staff but also knew that when our customers first saw the products they'd be asking our coaches for details. If we got staff buy-in, we knew member buy-in would be natural.
I'd say it took about a month before sales really started to pick up. Now that our people understand what we're selling and why we're selling it, adoption has been pretty strong.
Q: It's been a year since you started, so how's it going now?
A: Creating our own supplements was the first step in building out our gym retail program. We wanted our retail shop to be a convenience to our members but also add real revenue to our business. We sell things like bars, drinks and accessories but we think it's important to have some higher ticket items in the shop as well in order for the shop to really be effective.
Now, the supplements flow naturally through our retail shop. I love seeing our brand sticking out of people's cubbies and gym bags. It's like their taking our brand with them beyond the walls of the gym. We're launching our own health coaching business called Novato Health so we already have some confidence going into it that people listen to what we say and are interested in improving their lives beyond what a barbell can do.
Q: Last question. Any challenges in all of this?
As we attract new people into the gym, it can be a challenge to get them onto the product. Newer people tend to think they don't workout 'enough' to need supplements. Having the promo note cards on-hand helps our initial conversation on the subject but building in sales of the product as part of our 'on-ramp' program isn't automatic yet. So I'd say the more support we can get in helping people understand the role of supplements, and specifically ours, the better.
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