Q: What is secondary spend?
A: Secondary spend refers to anything you sell that goes beyond your main offering yet is still associated in some way with your business (either because it’s sold on-site or because it’s branded in some way). Typical examples in gyms include food and drink, equipment, kit (clothing, merchandise), accessories, specialised towels, extra packages (eg. online training aids, workshops and retreats).
Q: What should I consider before I launch anything that falls under the ‘secondary spend’ category?
A: “You need to really consider what you can sell and start there,” advises co-founder of Boom Cycle, Hilary Rowland (www.boomcycle.co.uk). “Usually you have to be able to move it and store it and have the budget to create it all before you start selling it.”
Q: Where should I start?
A: “Food and Drink is a natural add on,” says Colin Waggett, CEO of Another Space, which sells own-branded water, T-shirts and bags, along with a range of juices, food and smoothies in addition to its core HIIT, yoga and spin classes (https://anotherspace.london/). “The smoothies and food are no-brainers whereas the merchandise is a different ball game because you’ve got a long lead time; it’s more costly, and you’ve got to take a risk on the stock,” says Waggett.
Q: What do others say? What in their experience has worked well?
A: “Retail is hugely successful for us,” says Hot Yoga Society founder, Olga Allon (http://hotyogasociety.com/). “We’ve found that offering some variety, but not too much choice, works. We’ve got key products that are our constant stable sellers but we do also like to mix it up a bit so that the retail area always looks fresh.”
Boom Cycle co-founder Hilary Rowland suggests: “Take time to think about what represents your brand – it’s about understanding who your customer is, what kind of things excite them and what correlates to their values. For example, a secondary spend could be a candle that you have in the studio or the shower gel you offer, that customers can buy to take home and which reminds them of how great they feel after a workout.”
Another Space CEO, Colin Waggett, also suggests thinking of some secondary spend items as part of the ‘long game’ – more than just a profit-maker. “For us, selling the merchandise – branded clothing and bags – is as much an exercise in getting our brand out there and getting people engaged with it/us as it is a big secondary revenue stream, because when somebody walks out of here with a T-shirt or a bag, you know they’re spreading the word onto the street.”
In this vein, Waggett added that Another Space also tends to give away branded T-shirts to loyal customers if they make 100 visits to the studio, or are just plain lovely to have around. In terms of their food, Another Space offer vegetarian, meat and fish based meals for breakfast, each of which has a macronutrient and calorie count. Why? “That’s what our particular customers want,” says Waggett, pointing out that retail is all about knowing your market.
Q: What are the ways to help push sales of these kind of items?
A: “You’ve got to get your Front of House team familiar with the products and how they can enhance the overall experience for the customer, because if you sell products that you believe in and know will benefit the customer, it will be easier to sell (thus benefiting both the customer and the business)” says Hot Yoga Society founder, Olga Allon. “My advice is to remember what your core business is and not let yourself stray too far from that or get distracted. We made a decision not to start our own line in yoga clothing/leisure wear as there is so much competition for example. On the other hand, although yoga retreats have never been a big earner for us, they bring in loyal followers to the yoga studio, which brings huge rewards!”