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The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Fitness Retail Store

By Isaac Brown

A 2017 study by Global Wellness Institute into the global health and wellness industry found it to be worth $4.2 trillion. This figure represents a 6.4% increase from 2015. It is expected to grow even faster in 2019 as governments of countries where obesity is widespread take steps to encourage residents to engage in healthier activities.

At RDX Sports, we strongly believe in empowering new businesses in our industry. We see it as an investment in our own future because a growing industry is a healthy industry.

With that said, the objective of this article is to help you start a fitness retail store by first figuring out your why and then outlining the methodology you need to adopt to make it an amazing success.

Step 1: Ask yourself ‘Why?’

The first thing you need to ask yourself is why you want to get into the fitness retail business. People often argue that money comes before personal fulfillment and that is the case with a lot of entrepreneurs. However, true motivation for success comes when you follow your passion in life and that is where you need to begin.

Ask yourself if you find joy in fitness and if you can live a happier and more fulfilled life by starting your own fitness retail store. Quickly think about that before reading on.

Establish an end goal

Going on a journey without a destination is not just a waste of time, it will burn you out. What you want to achieve with your Fitness Retail Store for you, your family and the society is something you have to determine.

Step 2: Scan the environment you want to operate in

After you decide why you want to start a fitness retail store, you need to figure out the factors in your environment that will directly impact your business. After all, the success of your business depends on the control you have over these factors. For this, you need to conduct a PESTEL analysis.

Political factors are the local government policies that will directly or indirectly effect the running of your business. These can be laws, regulations or even license requirements that you may need to fulfill just to operate. Let us give you a tip… your local Chamber of Commerce has all the details.

Economic factors will help you know if the economy is conducive to business growth. A success metric we use to define if a business is successful is if it is growing and economy plays a large part in that.

Social factors are of utmost important for you to study when starting a fitness retail store. In general, society shapes people’s attitudes and their acceptance of certain things and rejection of others.

Technological factors may not be clear to you instantly but when you take a step back and observe how technology is part of day to day life, you will realize its importance and how it can impact your business.

Environment in PESTEL is the physical environment. Your local climate for example, is a huge factor in determining how people in your area like to stay fit.

Legal factors include laws that you need to follow without fail or face legal issues.

Step 3: Conduct Market Research

What is your market scenario like? There’s no way to know without doing some legwork. The purpose of market research is to first and foremost, find your target market. Every successful business fills a gap and only research will help you find it.

Where do you stand in the market? This is the second reason you need to conduct research. There is a framework called SWOT Analysis for this purpose. SWOT is an acronym of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  

What is your market scenario like? There’s no way to know without doing some legwork. The purpose of market research is to first and foremost, find your target market. Every successful business fills a gap and only research will help you find it.

Where do you stand in the market? This is the second reason you need to conduct research. There is a framework called SWOT Analysis for this purpose. SWOT is an acronym of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  

Here is all you need to know about this framework:

Strengths are your competitive advantages or unique selling points (USPs) that set you apart from your competitors. You are reading this article which means you most probably have not started your business yet and are in the planning phase. So how would you know what you do well? This is exactly why we ask that you analyze your market and figure out how you can gain advantage over your competition.

Weaknesses are the things you don’t do well compared to your competition. If you are at the initial stage of the business, you need to check and fix the loopholes in your plan as best as you can to avoid them being exploited by the competition.

Opportunities are favorable external factors that can benefit your business. For example, expansion of your store into a franchise and opening of new branches. At the start of a business, you need to focus on your immediate opportunities.

Threats are factors that have the potential to harm your business. Entry of new competitors is an example and actually one of the major reasons businesses fail to sustain.

Step 4: Setting up your fitness retail store

At this point you should have:

🗷 Determined why you are starting a fitness retail store

🗷 Scanned your environment using PESTEL Analysis

🗷 Figured out a gap in the market

🗷 Conducted market research using SWOT Analysis

When you begin to think of setting up your actual store, you will need to start making notes of what you need. This part of setting up a fitness store is no doubt unsexy but necessary. A good starting point is visiting stores easily accessible to you and taking notes of the absolutely necessary items. We have been doing such a research ourselves and after studying a dozen or so existing retailers, we have determined the following items necessary for your store:

  • Three computer workstations with the following equipment:

          o      broadband internet connection

          o      two laser printers with photocopy function

          o      an accounting system to keep track of transactions. 

  • A table and set of chairs for lunch and a center table with sofa seats for meetings.
  • A dedicated phone line
  • Attorney fees for contract generation and LLC formation
  • Website development set up fees. You can outsource the development and hosting of your website to a 3rd party.
  • Funds for marketing collateral which includes logo design, flyers, brochures and sign boards.

Step 5: Marketing & selling as a retail store

Marketing can be a huge and intimidating world for new business owners. There is traditional marketing and then there is digital marketing and it can be a lot to grasp. Let us tell you that in 2019, digital marketing is the in thing and we are going to discuss why fitness retailers need to spend big on digital marketing in detail in an upcoming article that you should not miss so be sure to subscribe to our mailing list!

The beauty of traditional marketing is not lost though; far from it! Consider a few of the following marketing activities to boost your retail store and have amazing results:

  • Opening your fitness goods retail store in a grand style with a party for all
  • Introducing your sporting goods retail store by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to organizations, households, sports clubs, schools and other key stake holders
  • Making use of attractive hand bills to create awareness and also to give directions to your fitness goods retail store
  • Positioning your signage / flexi banners at strategic places
  • Positioning your greeters to welcome and direct potential customers
  • Creating a loyalty plan that will enable you to reward your regular customers
  • Engaging in road shows within your neighborhood to create awareness for your fitness goods retail store
  • Listing your business and products on yellow pages ads  (local directories)
  • Engaging in direct marketing and sales
  • Encouraging the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
  • Marketing your retail store in your local Chamber of Commerce and also use it to Network

Sales is why you do it, after all

Generating sales can no doubt seem like an uphill battle to many. From what we have seen in the fitness industry and in others as well, there are a few tricks that always work. Here they are:

  1. Upselling and cross-merchandising

In upselling, you try to sell the customer a more expensive product than the one they want to buy. Cross-merchandising is suggesting that your customer buys a product that compliments the one they are buying.

  1. Flash sales

Flash sales are one of the oldest tricks in the book. The chance to save money ‘only if you act fast’ attracts customers who don’t want to miss a good opportunity.

At this point, you may have noticed we have not talked about e-commerce. And you are right, it is not something we can ignore. Some businesses like Amazon exist purely online and are generating profits like anything! The good thing is we’ve already covered this in another article which you should definitely check out by clicking here.


To conclude, we have a final tip for your journey to fitness retail success.

Create a checklist of all the steps that we have talked about and mark them complete along the way.


Are you considering RDX Sports for your retail store? Retailers get special prices and much more.

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