Expanding your martial arts business with merchandising by setting up your own shop in your academy is essential to maximizing your revenue. But, what is merchandising, and how will it make your martial arts business more profitable?

Martial Arts academy merchandising is when you sell products in person or online to students and their families. Producing and selling your own merchandise can make a massive change as a second revenue academy source. It will increase revenue and allow you to pour funds into other areas of your business, such as better equipment, staff, and increased marketing budget.

Not only will your school increase revenue through product sales, but it can also be leveraged as a useful marketing tool. Having your martial arts academy’s name or logo on the various products you sell will increase your brand awareness, in your local community and in competition events.

The more your community members see your branding, the more it will increase your academy’s popularity and credibility. Let’s go over how to set up your product sales:

Know What to Sell

As a martial arts academy, there is a range of products that you could sell at your academy. It is essential to determine what you would like your business to be known for and build your inventory accordingly.

Since martial arts includes a great deal of required gear, the first thing is to cover the student essentials.

Training uniforms, belts, protectors, water bottles, and other essentials based on your martial arts style are items that students may require for classes and private lessons.

Your school selling these products will provide convenience for your students and their family members as they will be immediately available to them at your academy. After maximizing your essential gear sales, your inventory should expand to include other products such as school apparel (T-shirts, hoodies, rash guards, etc) and other unique items. These additional items are crucial for brand awareness within your community.

The products you sell are a direct reflection of your academy. Therefore, you must make sure that your gear and apparel are of high quality. Don’t settle for the cheapest retailer from Pakistan – if you provide high quality merchandise, your students and those within your community will believe your martial arts school is too.

Marketing Your Brand

Your apparel and additional gear can be excellent marketing tools. To market your brand, it is essential to add your martial arts school’s name and logo to your products.

Affiliate sales are great, and they can generate some revenue, but if the products you sell are not branded with your logos and academy name, you’re missing out on future revenue made through brand awareness.

Just imagine your students taking your academy’s branded water bottles to school or their other extracurricular activities, as well as your older clients carrying branded duffel bags with your studio logo to the gym or work.

When your academy community uses your branded products outside of the school, they are essentially providing free marketing services to you!

All of your product brandings will also give your students a sense of identity, thus giving them a direct connection to your brand and elevate your community’s awareness of your martial arts academy. This bond only strengthens your students’ loyalty.

Locally Sourced

One of our most valuable product sales tips we could give is to source locally when you can. Sourcing locally will immediately label you as a supporter of your immediate community and ensure a higher quality product with cost benefits.

When you work with local suppliers, you will have more control over your product’s quality. Even taking advantage of being able to meet with suppliers in person will allow you to set your expectations and ensure that the vision you have for your products is fulfilled. 

This will also almost wholly alleviate the cost burden of shipping. The closer your supplier is to your martial arts academy, the more you can save. This also means you don’t have to make large bulk orders to save on shipping costs. Bulk orders mean used storage space, and your academy may not have or want to use the space to do that. You’ll be able to forego storage costs and maximize the space within your academy for other things.

Once your product’s vision is fulfilled, the next step is to optimize your business for product sales.

The Academy Store

Your academy store should be visually stimulating for your students and their family members. The store layout and design should be carefully planned to do just that.

What do you want your store to embody? It needs to be stimulating and enticing. This should be done with proper lighting, branding colors, and other features that impress a sense of belonging to your students.

First and foremost, make sure all your products are thoughtfully displayed for the public to see and inviting enough to encourage them to navigate through the products. Accessibility is key. Now that your shop is set up uniquely with little touches that embody your academy’s atmosphere, it will make your product store much more memorable to prospective buyers.

Hire a Friendly and Supportive Team

The store atmosphere isn’t complete without having a warm and inviting team to support it. At the end of the day, products don’t always sell themselves. The people that work at your academy will represent your brand, so be sure that’s who you see when hiring them!

This is also why having a guided process to onboarding new team members is essential. With an onboarding process, you can be sure to review all of their duties, processes, and product knowledge without missing any critical details. This will also ensure that you discuss the brand and how you want them to reflect it.

Optimize to Market and Sell Online

Having your store online is a crucial tool to maximizing product sales. This will definitely come in handy when you have family members from out of town that want to buy apparel for themselves or gifts for your students while they’re not local.

Be sure to set up all your merchandise on an easy platform for both you and your team to manage. This will provide you with the ability to manage and control your product revenue from either the academy or at the comfort of your own home.

With the Martial Arts On Rails software, you can build a customized store by changing the template and user interface colors to match your academy’s branding.  The store integrates your website and with your in-academy point-of-sale, which minimizes the number of accounts you have to track on a regular basis.

Your academy store may have closing hours, but your online store will be open 24/7. You’ll literally be able to make merchandise sales in your sleep! This will also expand your product sales to customers outside your student community.

You may have prospective buyers attending a promotion ceremony or a technique seminar that will want to buy apparel for their own use. No matter the case, this translates into revenue for you.

By being optimized for online sales, no one will need to walk into your academy store to make a purchase. They can simply access from the comfort of their own homes or remotely on their mobile devices. Once convenience is provided, your product sales will skyrocket.

One of the major problems many martial arts academies run into is collecting proper shipping fees and taxes. This is another feature of the Martial Arts On Rails platform. You can accept orders for an in-person pickup and optionally allow for a shipping option as well.  You can set dynamic shipping costs based on which products are selected, and collect taxes based on the customer’s location.

Conclusion

Going through the process of setting up your martial arts business for product sales will help your business in countless ways. It will function both as a second revenue stream and as a powerful marketing tool. 

Now that you’re ready to belt up in the world of martial arts product sales, it’s time to start implementing the strategies. Martial Arts on Rails can be your sidekick on this epic journey to maximize product sales as well as maximize your academy’s business management.

While you and your team are taking care of your students, we can take a load off your shoulders by helping you with marketing and sales automation tools. Start your free trial today and see how Martial Arts on Rails can take your business to the next level!

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Published by Patrick Skinner

Patrick Skinner is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Level 3 Practitioner in Krav Maga, and Level 2 in the US Army Combatives system. Aside from martial arts, he’s a father of two and an award winning writer. When not on the mats or with is family, he he writes about anything from software to martial arts.

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