How to Start an Online Fitness Business: Satisfying One of the Major Demands in Post-Epidemic World

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January 22, 2021
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How to Start an Online Fitness Business
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are starting to do fitness at home, ignoring traditional offline instances – fitness shops, gyms, etc. In turn, entrepreneurs received the capabilities to sell fitness products online. Let us find out how to start an online fitness business and ensure its success.

Fitness Items to Sell Online

Next, we will look at fitness products to sell online that are most likely to attract consumers. These can be presented as part of your primary solution – be it an online store or a connected app.

Fitness goods

Fitness equipment

You can offer your clients ready-made products for all their fitness needs.

By the way, here is a small list of the best fitness products to sell online, which will always be in demand:

  • Food additives;
  • Fitness clothing;
  • Gym equipment;
  • Training apparatuses;
  • Fitness accessories;
  • Indoor exercise supplements.

E-Books

Books on fitness

You can sell e-books about anything that interests your target audience – proper nutrition, exercise tutorials, personal fitness experiences.

Here are some examples of online fitness services offering e-books:

Recent Changes in Consumer Habits

Consumer habits have changed dramatically over the past year. Most of these changes reflect in the massive migration of consumers to online commerce. Traditional gyms, fitness centers, and wellness studios have closed during COVID-19 due to administratively announced and self-imposed quarantines. Thus, buyers actively seek alternative ways to satisfy their need to exercise.

Working out at home, buying health equipment, foods, and additives online are fueling new trends that could supersede old shopping habits forever.

According to TheMonitor, during the lockdowns, the demand for fitness products increased in times. For example, one of the best selling online fitness products on eBay in 2020 were dumbbells, with a growth in sales of 1980%.

In the InsiderMonkey report “10 Best Selling Products Online in 2020”, six out of ten are fitness related items.

Fitness equipment sales statistics in 2019 and 2020

Source

Top Websites Selling Fitness Products

There are many websites where you can purchase fitness products. Let us take a look at the best marketplaces on the internet that sell fitness products online, from which you can gain useful insight for your project.

  • Gym Source is America’s largest and oldest fitness equipment distributor. With over 75 years of experience in the industry, they provide various workout equipment and related services.
  • Fitness Superstore sets itself apart by promoting 40-70% discounts off the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for home and commercial exercise equipment. They also ship new and refurbished equipment globally.
  • Iron Company is the supplier and manufacturer of fitness equipment and gym flooring. Besides supplying hundreds of well-known brands, the company also manufactures its own equipment that can be customized to fit your brand.
  • Used Gym Equipment buys used fitness equipment and modifies it to look and function like new. Used equipment of good quality is an excellent option for cheaper purchase.
  • Bodybuilding is one of the biggest global retailers of fitness supplements, accessories, clothes, and equipment. They also have such sections as articles, workout plans, and an online community.
  • IHerb is, probably, the most famous supplier of the wide variety of fitness, health, and wellness supplements by brands from all over the Earth.

Building an Online Fitness Business Step-by-step

The first step is marketing research, conducted to decide on the propositions and target audiences. In recent years, unconventional methods are on the rise and show great results. One of these that we tested ourselves is the JTBD – job to be done – methodology. It is an innovative approach to the entirety of business processes. Instead of analyzing competitors and segmenting the market niches, you look at the needs and problems of an end-user and choose the products that would maximally satisfy and solve them.

Consumer tasks your business seeks to solve may and will change with time – from leisure activities to more global ones – for example, losing weight. In the end, the user decides whether they want to continue using the specific product based on how well it solves their current problems. Thus, you have to be flexible in your assortment and keep with time.

Another part of JTBD is context. Therefore, it is vital to understand whether end-users make progress in solving their problems with the products you provide.

The next step is to write a business plan. It formalizes the understanding of how to start and how to run your business. Here is a list of factors to consider when compiling a business plan:

  • Customer problems you would strive to solve with your offerings;
  • An assortment of products providing the solutions to the above;
  • Competitors, about whom you will have to find as much information as possible and analyze their propositions, how well they serve the customer needs;
  • Competitive pricing and promotional activities;
  • Suppliers and delivery services;
  • The form in which you wish to organize your future business (dropshipping, warehouse-based trade, etc.), promotion and trade channels;
  • Minimal amount and positions of the staff required to start the business;
  • The amount and sources of funding. You can also take a loan from a bank, for instance, or seek venture investors’ aid.

The third step is to name your brand. This will help you make an excellent first impression and increase awareness. Your name should be easy to write and memorable. Usually, “ideal” names are no more than two words. It is also essential to make sure that the chosen name has not been registered by another company. You can check this through the local legislative services.

Need a more detailed explanation? Check our guide on how to start an ecommerce business.

Finally, you need to create your storefront. We will talk about this in more detail in the next section.

Why Do You Need an Online Presence?

To sell fitness products online, you would need a website or mobile app, preferably both. Most potential customers will want to visit the website before making a purchase. Some buyers may think that a company without its own website is less reliable. One of the benefits of a website is being where your target audience is, which will increase your chances of getting customers.

You need to quickly answer questions. People visit the site to find out or do something. The visitor should be able to get answers to three questions by going to your site:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you offer?
  • What are the direct communication channels?

Consumers want information immediately, meaning your website must answer the above questions without the need to click through the site’s parts.

Moreover, once you have a website, it would start appearing in search engine results. This provides your business with the chance to increase its customer base dramatically.

Since your website is online around the clock, you can post updates and announcements to your customers. It is a way to keep them informed of events, promotions, and assortment changes and involved with your brand.

Many companies receive calls from potential or existing customers. If you miss such a call, the customer will be unhappy. A website can reduce the number of misfires and help customers discover useful information without having to call. If you add an online messaging system served by chatbot, most of the basic customer questions can be answered without human participation.

Keep in mind that creating a functional website with trading capabilities can be way beyond the scope and budget for a starting business. You can begin by creating your online store at one of the numerous ecommerce platforms. Due to the modular structure of such solutions, with time, your shop’s basic functionality can be extended with plugins providing additional capabilities, such as analytics, online messaging, integration with third-party services, etc.

When you have secured a position in the market and receive a stable income, you can start planning mobile application development. Without controversy, mobile gadgets are omnipresent in modern life. Thanks to their capabilities and convenience, mobile trade is booming. According to Statista, mobile trade penetration globally was 50%, at least, in the 3rd quarter of 2019 alone. It is expected that by the next year, 54% of all online sales in the US would be done through mobile devices.

Next, we will provide a brief review of the three best online trading platforms, in our opinion.

Best Ecommerce Platforms

There are many ecommerce platforms out there, including multi-vendor e-commerce marketplaces. We had experience with most of them while serving our customers and, as a result, can single out the three best – Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify. Let us discuss the features and pros/cons of these.

Magento

Magento is an e-commerce platform that comes in both paid and free versions. It is suitable for high-load online stores. Magento is powered by PHP and MySQL. Such brands as Nike, Land Rover, Rebel8, and Shaggy Max use it as a basis for their e-stores.

Magento logo

Source

Pros:

  • A large number of templates and flexibility in settings;
  • The ability to promote product pages in search engines’ results;
  • Support for most payment systems such as PayPal, WebMoney, Mastercard, Visa;
  • Availability of monitoring and reporting tools.

Cons:

  • Medium size project can cost several tens of thousands of dollars;
  • Convoluted setting process, not suitable for beginners.

BigCommerce

It is a platform designed for large-scale e-commerce solutions. BigCommerce integrates with Google Merchant Center, allowing you to promote your products on Google Shopping.

BigCommerce logo

Source

Pros:

  • Free trial;
  • Support for popular payment systems – PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay;
  • An extensive online community;
  • Compatibility with WordPress.

Cons:

  • The monthly cost of a license directly depends on the volume of sales, so it is challenging to plan a budget;
  • An insufficient number of customization features.

Shopify

Shopify is a low-entry-threshold platform ideal for small and medium businesses. Shopify has drag and drop tools to make it easier to style the page the way you want.

Shopify logo

Source

Cons:

  • Convenient and intuitive interface;
  • Own hosting;
  • Free trial;
  • A set of tools for internal analytics;
  • Advanced sales opportunities;
  • Built-in payment system (Shopify Payments).

Cons:

  • A high monthly usage fee;
  • Complicated and expensive integration with third-party solutions.

Overall, Magento is more suitable if you require a highly scalable custom solution, BigCommerce can be a great choice for large projects, and Shopify works best if you need a simple interface and complete control over your store’s look. Want to know more? Read our articles “Magento vs. Shopify: Which Ecommerce Platform is Right for your Retail Business?” and “BigCommerce vs. Magento: Who Wins the Fight?” for in-detail explanations.

Summary

This was our brief tutorial on how to start an online fitness business. The online trade niche is incredibly profitable amid the pandemic, so it is essential not to miss your chance. Your first step is to prepare a plan for your future business and hire developers to move on with creating your website. As Magento fits most of the projects according to our experience, we recommend reading our review of Magento developers’ hourly rate to figure out the budget.

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