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Why Boutique Fitness Is The Next Big Retail Opportunity

Boutique fitness gyms have seen a significant boom over the past 15 years. These gyms have a small footprint (800 - 3,500 square feet) and focus on group exercise. Despite the hefty price tag for classes, there has been year-over-year growth since 2004. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association, between 2013 and 2017, membership at traditional gyms grew by 15%, while membership at boutique studios grew by 121%.

So, what makes a person fork over $30 a class? Most participants will tell you it’s all about the experience with boutiques.

Targeted workouts, excellent instructors, the high-end aesthetic of the space, and the sense of camaraderie that comes with surviving a hard workout are all a part of what makes boutique fitness special. It's also what keeps people coming back for more. 

People attend boutique fitness studios like Pure Barre and Soul Cycle for the community aspect as well as for the atmosphere. Both of these factors play a large part in its success and are crucial to maintain.

So how can studio and gym owners capitalize on the loyalty and excitement surrounding their brand? Can they monetize the enthusiasm of their loyal members?

At InStore Design Display, we don't just think so. We know so. Let’s dig into why incorporating an efficient, effective, and engaging retail space into boutique fitness studios is essential and how it can help improve the bottom line. 

Why having an In-studio Retail Space is Important 

Boutique fitness is about more than exclusivity and hybrid workouts in less than an hour. Immersive experiences that build community make a gym more successful. Studios can leverage how they present their brand’s retail products as an extension of that mindset.

Acquiring and retaining clients are two of the biggest hurdles for boutique fitness studios. This is why it is critical to use every opportunity in your studio to engage your clients in a uniquely branded experience. Branded merchandise and products can serve as the medium to greater brand awareness, engagement, and loyalty from your customers.

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2 Steps to Create a Positive and Consistent Brand Experience for Boutique Fitness Gyms: 

InStore Design Display’s long time client, Title Boxing Club, adopted the idea of an in-house boutique very early in their conception. However, the club experienced some growing pains as the franchise expanded, and more clubs began to open across the country. 

IDD recognized that as new locations opened, the franchisees were coming to us directly for off-the-shelf fixtures. They ordered a combination of our economy cases, black slat wall or grid, and stock apparel racks. However, Title Boxing quickly realized there was a lack of consistency and a disjointed, confusing brand experience from club to club.

The franchise’s expansion was not slowing down, and a need for an enhanced, consistent brand experience became imperative. 

Title-Boxing-Solution-1Step 1: Identify Consistencies

Understanding the consistencies across the franchise (e.g., available real estate, products offered, and the space’s overall flow) will enable you to understand better the fixtures necessary to display products effectively and appealingly within the available footprint. 

Example: IDD and Title Boxing developed a consistent retail design plan to be implemented across the franchise network after analyzing the typical floor plan and square footage available for the retail space. 

Through collaboration with the Title Boxing team, IDD developed a cohesive custom design scheme utilizing off-the-shelf fixtures and custom designed areas that offer a clean and sleek but gritty look and feel. 

To date, IDD has supported the rollout of 160+ clubs nationwide using this format.

Title-Boxing-Solution-3Step 2: Incorporate Brand Moments

Once you have identified your merchandise offering and how to maximize the space you have to work with to display your products, it’s time to think about how to infuse brand moments within the retail space inside your gym. 

The height and layout of your store fixtures and the touch and feel can significantly impact consumers’ impression of your brand and product. However, there is more to consider. Sight can be an incredibly emotive and impactful aspect of consumers’ decision-making process, which is why visual aesthetics are what come to mind when people think of retail display fixtures.Incorporating brand colors and even your logo within the fixtures can enhance brand experience and create an overall more impactful aesthetic.

Example: Creating brand moments can be as simple as displaying your merchandise on wall mounted fixtures. Title Boxing had several different t-shirts and hoodies with their logo emblazoned on them that they wanted to display. By hanging them on a “feature wall” next to a graphic of a person partaking in the workout offered at their studio, members can associate their brand with the potential of being healthy and fit. 

All successful brick-and-mortar retailers have one thing in common: engaging and immersive in-store customer  experiences. This fact remains true for boutique fitness studio retailers.

Designing a captivating experience for your guests begins with choosing the right retail fixture to display your products—or, if you want to stand out in-store, creating it from scratch. If you want this type of flexibility in design, look for design-build firms that specialize in the substrate you’re looking to use for your in-store fixtures.

InStore Design Display is an experienced retail display designer and manufacturer. We understand the ins and outs of retail spaces, so we can work with you to design an in-store experience that truly stands out, from temporary seasonal displays to permanent retail environments.
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