Increase Foot Traffic to Your Marketplace: Add a Fitness Business

Retail marketplaces are seeing significant growth in consumer visits due to the number of health and wellness businesses moving into brick-and-mortar shopping centers. Whether you're learning about the relationship between physical retail and fitness or already flexing enhanced financials from existing partnerships, there are a few pro tips to consider to keep expanding your place in the market.

Seen as a new revenue stream for many indoor and outdoor marketplaces across the United States, shopping plazas with health and wellness tenants directly affect consumer habits and spending.

The Rise of Fitness Centers in Marketplaces

Incorporating nontraditional retail, such as health clubs and cross-fit, incentivizes shoppers to visit your mall more frequently and at various times throughout the week resulting in more dollars spent per person. For example, studies show that physical retailers within the same shopping plaza as a gym or fitness center see 2.5 percent more monthly store visits. 

Fitness centers continue to abandon anchor brick-and-mortar spots to become key tenants in shopping centers with large retailers and mixed-use communities. In a recent report, prominent mall operator Simon recognized this trend and has begun integrating fitness centers to extend visitor stays and cater to office workers seeking nearby gyms and restaurants. 

And while in-home bike purchases declined, Planet Fitness and similarly large corporations recovered steadily with increased member visits and lower cancellations. 

The success of large fitness centers in physical retail plazas has sparked interest in boutique health and wellness clubs such as Orangetheory Fitness, CycleBar, and Club Pilates, which explore smaller spaces.

Technology and Strategic Partnerships Drive Sales

Technology is revolutionizing the connection between fitness centers and marketplaces. Through mobile innovation, fitness centers and owners of shopping malls gain access to more than 80 million consumers who use health and wellness apps for workout routines, diet plans, connecting with influencers, and, most importantly, shopping. 

Together, gyms and health clubs can create a seamless consumer experience by offering the ability to book pilates classes, purchase fitness gear, and access exclusive offers in one place. 

Like a well-executed exercise routine, apps help retailers grow their following by sending mobile push notifications and pumping up customer excitement with news about exclusive sales, new product releases, and special in-store events. 

Digital ad campaigns for this fast-paced co-shopping channel yield a 40 percent click-through rate, creating higher conversion rates and an exciting buzz in the fitness and retail industries. Here are a few successful examples to consider:

Nike Training Club (NTC): This popular fitness app by Nike offers workout programs and training plans and integrates with the Nike online store. Users can browse and purchase athletic apparel, footwear, and accessories directly within the app, making it seamless to shop for fitness gear while staying active.

MyFitnessPal: While primarily known as a nutrition-tracking app, MyFitnessPal also offers integrations with retail partners. Through their partnerships, users can discover and purchase health and fitness products from brands like Under Armour, Fitbit, and Garmin, providing a convenient shopping experience within the app.

Strava: Although primarily focused on tracking and sharing athletic activities, Strava integrates with various fitness-related retail brands. Through its partnerships, Strava enables users to unlock exclusive discounts and offers on running shoes, cycling gear, and fitness apparel, encouraging users to engage with retail partners while pursuing their fitness goals.

Building a cyber bridge between fitness apps and brick-and-mortar retailers prioritizes customer convenience, boosts engagement with target shoppers, and leads to healthier profit margins.

Innovative Marketing Tactics for Strong Sales

For fitness clubs and gyms to succeed in retail locations like those owned by Simon, it helps to understand a few proven marketing tactics. Once you've implemented some of these sales and marketing strategies, it's crucial to track and analyze marketing efforts and then optimize based on those findings. 

Adapt insights-based strategies and foster ongoing (personalized!) customer relationships to sustainable financial growth and consumer loyalty.

Targeted Advertising

Identifying the ideal customer demographics and utilizing targeted advertising channels, such as social media ads and local online directories, enables fitness centers to reach their target audience effectively. In addition, highlighting unique aspects of the fitness center, such as specialized classes or state-of-the-art equipment, will grab the attention of potential customers and encourage them to visit the facility.

Promotions and Discounts

Offering enticing promotions, introductory packages, and discounted rates provides a powerful incentive for new customers to pick your gym. Collaborate with shopping mall marketing teams to cross-promote offers through joint marketing campaigns with other tenants in mall-wide newsletters to amplify their reach and attract a broader audience.

Partnership with Mall Retailers

Creating mutually beneficial partnerships with retailers within the shopping mall opens up new avenues for promotion. For example, fitness centers can offer joint promotions or cross-promote each other's businesses, such as providing discounts at nearby athleisure stores for fitness center members or distributing vouchers for a post-workout meal at a mall restaurant. This collaboration enhances the shopping experience and drives foot traffic to both establishments.

Community Engagement

Organizing fitness events, workshops, or challenges within the shopping mall is an excellent way to engage the local community. By offering free trial classes and hosting wellness-related activities, fitness centers can generate buzz, create a sense of community, and introduce people to their facilities. Collaborating with mall management to leverage their resources and promote these events maximizes their impact and draws attention to the fitness center.

Challenges and Benefits of Today's Marketplace Locations

Retail real estate owners should embrace this shift and leverage their brick-and-mortar presence by integrating with the health and wellness industry. In addition, understanding local consumer behavior outside of the retail store doors is crucial for tailoring experiences at the shopping center level. 

To succeed in the next era of retailing, owners, and retailers must move from a transactional relationship to a partnership model. Collaboration and coordination are essential for implementing scalable experiential solutions that benefit both parties. 

For example, retail real estate owners can create multipurpose lifestyle centers that serve as community hubs, offering fitness experiences that online competitors cannot replicate. Just be sure to include research the following before buying new exercise equipment for your gym: 

  • Proximity to residential areas
  • Access to public transportation
  • Available parking and facilities infrastructure
  • Zoning and permits for fitness/commercial use
  • Growth potential, population, development, economy
  • Cost evaluation, affordability, operational expenses
  • Community support, fitness culture, and possible collaborations

It's essential for fitness center owners and marketplace landlords to carefully weigh all of the possibilities and consider specific business goals, target market, and financial capabilities before embarking on any expanding business. Cross-shopping in fitness and retail should be a top new business opportunity for this year's planning team.

Interested in finding out the secrets of health & wellness brands? We've got the info for you!


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