August 6, 2021

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How Athleisure Brand Gym+Coffee Shifted to an Omnichannel Commerce Strategy in 2020 and Saw 350% YoY Growth

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Ireland-based athleisure brand Gym+Coffee began in 2017 with three friends on a mission to Make Life Richer.

Its team is passionate about designing premium athletic clothing, building their community of wellness enthusiasts, and inspiring people to get outside and socialize around exercise.

Gym+Coffee has quickly grown to be Ireland’s largest and best known athleisure brand. Their six retail locations in the UK and Ireland, called Clubhouses by their community, are more than just places for shopping new athleisure wear—they’re spaces to meet like-minded people, learn about upcoming events, and get to know the community behind Gym+Coffee. 

Through programs and events like their outdoor Summer Stretch fitness series, sponsorship of the Marathon Mind initiative with podcaster Niall Breslin and their Training Squad program for fitness professionals, Gym+Coffee connects authentically with their community and offers them real opportunities to grow with the brand. 

Gym+Coffee uses Shopify to power their ecommerce store as well as Shopify Point of Sale (POS), fully integrated hardware, and Shopify Payments to process in-person transactions in each of their Clubhouses. 

The benefits? 

  • As Gym+Coffee continues to grow, Shopify’s integrated system syncs their online and in-store sales to streamline operations.
  • With robust online shopping capabilities, Gym+Coffee can continue to expand their ecommerce presence in Australia, North America, Europe, and other parts of the world. 
  • These changes contributed to the brand wrapping up 2020 with 350% YoY growth 

Their secret weapon…

With Shopify’s help, Gym+Coffee is on track to hit their targets and make even bigger plans for the future.

Learn more

Here’s how they did it.

The challenge

As a company that thrives on in-person interaction and community-building, Gym+Coffee had several obstacles to overcome due to COVID-19. Without the ability to connect with customers in their stores, they needed to adjust to keep up with the evolving retail landscape and changing consumer behavior. 

“International growth is a key focus area for us this year,” said Natalie Conway, Retail Director at Gym+Coffee. “We’ve had huge success in Ireland, and we’re incredibly excited to do the same internationally.” 

Navigating the intermittent lockdowns and various in-store shopping restrictions while trying to grow the brand, build relationships with their community, and keep their staff and customers safe has become a significant challenge for the retail sector, but one that Gym+Coffee was ready to tackle.

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The solution

Brick and mortar retail is a foundational part of Gym+Coffee’s success and community-building practice.

As the retail industry and customer behavior began to shift in early 2020, Gym+Coffee’s strong retail foundation and infrastructure helped them see omnichannel success quickly. 

Because Gym+Coffee was already using Shopify to power its online store and in-store operations, they could direct their would-be in-person sales to their online store while the lockdowns were in place.

Because Gym+Coffee was already using Shopify to power its online store and in-store operations, they could direct their would-be in-person sales to their online store while the lockdowns were in place.

What’s more, Gym+Coffee’s online and in-person commerce strategy made it easier to avoid many of the disconnections retailers often see when using just one commerce channel.

A holistic approach to the community experience is key for this growing brand and being able to pivot between in-person and online interactions as restrictions dictated meant the consumer experience remained consistent and positive. 

As Gym+Coffee’s online store saw a higher volume of orders due to in-person shopping restrictions, their sole fulfillment center in Dublin struggled to keep up with community demand. 

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“Coming into the end of March, we started to see stress to our supply chain with shipping delays to our distribution centre here in Dublin,” said Natalie.

“It was an extremely challenging situation and we had to act quickly to keep our business going and our community happy. We partnered with the incredible (Irish) Distribution Company PCH to help us navigate through and as a result we were able to get product direct to our customers from our manufacturers. That was a huge factor in upping the pace of our business.” 

The Shopify platform helped Gym+Coffee streamline their fulfillment and inventory for both online and in-store. That way, Gym+Coffee could see the status of their inventory across the board and identify any gaps. 

The Shopify platform helped Gym+Coffee streamline their fulfillment and inventory for both online and in-store.

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Along with their Shopify store, Gym+Coffee introduced a call-and-collect service as an alternative for customers. This method allowed customers to phone in their order, speaking directly to a Gym+Coffee team member and then pick up their purchased items at their local Clubhouse.

Government restrictions meant call-and-collect offerings were paused but to prepare for the re-opening of in-store shopping, Gym+Coffee worked with Shopify to roll out a click-and-collect shopping method for customers. 

In addition to their online store, Gym+Coffee continued to connect with their community through email marketing, social media, online events and a dedicated Facebook group, the Make Life Richer Hub, where community members could interact with the Gym+Coffee team as well as each other. 

“We’ve always had that connection with our customers, and we really wanted to maintain that, which is why we created an exclusive online Facebook group,” said Natalie, “It’s the seemingly little things like that that are so important in order to stay connected with people.”

Despite a global pandemic, Gym+Coffee opened two new retail locations in Ireland and one new retail location in London and has plans to add more Clubhouses in the near future. The brand believes its investment in physical retail and their tight-knit community contributed to its ecommerce success. 

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The results

When Gym+Coffee was permitted to re-open their physical doors in July 2020 after the first lockdown ended, they launched with a bang, seeing YOY growth of an average 500% across retail. The athleisure brand wrapped up 2020 with 350% YOY growth.

What’s more, they saw a roughly 75% increase in new customers during that time and a 62% increase in foot traffic to their stores, averaging at 20% conversion.

Gym+Coffee wrapped up 2020 with 350% YOY growth, a ~75% increase in new customers, and a 62% increase in foot traffic, averaging at 20% conversion.

“We implemented strict safety measures… and we received so much positive feedback from the people that came into the stores; they felt confident [in our] store safety and had a great experience, which was really crucial” said Natalie.

The evolving retail landscape didn’t stop Gym+Coffee from bringing their mission into local and international communities either. With Shopify, Gym+Coffee can identify which countries their customers are coming from and which markets they want to expand into next. 

“With Shopify, Gym+Coffee can identify which countries their customers are coming from and which markets they want to expand into next.”

“Our whole retail model relies on a positive in-store experience, and that’s always been our focus. International expansion is huge for us in 2021 and beyond,” said Natalie. “We’re delighted with the success we’ve seen in Ireland, and now we’re working hard to provide the same incredible experience for our international retail community.” 

How’d they do it?

With Shopify’s help, Gym+Coffee is on track to open each of their planned retail store locations and are excited to make even bigger plans for the future.

Learn more

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