Gymshark History Case Study – The Billion Dollar Fitnesswear Brand

Gymshark History Case Study – The Billion Dollar Fitnesswear Brand

Arguably, Gymshark is one of the most influential companies in the fitness clothing industry in this 21st century. This is an unusual step for a gym clothing business that launched in 2012. However, this position is one that’s justified. Born in the bedroom of Ben Francis, Gymshark has grown from the small startup it was to a global business and is worth over £1 billion. Ben Francis was once a pizza delivery driver who became the richest self-made person under 30. The question becomes how did this company grow to overcome hurdles and become a billion-dollar fitness wear brand? This article succinctly answers that question exploring Gymshark history and marketing strategy. Now that you know what this blog covers, let’s take a look.

Gymshark History – Exploring the Origin

Ben Francis is the reason there’s a Gymshark history to explore. Francis came up with the idea of starting his own business while working as a teenager for his granddad. His granddad ran a furnace lining company, and Francis worked for him. An information technology class sparked Francis’ passion for building apps and websites at school. Simultaneously, Francis also developed a strong interest in fitness. Therefore, these two things came together, and that’s when he started creating several fitness websites, primarily for fun.

Finally, in 2011 when Ben Francis was a 19-year old student at Birmingham Aston University, he developed the first version of the Gymshark website. He started the business with his school friend Lewis Morgan. In 2012, Morgan and Francis were keen to work in the fitness industry, and they started using the Gymshark website to dropship fitness supplements. Dropshipping is where you take customers’ orders but don’t keep the products in stock.

This meant that the duo acted as middlemen to the fitness market and sold products without a need to take on additional cost or risk of buying stock themselves. After a while, Francis realized the profit margins of this business were too low, and there was no future potential in the industry. The money they got from dropshipping and what Francis saved while working as a Pizza Hut deliveryman was used to purchase a sewing machine and screen printer. They used this equipment to start creating their fitness wear.

How A Business With Weak Foundation Beat Other Competitors

Gymshark’s step in the right direction started with BodyPower Expo, a top fitness trade show. At the end of 2012, Francis discovered BodyPower, and he tried to bring Gymshark into the show. Francis emptied his bank account to acquire space on the trade show floor to achieve this. He worked hard with his friends to develop the Luxe fitted tracksuit and built a brand name. Eventually, all his efforts paid off as the product spiked Gymshark’s growth. Gymshark received the highest order quantity they had ever received.

Once Francis got back from the trade show, he put products online, and that was where everything changed. Gymshark had more traffic and sales in less than an hour than they ever had before. The company made over $42000 in a single day which was far beyond the $400 they usually make in a day. Following this, Ben and his team started off scaling the company.

Interestingly, Gymshark’s history is that they always sold and shipped all their products. The company invested in its warehouse and controlled the supply chain without hiring a third-party logistics company. This feature set them apart and allowed them to have complete control to ensure everything ran smoothly. Over the years, Gymshark has grown into a global fitness brand. The company also ships to over a hundred countries and boasts a large following on social media platforms. There’s a high demand for Gymshark’s products, leading new launches to sell out in just a few hours.

Gymshark History – Its Marketing Strategies

To better understand Gymshark history and how the brand grew into a billion-dollar fitness wear brand, it’s vital to understand its marketing strategies. Below are some of the strategies Gymshark utilized to grow the brand.

Influencer Marketing

In Gymshark history, their marketing strategy is like a redefinition of launching a new brand. Their growth has been built around the internet and social media, and they utilize this tool effectively to grow their community. Although some strategists might not agree with this strategy, it is clear that Gymshark employed it with great success. Their use of influencer marketing is a critical factor in their growth. 

Ben Francis partnered with several social influencers, turning them into ambassadors. What usually started as fitness influencers getting free Gymshark sportswear to wear and promoting the brand to attract customers soon became a successful strategy. Each ambassador usually has a large following on each social media platform, ensuring Gymshark has several fans to gain.

Not Everyone Gets to be Gymshark Influencers

Many fitness enthusiasts wish to be Gymshark influencers, but it’s not easy to become a Gymshark influencer while there are no set criteria. In Gymshark history, the company wanted to work with YouTubers to enhance their visibility. They were looking to create a family that shared the same fitness passion and grew the company into something bigger. The company only chose those who loved the product and would stick around for a while. At the time, not many businesses were doing this in eCommerce. 

On Instagram, Gymshark focused on fitness accounts with large followings. They would reach out to these influencers and sponsor them. In return, these influencers usually wore Gymshark outfits and then created Instagram posts about the brand. Gymshark only chose influencers with strong followings and engagement on their pages. They also need their influencers to perfectly fit the product and customers to ensure credibility and authenticity.

Those Who Were Chosen Became Gymshark Ambassadors

Those influencers who met the criteria usually represented Gymshark to their community. This process allowed them to engage with the fans personally to reflect the brand. In Gymshark history, the brand collaborated with two fitness YouTubers in 2013. Gymshark sent them samples of their products, hoping for a stamp of approval through a video. Afterward, Gymshark sponsored several fitness bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers. To engage with their ambassadors, they frequently organized meet-ups. Before each event, these ambassadors would connect with their fans to inform them how they couldn’t wait to see them and how much they loved the fans. This marketing approach isn’t just an investment but also helps to promote the brand ethos.

Brand Community

It’s pretty clear that throughout Gymshark history, the brand owes its growth to social networks. This is evident in their large followings on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and much more. Every post the brand makes always looks professional and consistent on all platforms. However, it is noteworthy that Gymshark doesn’t use social media platforms to generate direct sales. Their goal on these platforms is simply to build brand awareness and provide fans with value.

The brand continues to strive to achieve high engagement on Instagram daily. This platform remains one of the brand’s focuses, with every other platform simply reiterating their posts on Instagram. The brand owns three Instagram accounts and boasts millions of followers. Gymshark always shares pictures of their fitness influencers to communicate with followers and inspire them. On Facebook, Gymshark has over a million followers, always looking forward to new products from Gymshark. 

The brand is known to utilize the Gymshark hashtag in every post, and this hashtag helps the company reach new people each day. Gymshark also has a Gymshark community account dedicated to strengthening the bond between Gymshark and its followers. Members of this community page share their daily fitness journey or read up on other people’s stories to get inspired.

Black Friday Marketing strategy

On the Gymshark website, the company clarifies that they do not always have sales. Although this is true in Gymshark history, the rare sales are always huge. Each year, Gymshark has two big sales: the most significant being Black Friday sales. To maximize brand awareness during Black Friday, the company usually switches from bright images of fitness influencers to blacked-out pictures. The sales typically run for a week, with several ads on Instagram to create awareness. The brand chose to run the sales for a week to encourage customers to spend more while attracting new customers. Below are some of the strategies Gymshark utilizes during the Black Friday sales.

The Fear of Missing Out

When utilized the right way, the fear of missing out can help drive huge sales. Gymshark understands this psychological trick and always starts the sale at 3 pm every Monday by shutting down the site and only showing the countdown timers. Their brand ambassadors hype these countdowns and deals on their various social media platforms to increase anticipation. Once the timer counts down to the last second, the site appears with offers on display for consumers to grab.

Checkout Line

That’s not the only strategy Gymshark utilizes on Black Friday to drive sales. Another top strategy is the checkout line. Customers have to wait two minutes in a line before proceeding to checkout. After a few minutes, customers can finally get to the final page, but they often find that Gymshark sold off their products. This means that other consumers got in the line earlier and got the products. This influx of people usually leads to sold-out products and causes the website to crash as a result. These results increase the aura of exclusivity for the brand and are incredibly successful in driving sales for the brand.

Gymshark History – Bridging the Online and Offline Gap

Throughout Gymshark’s history, the brand successfully bridges the gap between online and offline. Over the years, Gymshark consistently impresses by selling exactly where its customers are. The Gymshark central blog serves as a hope for new and existing customers to dive into their community. This blog provides tips, tutorials, and more insights about health and fitness to customers. This action successfully positions the brand as the go-to for health and wellness. Additionally, these articles make it easier for customers to decide.

To reach customers offline, Gymshark started experimenting with pop-up stores. Throughout Gymshark’s history, the brand has always engaged customers faces to face. However, they decided to stop trade shows and open pop-up stores to ensure a fantastic in-person experience. In these stores, Gymshark usually brings in their athletes so fans can meet them face to face. This action helps Gymshark raise awareness for their products, boost sales, and educate their fans.

Final Thoughts

Gymshark has seen rapid growth since they created the first website as college students over a decade ago. Despite being just 19 years when he started the brand, Ben Francis grew Gymshark into a billion-dollar fitness wear brand. The company has enjoyed immense growth in the fitness industry. This success is owed to building a community, successful influencer marketing, and online and offline sales.

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Gymshark History Case Study – The Billion Dollar Fitnesswear Brand Gymshark is a major company in the fitness industry and remains a fast growing gym clothing brand. Learn more about Gymshark history here.
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