The fitness industry underwent a major crisis when all gyms were shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.Some gyms and fitness centers even ran out of business due to severe losses. As a result, when consumers desperately needed fitness equipment to accomplish their health goals or switch to a new healthier lifestyle, tons of fitness equipment became redundant and sat idle in gyms.
In such a scenario, there arouse a clear need for innovation to help the community survive. This is when Chris Soucie, the founder of Big Fitness found Yo!Rent and reached out to our experts in order to build a digital platform that could help both gyms and fitness enthusiasts.
About Big Fitness
Chris launched Big Fitness back in the year 1991. Big Fitness dealt in the sale and purchase of both new and refurbished fitness equipment. However, internet penetration in the country was merely 1.2% and everything was handled manually. Reaching out to customers was difficult and businesses grew gradually.
Three decades forward, when the pandemic hit the gym industry, Big Fitness decided to take the digital route to market and help gyms find suitable owners for their equipment. Although this digital journey was fast and gave quick access to wider markets, Big Fitness still faced several challenges.
Big Fitness published all the equipment listings on an online form that even lacked basic features such as a booking calendar and a checkout system.
Due to this, customers only had one option, which is to fill a contact form. After receiving the details, Big Fitness manually had to reach out to each and every customer to take orders.
In this semi-automated model, handling deliveries and collecting delivery charges became a major challenge.
As there was no centralized order management and payment collection system, handling them both manually left vulnerabilities for many security issues to arise.
How Yo!Rent Helped
When Chris reached out to us with the aforementioned problem, our business analysts worked on the possible solutions and recommended Yo!Rent V3, which was most suited for the stated requirements. It was fully capable of providing a comprehensive inventory management and order management system that Big Fitness required. Furthermore, with both renting and selling features in a single solution, Big Fitness got a complete package to automate its entire business model.
Lastly, to meet all additional requirements, our experts revamped the front-end design, set new banner settings and integrated third-party tools like MailChimp and PayPal split.
You can learn more about how we helped Big Fitness in an interview with Chris:
Listen everything in words of Chris, owner of Big Fitness marketplace:
Q1: Tell us about your project, business model, industry and target audience
[Chris: “Hi, FATbit. Here to answer a few of your questions about the project that we did with you guys.
Big Fitness primarily buys and sells used gym equipment. We buy out gyms going out of business, people selling stuff from their homes, hotels, and we refurbish it, recondition it, and resell it to homeowners and gym owners. The reason why we picked you guys was because your model was, first of all, affordable. Instead of paying, like, big commerce or shopify three $400 a month, you guys are one flat fee, and the Amazon hosting fees are pretty inexpensive. You also offered a rental option on there that we started doing last year, and that’s pretty successful.
Hasn’t taken off quite yet this year, but we do have a handful of rentals that we do locally. We deliver. The more people do pick up our audience is pretty much a lot of homeowners, a lot of hotels, a lot of schools. And we have a store here in Cranston, Rhode Island, that people do commit into the store and buy stuff. They do obviously go on the website, look first, and they come into the store and they’ll pick out or try out what they see online.”]
Q2: Were you using any rental management/platform before? Tell us your reasons to migrate to Yo!Rent.
[Chris: “We were not using any rental management software. This is for question two. We basically had a form on the website through a company called Woofu that we have the products that we were renting out. And you could click that, put your address, name, phone number, then I would contact the person for the rental, charge them a delivery charge, get their first payment, and then put them into our payment system so they would get charged every month for the rentals. So using your system, this is the first one that we’ve used that’s automated, built right into the website.
And we migrated to you guys because that system was already built in. It seems to be working pretty well. We do have a few rentals. We don’t do hundreds and hundreds of rentals every year, but we do tens and tens of them, a few each month, and they keep building up, and it’s working pretty good. The only thing I would suggest is people do not like to get charged if they’re doing a long term rental for a year or for six months or nine months. They don’t like getting charged up front for the whole nine months. So I think they might want to be an option to just charge for one month with an option for ongoing charges every month after that, after they have the rental. That way it’s a good cash flow for me for the business, and renter is not getting charged one fat lump sum.”]
Q3: If you could pick, what would be the top 3 features of Yo!Rent you find most beneficial/useful for your business?
[Chris: “Top three features of Yo!Rent. I would have to say we use you guys because number one, you have a marketplace. And it is one of our ideas in the future to have other manufacturers sell their stuff on our website. And we also do a lot of buying out of full gyms. A lot of them we can’t buy because they’re out of state, we can’t get to the places. So we wanted gym owners to be able to list all their equipment on Big Fitness and sell them. And we do the sales for them at a commission, obviously. That was one of the main things.
Also, the second thing was rentals. We wanted to get into rentals so we have a steady income stream coming in every month. The third being, I think it was economics. I don’t think it’s a feature, but it was nice to pay one flat sum for the software and not have that payment every month. The big payment of paying, like I said, a big commerce or shopify. I also like the fact that the website takes up the whole screen of a desktop, believe it or not, instead of having like a skinny website going through the middle of the screen. Otherwise, other features we put in ourselves for the payment options and stuff like that. But otherwise there’s at least two good ones there for you.”]
Q4: How likely are you to recommend Yo!Rent to other businesses? Please explain why?
[Chris: “Yes, I would definitely recommend YoRent software to other people. I have got people that rent out bikes, electric bikes that want to start up a marketplace, and I have recommended your software to other people, people who sell furniture that wanted to start doing rentals, office rentals. And I think it’s a really good feature, might want to change it so it’s a little more local. There might be different software that you guys have, but not everybody wants to rent the 50 states. I know that has something to do with the marketplace, vendors going in there and adding their product from a different state or a different town or whatever. But if you could remain local and just have one state like Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts where we could rent, that might be a little easier to use. But yes, I would recommend and I know you guys have other software products out there, too, and you guys have a good amount of things to lend out.”]
Q5: Overall, in what areas Yo!Rent can be improved in the future?
[Chris: “What would I improve in the future? I think there needs to an option for twelve payments, no interest type feature like with a firm or Clarine. You guys need to have a third party company, like PayPal or whatever that’s puts up on the page, you know twelve payments of $15 for a product. I don’t think you guys have an integration with one of those companies yet. I think it’d be another thing you guys might want to be able to do is have the ability to have a product either be a rental or a to buy product and to show up on a page, not one or the other. Like right now I have mindset. So this for sale products come up first. Be nice if you could mix and match that, because right now I can’t. I have rental products, but only the sale price shows up. It’d be nice if I could have an option to have that product show up mixed in with the for sale products. So rentals have both. That way we can offer both at the same time. What else was there?”]
Our team is more than happy to help businesses resolve various challenges and adapt to modern technology. Since our inception, we have helped hundreds of rental businesses in over 30+ niches and 70+ countries make the digital leap. With Big Fitness, we were able to create something meaningful for the fitness community in Rhode Islands, USA and are always ready to help other businesses as well.
Gain in-depth insights on various rental markets in the project period 2022-2027.
Abhishek Kataria is a business consultant at FATbit Technologies. He assists entrepreneurs and business owners in developing viable digital touchpoints and marketplaces. Abhishek is curious about exploring and analyzing new business trends and has a keen eye for the latest developments in the eCommerce sector. Apart from consulting, you can find him practicing French and exploring his creativity in Photoshop.