The Challenge

As Canada's largest home fitness retailer, Fitness Depot has traditionally built its business on high ticket exercise machines, such as treadmills and elliptical trainers. These machines accounted for over 70% of total revenue, but in recent years sales had declined dramatically, which was impacting top line sales for the retail chain.

The Insight & Strategy

Using our AHAA™ consumer panel (made up of Active, Healthy, Affluent, Aware Canadians), as well as secondary research conducted by our in-house research team, we identified and tracked a major shift in behaviour amongst fitness enthusiasts: the market was rapidly moving away from traditional cardio-based fitness towards boot camps, yoga, CrossFit, HIIT and other forms of exercise that did not require expensive equipment. As a result, we knew that we needed to transform the client's focus from large, low-margin offerings, to equipment and accessories targeting these popular fitness activities.

The Execution

Given Fitness Depot was not known for its focus on yoga, CrossFit, Pilates and other growing trends, we needed to build them a new brand position across new channels to reach our target consumer — who were mostly women skewing younger than their previous target customer.

Digital stood out as the most impactful choice because it could be directly targeted to consumers based on behaviour and interest; but simultaneously we knew that we needed a substantial web platform and rich media to tell a new and compelling story. In the past, ecommerce had been a challenge for Fitness Depot, given their focus on large cardio machines with heavy shipping costs, but given our new focus on products like yoga mats, medicine balls and fitness accessories, ecommerce was ideal.

We built a new website based on the Magento ecomm platform, outfitted with our brand new original photography that featured models who looked like our target audience of younger, urban, fitness enthusiasts. In addition, we sharply enhanced the client's credibility in the space by hiring well-known trainers and producing hundreds of "how-to videos" for every product category on offer.

With our new brand position solidified, we abandoned all traditional media approaches and generated a sophisticated ecosystem of new media, including social media, paid social, programmatic digital, organic search and paid search — an approach that dramatically cut marketing spend.

The Result

Sales have dramatically turned around and, due to the high margin nature of the new product categories and a media spend at a fraction of what it once was, the business is more profitable than ever! The new sales trajectory is so sharp that the client is now producing its own branded product to keep up with consumer demand. To take advantage of the growth new stores are opening across Canada and the US.

Top Drawer has been our marketing partner for 20 years and they have helped us grow and win despite the changing trends of our industry. They constantly challenge us and help us take advantage of new opportunities.

— Chris Busch, Founding Partner, Fitness Depot

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