Bitesize Breakdown: E-Commerce Growth Hacking Takeaways from Gym + Coffee

Lightning 50 podcast featuring Gym + Coffee

Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 E-Commerce Growth Hacking podcast, hosted by Caroline Baldwin, gets under the hood of highly successful e-commerce brands to discover the key technologies they are using to power growth.

Gym + Coffee is an Ireland-based fitness apparel retailer. Launched in 2017, the omnichannel athleisure merchant focuses on socialising through fitness, using a suite of diverse marketing tools. As well as selling through its online webstore the retailer has 11 outlets throughout Ireland and the UK, and also sets up pop-up events and clubhouses for fans of the brand to socialise in person.

We spoke to Diarmuid McSweeney, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing and Community Officer at Gym + Coffee about the phenomenal strategy the brand has used to fuel its incredible 169% rate of growth – leading it to place 10th in the Lightning 50 list of fastest-growing UK brands.

Here are some of the highlights from the transcript…

  • “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind five years. I don’t think we planned for Brexit and a once-in-a-century pandemic when we launched, but the brand is all about the mission to make life richer and build a community around exercise and socialising, so it managed to cut through.” 
  • In terms of our core foundations, the DTC model is crucial. We don’t have any wholesale relationships; our growth has been achievable because we have a direct relationship with all our customers. With the supply chain issues and delays that occurred last year, we could communicate that directly to our customers without relying on another entity to do it for us.”
  • “Our marketing strategy includes events, e-commerce, digital growth and community – all are growth levers and forms of acquisition. We’ve done a huge amount of analysis in the last 12 months and we can see the value of customers that come through our events for the first time. The value of customers that are omnichannel are more high value than an online only or just a store customer. We’ve found that when a customer has that full breadth of brand experience, they’re more likely to be a huge fan of the brand.” 
  • “Everything is built on Shopify then we use Klaviyo for CRM segmentation and email flows etc – that’s been crucial to growth and being able to scale. The business has just got to that level where you need bespoke tech, which is where you get into fun things like ERP implementations and so on – and we’re understanding that at certain stages you need additional robust platforms to field the growth. It’s great getting demand – but if you’ve no way of meeting it, you’ve shot yourself in the foot.” 
  • “Black Friday is a crucial period for everyone in our category – a lot of our groundwork all year round is prepping for the last 9 or 10 weeks of the year. We’re not sure, as everyone seems not to be – whether it’s going to work this year. There’s a cost of living challenge all over the UK and Ireland so I don’t think we’re in the same headspace this year. You have to react accordingly, make slightly different plans and stay relevant. Everyone knows there are discounts but if you are a brand that people engage with, you’ll need to offer something more than that.” 

Want to hear more of what Diarmuid had to say? Catch up with the full episode, and subscribe to upcoming ones, here.