Smooth Fitness was one of the innovators in selling fitness equipment including treadmills and elliptical trainers on the Internet. I got my start with Smooth Fitness over 18 years ago. Initially I worked as a consultant on their Internet marketing and eventually it turned into a full-time gig. It was an exciting time when the ecommerce was relatively new, and there wasn’t any game plan, you made it up and you went along. The company went from a brick and mortar operation to one of the largest online fitness equipment dealers.
This tells you how much times have changed. When Smooth Fitness was first selling online all transactions were done on the phone. The idea of selling a $1,000+ product through ecommerce was consider impractical. I suggested we set up a shopping cart and was confronted with skepticism. Several years later the majority of our sales was through ecommerce. People became more comfortable making big item purchases without talking to anyone.
I left about 10 years ago for greener pastures. That was after seeing Smooth Fitness go from about $3 mil in sales to $12 mil. The original owners sold the business. A corporate mentality took over and the entrepreneur spirit was loss. Previously the company was mean and lean and with the owners new offices and more staff reduced the profitability. Smooth Fitness actually closed their doors in December 2012, but quickly got bought out by new owners who I was told had deep pockets.
Obviously they were not deep enough. Sales decreased and their brand recognition also decreased. Players like Amazon, Sears and Icon Fitness started dominating online fitness sales. I also noticed a negative trend in customer reviews of Smooth Fitness. Last month I was on their site and saw that a number of their products were out of stock. I contacted the head of the company and he said they were selling out old inventory and had a whole new line-up coming on board. Well it never arrived. Apparently the investors pulled out and now Smooth Fitness is no more.
For me it is bitter sweet. Smooth Fitness gave me the opportunity to hone my Internet marketing skills. It also gave me the chance to experiment in the new frontier of ecommerce. Those learned skills help me to have a very successful career in affiliate marketing.
Goodbye Smooth Fitness, you had a good run. Who knows, maybe you will rise from the ashes once again.