Fitwinkel exchanged Excel for AI purchasing

Fitwinkel exchanged Excel for Optiply’s AI purchasing method to save time, reduce error sensitivity and achieve.
Fitwinkel Inventory Management - Customer Story





Read in this story:

  • One of Benelux’s biggest fitness inventories
  • Logic4 integration for data input
  • From Excel to data-driven purchasing
  • Grow range to be successful on marketplaces

Key results:
80% Fewer Lost Sales
30% Less Inventory

“In 2001, Barry ten Voorde started selling body braces online. Quickly he decided to add fitness equipment and now, more than twenty years later, Fitwinkel has one of the biggest fitness inventories in the Benelux.” This is how Twan van Essen, managing director of Fitwinkel, introduces one of the largest fitness e-commerce businesses in the Benelux. “We serve both B2C and B2B customers. 75% of our revenue comes from consumers, but the business-to-business side is growing.”
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“Our franchisees purchase through us, but we also supply directly to companies that purchase fitness items from us, such as physiotherapists and fitness studios; and we are a distributor within the Benelux and manage two own brands and a food brand.” Twan continues that the number of orders per year has reached a staggering 250,000. “The majority of these are orders within the Benelux, but Germany and France are also on the rise – especially now that our Belgian website is also online in French. We also have B2B customers from Romania, Switzerland and Sweden, among others.”
“With Optiply, purchasing is so much easier and faster. I only have to do a check.”
Martijn Janssen

Purchaser and sales manager, Fitwinkel

Quick growth highlights unscalable processes

In more than twenty years, Fitwinkel has grown into one of the market leaders in the Benelux in the fitness sector. Twan indicates that the Covid-19 pandemic was also a crucial moment for Fitwinkel. “We saw revenue increase by 2.5 times in 2020 and 2021. In 2022 we managed to keep revenue the same and this year we managed to achieve growth again.” It indicates that Fitwinkel has seized the momentum after the pandemic with both hands.

Their quick growth highlighted that a number of processes were not scalable. Martijn Janssen, purchaser, emphasizes that their old purchasing method with Excel took a lot of time. “I made an export of 15 days of sales history, compared the data and guessed what the coming months would do. That took me almost two days. The exports continued to increase.” Twan agrees with Martijn: “Working with Excel was no longer manageable.”

Martijn: “We couldn’t continue working in this manual way. New brands and suppliers were – and are – constantly being added. It was just too error-prone.”

Saving time and reducing errors

Fitwinkel works with all-in-one webshop software from Logic4. The data in that system feeds the Optiply app and enables Martijn to place Fitwinkels purchases. “With Optiply it is so much easier and faster because all purchase orders are prepared in the system and I only have to do a check.”

Martijn indicates that forecasting plays an important role. “The fact that Optiply makes the calculations, analyses the sales of recent years and can therefore make a prediction – that saves so much work for me. That time-saving is really the trigger. And it is also a lot less error-prone than our old way of working.”

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Accurate peak season demand forecasting

Martijn: “We have a fairly pragmatic approach to inventory management. If a product does not sell, we quickly decide to phase it out. We check the performance of products fairly often so that we prevent products from taking up unnecessary space and becoming cash-drainers.”

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Martijn: “Black Friday is also a good example of what Optiply does for us. Before I worked with Optiply, I always made a list of products that we would purchase more of. Now I saw that Optiply had already built up more stock over a longer period of time and was anticipating Black Friday. So, while I expected a huge order list, it turned out not to be too bad in the end.”

More effective supplier management

Twan gives another example of how Fitwinkel uses Optiply. “We occasionally play with the supplier delivery times in Optiply. If we have space in the warehouse, we will extend the delivery time a little and then Optiply will pick up slightly more products. We then keep a little more stock, but it helps us if suppliers deliver less reliably. Or, if our team in the warehouse is under pressure due to illness and/or absence. It gives everyone just a little more space.”

Martijn: “We used to keep an eye on supplier delivery times. Only now we can see very clearly if deliveries arrive later and then we either contact the suppliers or we check whether our logistics team can handle the workload, as Twan indicates.”

Fitwinkel has saved one day of purchasing

Twan and Martijn emphasize that purchasing within Fitwinkel has never been a problem. Martijn: “We previously had things reasonably under control. But now we don’t overlook anything anymore. Optiply also recognises the smallest items that I would not have thought of and also purchases the right quantities. Where I might purchase one item, Optiply advises purchasing three because they take into account a trend, seasonality or the delivery time of a supplier.” As previously emphasized by Martijn, time savings and error sensitivity are the most important benefits for Fitwinkel. “Because I no longer export that Excel sheet and do not make any calculations myself, I am no longer prone to errors. In addition, I have more than one extra day a week that I don’t have to spend on purchasing. For the rest of the week I now suddenly have time to add articles manually when necessary and to look at things in a more relaxed manner. I now simply have extra time to do things better and I don’t have to rush as much.”

Fitwinkel’s inventory optimisations

In addition to reducing the time spent on purchasing, Fitwinkel has also managed to optimise its inventory management. Using Optiply’s ABC analysis, Fitwinkel’s inventory has been divided into three product categories. Since starting with Optiply six months ago, Fitwinkel has been able to save 48% and 47% respectively on the A and B categories. The C category follows with 29% because products in this category sell less quickly. Fitwinkel’s total inventory decreased by 44%. Fortunately, the inventory savings did not come without a loss of earnings; In the same period, Fitwinkel achieved a 54% increase in revenue.

Chart Fitwinkel Customer Success Case

Becoming an established name in e-commerce

Fitwinkel is an established name in retail and e-commerce. The spike during the pandemic provided an extra push, which Fitwinkel managed to maintain afterwards. Martijn explains: “We have invested in good staff and, what is important, fitness and ‘staying healthy’ is never ‘out of fashion’. That remains important to people. After Corona, many companies have also realised that it is important for their staff to stay fit and that a sports area, for example, can be a condition that allows you to retain staff.”

Twan clarifies that there are still growth opportunities outside the Benelux. “We purchased a new brand last year: Flow Fitness. We already sell well in the Netherlands and Belgium and it is mainly about expanding our range and market share. But there are still many opportunities in the rest of Europe. For example, to attract new business clients. A new colleague is now working on this full-time.”

“We already sell well in the Netherlands and Belgium and it is mainly about expanding our range and market share. But there are still many opportunities in the rest of Europe.”
Twan van Essen

Managing director, Fitwinkel

Fitwinkel exchanged Excel for Optiply’s AI purchasing method to save time, reduce error sensitivity and achieve:

80% fewer lost sales
30% less inventory

Unlock growth opportunities

One of the biggest plans for the future is a new warehouse and office. Twan: “That is also a necessity because we now have a lot of products stored externally. Our current location is 8000 m2 and six meters high. We actually want to go to the same space but twice as high. That would really be a big step for us.”

Twan explains why a larger inventory space offers opportunities. “We see many growth opportunities in enlarging our range. For example, to work with marketplaces, you need stock. No dum quantities of course, but the right products. Delivery time is very important, especially with marketplaces. We already work with ‘ordered before 11:59 PM, delivered tomorrow’, but if you cannot achieve that on a marketplace, the sale will quickly go to another seller who may not be better, but will be faster.”

Twan concludes by emphasizing what characterizes Fitwinkel as a company. “We always try to take another step, to make things better. We are now also creating two new functions, focused on marketplaces. And we try to make AR and 3D images of our products. We always try to stay one step ahead of the competition.”

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