According to Forbes, the sports industry in North America is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019. Covering any sporting and fitness equipment, exercise, apparel, fishing, and related accessories, the sports retail industry is experiencing a 3-4% increase each year. With this increase, merchandise sales are set to see a small boost from improved economic conditions and technology-driven retail enhancements. The key market for this industry, the United States, holds 36% of the lion’s share of the market.
With the number of traditional sporting goods retailers struggling or closing down due to declining sales, the surge of businesses transitioning to alternative methods is skyrocketing. A Statista study reported that eCommerce sporting goods sales are surpassing $7.84 billion, with 42% of 55 to 64-year-olds purchasing all their sporting needs through online sources. As the number of sporting stores increases, the need for additional sales channels increases in order to stay competitive.
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Here’s how eCommerce is impacting and influencing the sports industry:
Increase Product Selection
Traditionally, sports retailers consisted of only brick and mortar locations, relying on customers to come to their physical location to drive conversions or use third-party retailers. With limited space and stock, a sports retailer or team were limited in what they could sell. Depending on their location, the items sold also needed to be specific for the target market in their area, further limiting their options.
However, with the introduction of eCommerce, the sports industry no longer has geographical restrictions or the need for third-party retailers. This gives the opportunity to capture new audiences and sell a larger range of products. For example, brands can offer sports apparel for various seasons year-round, while also offering equipment and other various items directly to customers around the globe. Not only does this eliminate the cost of using a middle man, but also opens the doors for increased conversions and sales by always having the items customers want readily available.
Additionally, there are numerous products other than sportswear that can be effectively sold online. Here are a few other items that brands and sports businesses can sell through their eCommerce store.
- Sporting equipment essentials: Cleats, balls, bats, gloves, etc
- Club or association memberships
- Online tickets to games, events, and venues
- Videos and books
- Gift cards and services
Essentially, almost every sports brand or retailer is committing to the eCommerce world in order to expand. In 2017 alone, eCommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales. As eCommerce is expected to increase by 15% each year, that leaves sports industry eCommerce to grow as well.
Manufacturers, brands, and sports retailers that opt into using eCommerce to create B2C sales and connections can influence the way the sports industry communicates information. Product details, care guides, updates, and more can be changed in real-time to allow customers to always have the latest information readily accessible on eCommerce sites.
The ability to keep customers constantly informed helps to reduce the risk of lost sales and helps to maintain customer satisfaction. For example, rather than having a monthly check of what is in stock for a traditional store, an online site can track and update what is available in real-time. It can also update customers when products are back in stock, providing an opportunity for conversion and to boost sales.
A major part of eCommerce, internet marketing focuses on marketing services and products online through specific and detailed demographic target markets. As more customers shop online, customer data can be collected and mined to create the perfect shopping experience on your eCommerce site. As the web opens up more opportunities for consumers to search, it allows for marketing to be catered to more than one target audience. Predictive shopping models and personalized shopping will help to put the right product in front of the right customer, bettering the chance of a sale. As data and results of internet marketing are available immediately, eCommerce sites can use this quick feedback to quickly adjust products and services offered.
The introduction of eCommerce to the sports industry has opened up doors for brands to branch out to different target markets and increase communication. With real-time information, immediate data results, and increased product stock, eCommerce helps to influence the sports industry in a positive direction.