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10 Essential Ecommerce Features to Adopt in your Sport’s Club Website


Did you know that the Sport industry has seen a 3.7 percent growth between the years of 2015 and 2017. It was documented that the Sport industry employs 1% of the population, and it is worth $422 Billion. A study by ESPN showed that in the US alone, across 4 main sport leagues, ecommerce annual growth has reached $2.7 Billion for the NHL (National Hockey League), $3.8 Billion for the NBA (National Basketball League), $7 Billion for the MLB (Major Baseball League), and $9 billion for the NFL (National Football League).

Believe it or not, this is still considered relatively small compared to other industries, whereas the Sport industry is currently the 11th largest industry in the US (Schwartz. M, 2017).

The key behind this success can effectively be summarised through achieving:

- Cheaper, faster and easier ticket sales, against physical on-site purchases

- Easier access to merchandise, which will be discussed in-detail next.

- Increased market size for individual teams and leagues

- Cost cuts within the organization to increase profit margins

- Scalable marketing strategies to avoid a disconnect between the fans and the team

Sports clubs always struggle with legacy technology problems, and 2019 is the perfect year to migrate away from generic platforms. Our research comes from working with major league clubs, such as the Premier League winners of 2015-16, Leicester City Football club. Sports clubs suffer from dealing with old platforms, which is obviously no longer fit for the new customer demand and market purposes. Through the last decade, the process of migrating away from legacy platforms was deemed a hard thing to do, especially when the objective is to create a centralised platform that works well for clubs with different sizes and needs.

Leicester City decided to run a tender process for new website, new ecommerce platform, new ticketing platform, new CRM, business intelligence platform, and new POS system in the club’s shop. Without a doubt, it is usually considered a difficult task to sync development timelines against legacy contracts’ deadlines. However, 2019 is by consensus an exciting year for the sport industry to get these new features in place, and allow your club to harmonize with its commercial digital strategy, grow sales online, and attract a bigger fanbase.

The following describes our 10 most valuable ecommerce features to adopt in 2019 in your Sport’s Club website:

1. Single Sign-on

This functionality is essential for Sports clubs. It allows users to sign-on once across all club-related services and accounts. This includes the ticketing systems, the online shopping platform, and other systems such as customer-service registration and commuting for away games services, and so forth. The only Premier League football team that currently offers this feature, is Leicester City Football Club, with their new LCFC website. The state-of-the-art integration on that website was built to support all LCFC platforms, thus providing a frictionless online experience.

2. Order Fulfilment and Click & Collect

Offering a real-time stock management that is enabled by bespoke integration with the Sports team warehouse management & EPOS system, is essential to improving your website’s presence, and focus expert in-house efforts on increasing online sales. This happens when a robust order fulfilment across all platforms takes place, with a free Click & Collect option, which offers fans flexibility and real-time results.

3. Offer better discounts, promotions and shipping options

In today’s ecommerce world of Amazon Prime and express shipping, products by Sports teams must offer flexible shipping options to survive in a highly competitive world. In 2019, the phrase ‘Last Mile delivery’ will be essential in the ecommerce world. Brands like DHL and Amazon are pushing the limits further in the complete order fulfillment cycle, by using methods such as robotics and drone delivery systems. One of the solutions for Sports clubs to constantly adapt and deliver, is to adopting a robust ERP system, and integrate it with the ecommerce platform with much automation and error-free services as possible.
Sports clubs must help their customers know the technical details of the club’s products. This include regularly informing fans and customers when relevant types of products are available, and whether the club have newly launched products or not.

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It has been stated in the US Sports industry, that one of the main reasons why customers have been abandoning their shopping e-carts, is not having a pocket friendly pricing policy. A better strategy on discounts, promotions and customized deals on products packaging, based on users behavior analysis, is a very positive step in the right direction.

4. Integrate Social Media Selling

Sports clubs should integrate their social media platforms, which is usually heavily used by their fanbase, with the ecommerce website. This has been proved to help increase the club’s reach, receive more reviews, hence, increase sales.

5. Crowd-Sourcing

In the Sports industry, crowdsourcing is a way to improve the way individuals or organizations obtain goods and services. These services include a relatively open and often rapidly-evolving group of internet users, which the sports club would target as their fanbase, through their ecommerce website and customised products. The aim is to divide set of ecommerce products between different participants to achieve a cumulative result, and increase sales.

6. Multi-Domain Integration

Sports teams ecommerce stores should allow off and on-stadium users to purchase merchandise and food using only mobile phones. This reduces wait time, which is always a concern amongst fans seeking to watch and enjoy the game without delays. This requires a multi-channel integration between on and off-stadium systems, as has been accomplished successfully by LCFC’s new ecommerce site. It is essential for Sports clubs to remember that the ability to easily and conveniently deliver information, services, and products to people in cities, rural areas, and developing countries, is the key behind online sales growth and improving conversion rates.

7. Solution Engineered by Design

It is not a coincidence or luck that the top ecommerce sites today who offer a seamless and frictionless user experience, are increasing their online sales at a rapid pace compared to competitors. The key is to eliminate the gap between the Frontend and the Backend. Achieving this is not as easy as it sounds, therefore, you need to choose the right people for the job. One example of an innovative ecommerce website that successfully achieved this, is the Premier League winners LCFC website. Another unrelated example of a timeless award-winning website of a luxury brand, which achieved this, is Floris London. A full case study on this website can be viewed here.

8. Adopt Outside-the-Box Ecommerce Techniques

Successful Sports clubs have been adopting similar ecommerce techniques to dissimilar brands and industries, such as the fashion, construction, and other online vendors. These include taking advantage of the vast transfer from only computer sales to mobile sales, as well as tablet sales, and allow digital tickets using only smartphones without a hardcopy being necessary, which require cryptography and other digital signature techniques to avoid fraud and tickets counterfeiting. In addition, with every new service and strategy, clubs must consider the ‘ease-of-use’ factor for buyers, who always prefer easy and fast accessibility to products. Further, Sports teams must constantly pursue a wider reach and increased target market, which becomes easier when other time-consuming e-commerce tasks become automated, such as has given an easy way inventory tracking, smart sales reporting, and operational and transaction cost analysis.

In summary, thinking outside the box in Sports ecommerce will offer your customers an exciting process through constantly evolving products. This can be achieved by adopting cool features such as:

Your Sport’s Club Customised Kit Building Functionality: User-friendly with various personalisation options, to increase share-of-wallet for visiting and repeating customers.

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Google Tag Manager: To tracks traffic across all of the club’s sub-domains, without any user duplication.
Rolled-up view functionality, for specially configured goals and funnels, tracking the customer journey across all integrated sub-domains.
Instant visualisation of products: which increases user engagement.
Custom reports that deliver bespoke insights, tailored to the club’s needs, and seamless customer experience across all connected systems.

9. Fast Global Delivery, Customised Products and Warehousing

It is without a doubt difficult for every team to deliver globally and customise their products depending on each region in the world. Therefore you should consider taking advantage of the cost-effective and reliable services that are available worldwide. For example, Amazon Warehousing is currently being utilised by top NBA and NFL teams to ensure a worldwide ecommerce service, customised to each region needs. Teams successfully sell their merchandise on Amazon. Amazon’s warehouses give teams an opportunity to sell products cheaper, as a result of their storage warehouses and delivery methods all around the world.

10. Effective ERP ecommerce integration

Sports clubs must ensure a bespoke integration of a single-customer-view with their CRM systems, in order to enable waste-free marketing. Building an effective ERP ecommerce integration gives Sports clubs an additional push to acquire new customers and allow them to make informed sales decisions, and optimise inventory management.

Conclusion

Sports industry informationalisation is set to increase the quality of industry economy through the use of information technology. It has been stated that the Sports industry ecommerce domain in Australia and the US, has demonstrated an average monthly sales growth by 39%, and an average basket size increment by 9.9% to $148.16. The number one ecommerce industry in Australia was Gifting, which topped the charts at 59% sales growth, whereas the Sports industry came in second place at 39%, followed closely by Motor Parts at 35%. These figures show how powerful and prosper the future of Sports club is, when ecommerce features are utilised effectively to meet the rapidly-changing customers’ needs and expectations.