Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Written by:
Dr. Karim Mualla

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

The sports industry employs 1% of the population, is worth $422 billion and grew 3.7 percent between the years of 2015 and 2017.

What does that mean for ecommerce? A study by ESPN showed that across the four main sport leagues in the US, ecommerce annual growth has reached $22.5 billion in total.

What Can We Learn From the US?

The key behind the success of these leagues can be traced back to:

– Cheaper, faster and easier ticket sales compared to physical, on-site purchases

– Easier access to merchandise

– Increased market size for individual teams and leagues

– Cost cuts within the organisation to increase profit margins

– Scalable marketing strategies to avoid a disconnect between fans and team

Moving Away From Legacy Systems

Many sports clubs suffer from dealing with legacy technology, which is no longer fit for meeting customer demand and market purposes. Throughout 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 of different sizes and needs.

2019 is, by consensus, an exciting year for the sports industry to get new features in place. To harmonise your commercial digital strategy, grow sales online, and attract a bigger fanbase.

Our research comes from working with major league clubs on new websites, new ecommerce platforms, new ticketing platforms, new CRMs, business intelligence platforms, and new POS systems in the club shop.

Here are our 10 most valuable ecommerce features to adopt in 2019 in your Sport’s Club website:

1. Single Sign-On (SSO)

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

2. Order Fulfilment and Click & Collect

In today’s ecommerce world of Amazon Prime and other express shipping, you must offer flexible shipping options to survive. 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 fulfilment cycle, using methods such as robotics and drone delivery systems.

A robust ERP system integrated with your ecommerce platform to allow as much automation and accuracy as possible is a delivery-transforming solution directly available to Sports Clubs.

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

3. Offer Better Promotions and Discounts

It is vital to regularly inform fans about newly launched products and keep them updated about when relevant types of products are available.

In the US Sports industry,  one of the main reasons customers abandon their shopping carts is the lack of a pocket-friendly pricing policy. A better strategy on discounts and promotions, and customised deals on products based on user behaviour analysis are all very positive steps in the right direction.

4. Integrate Social Media Selling

Your social media platforms are probably heavily used by your Club's fanbase. Integrating these channels with your ecommerce website has been proven to help increase reach, reviews and sales.

5. Crowd-Sourcing

In the Sports industry, crowdsourcing is a way to improve the way individuals or organisations 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 a set of ecommerce products between different participants to achieve a cumulative result, and increase sales.

6. Multi-Domain Integration

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 to online sales growth and improved conversion rates.

For example, sports team ecommerce stores should allow off and on-stadium users to purchase merchandise and food using only mobile phones. This reduces wait times – 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.

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 their competitors. The key is to eliminate the gap between the Frontend and the Backend. Achieving this is not as easy as it sounds; you need to choose the right people for the job.

8. Adopt Outside-the-Box Ecommerce Techniques

Successful Sports clubs have been adopting similar ecommerce techniques to other industries such as fashion and construction. These include digital tickets, which require cryptography and other digital signature techniques to avoid fraud. With every new service and strategy, clubs must consider the ‘ease of use’ factor for their convenience-focused buyers and constantly pursue a wider reach and increased target market. This becomes easier when other time-consuming e-commerce tasks become automated, such as inventory tracking, smart sales reporting, and operational and transaction cost analysis.

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

Customised Kit Building Functionality – with various personalisation options to increase share-of-wallet
Google Tag Manager – to track 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 ntegration

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.

A Prosperous Future

Through the use of information technology, sports industry informationalisation is set to increase the quality of the sports industry's economy. This domain in Australia and the US has an average monthly sales growth of 39% and an average basket size increment of 9.9%. The number one ecommerce industry in Australia was gifting, with sports in second place with 39%. These figures show how powerful and prosperous the future of sports clubs can be when ecommerce features are used effectively to meet rapidly-changing customers’ needs and expectations.