A close-up shot of a football player's leg as they sprint off the end line.

Football ecommerce: how to deliver a better shopping experience

Digital Boutique
3 minutes
Thursday, January 10, 2019

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Europe’s leading football clubs have been ramping up their retail game over recent years. As the commercialisation and internationalisation of football continues, Clubs will increasingly need to compete against large scale ecommerce retailers like Amazon, Nike, Adidas, JD Sports and Sports Direct. This needs a long term strategy, starting with these considerations:

Set the Goalposts

Whether you’re looking to increase average order value, lifetime customer value, return on ad spend or conversion rate by device, you need a fixed timeframe and strategy in place.

Whatever your focus, you need to define these targets and KPIs early. These should be specific and measurable so you can clearly see when you’ve reached them or how you need to adapt.

Choose the Right Platform

  • Magento Community is open source, giving your development team complete control over the codebase and the hosting infrastructure
  • Adobe Commerce Cloud is equally powerful. It is moving towards a microservices architecture, which means less interdependencies between applications and the ability to develop code more quickly and with more confidence.

Both platforms are an ideal foundation for building brand equity and showcasing merchandise in a way that supports your brand and marketing strategies. You can create an experience that’s entirely tailored to your customers' needs and preferences.

From Club Store to Global Retail Powerhouse

Many clubs have improved the overall retail experience for fans – implementing technology like touch screens and smart systems into physical stores and signing lucrative licensing deals like Manchester United's £750,000,000 kit deal with Adidas.

This level of investment is also needed in the digital world; a space that's never been more important in building brand equity.

To achieve global retail success, you need a world-class ecommerce store that reflects the fan-centred retail experiences you offer elsewhere. A digital experience that better captures the interest of fans to increase conversion.

Read more: 10 Sports Ecommerce Features to Adopt in your Club's Website

Adapt to International Markets

Internationalisation has opened up a completely new sales stream for football clubs. But it’s not enough to just sell in these markets; you have to ensure your international experience is as polished as the one you offer at home. 

Offering multi-currency pricing and transactions is the first step to maximising global sales, as customer is more likely to convert if they can see product information in their own currency and language. Long-term, 'good' looks like a collection of truly localised experiences.

Use Single Sign-On

Your ecommerce store shouldn’t feel like a separate entity from your main club site. Offering single sign-on (SSO) to your customers is a fantastic way to make your entire digital estate feel like one.

SSO is a secure way for customers to access multiple websites with one login. It creates a convenient user experience and eliminates the conversion-crushing friction of having to use (and remember) separate logins for each service.

Go Mobile-First

50% of people now shop on their phone. 84% of these experience difficulty while doing so and 40% will switch to a competitor after that bad experience. This makes mobile-first design essential. Make sure all buttons and call actions on mobile are tap-friendly and have good margins.

Focus on Customised Products

In general, people are 48% more likely to buy if their product can be customised. In sports ecommerce, this figure is likely to be even higher. 

Offering a bespoke kit builder to loyal fans is a foolproof way of ramping up sales of high-margin customised products.

In 2018, we launched the kit builder on Leicester City FC’s Magento 2 store. This core module's advanced functionality allows customers to purchase their full kit online, with options for name, number and patches. It's fully integrated with the club’s EPOS system to show the selected letters and numbers on the shirt in real-time. Logic in the back end ensures customers can only select combinations that meet club and competition rules.

Consider the Cost of Doing Nothing

There’s a significant opportunity for football clubs to channel their established brand into a world-leading ecommerce presence. Not acting now will give other sports retailers the chance to steal market share. And when those retailers are the likes of JD sports, Nike and Adidas, making up lost ground is likely to be an even bigger challenge.

As experts in sports ecommerce, we’re ideally placed to help you make the right decisions at the right time.

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