Sports equipment is an investment. An elliptical bike or a professional pair of skis can cost over 1,000 euros. And that’s not to mention the additional equipment required, the food supplements, or even the trip to the slopes. And what do you do when things get technical? Or when a weight lifting mischoice can lead to serious injuries? Purchases this complex require significant customer confidence. So what are the best practices for sports and leisure e-shops when it comes to online marketing?
1. Know your Quarterbacks from your Cornerbacks
What’s a marketing plan worth nowadays without a consumer-centric approach? Think about your audience and divide them into specific clusters. Consider characteristics, such as location, age, income, lifestyle, interests, or their level of athleticism.
Next up: brainstorm how you can appeal to those distinct segments in unique ways. A 42-year-old marathon runner may not be interested in the same products as a casual teenage swimmer, so factor all these details into your marketing campaigns.
And why not take it a step further? What used to be e-commerce has now become “me-commerce”. Shoppers expect personal treatment and will favor retailers that provide it. So personalize the content of each email to match recipients’ interests or athletic level and witness your engagement rate hit a Home Run.
2. Behavioral pop-ups – turning visitors into supporters
Having a clearly structured, good looking website is definitely an advantage. But what if its practical beauty fails to impress visitors? The solution – boost engagement with behavioral pop-ups. These on-site additions will track visitors’ activity while they browse your website, helping you gain significant insights into their individual preferences and shopping patterns. How can you grow your online sports and leisure shop using this information? It enables you to provide personalized content to each and every individual. The result – reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion.
3. Keep the score
Knowing your customers and interacting with them at key moments are definitely among the best practices for sports and leisure e-shops. But there’s simply so much more you can do.
Many successful online shops adopt a dynamic pricing strategy, often resorting to price adjustments to influence sales volumes or frequency. Offer your customers unmissable loyalty discounts or start a flash sale just for your email subscribers.
Need to offload some excess inventory? Throw a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) sale, making sure to email customers who have expressed interest in the products or purchased similar items in the past. Leverage psychology and tap into customers’ fear of missing out (FOMO) by showcasing scarce inventory levels. Game, set, match!
4. Turn your email list into your MVP
When it comes to best practices for sports and leisure e-shops, few marketing campaigns prove to be as versatile as the good old email. As soon as you succeed in capturing your visitors’ email addresses, you can use this channel to resonate with them at a deeper level.
Send first-time visitors “welcome” emails featuring a nicely crafted message and a promo code to encourage them to place their first order. Continue this email stream with newsletters announcing new arrivals, popular products or exclusive offers. If your website has a wishlist feature or if your recipients have already placed orders, let them know when their favorite items go on sale, are back in stock or tempt them with recommendations that go hand-in-hand with their previous purchases.
5. Get social
When thinking about marketing for online sports retailers, the first thing that comes to mind is their incredible power of creating communities. Whether we call them supporters or enthusiasts, people with a shared interest in sports are naturally inclined towards brand loyalty (on condition that said brand is associated with their favorite team, sport, or past-time activity).
Use this to your advantage. Connect with your customers across key social media channels to keep them engaged and build your brand’s reputation. Share content that is meaningful to your audience, such as promotions, tips and tricks, and partnerships with athletes or sports & lifestyle influencers.
Don’t forget about engaging tactics, such as product giveaways or user-generated content (UGC) in the form of quick challenges (e.g. how many squats someone can do in 30 seconds).
Lastly, boost your conversion rates through personalized remarketing campaigns. Expose your visitors to your products and latest deals while they are scrolling down social media feeds and they will surely return to your e-shop for more purchases.
6. It’s all about timing
Sports marketing is closely linked to seasonal and live events, meaning that your campaigns should be carefully timed. Both your email and social media communications should build on pre-event buzz. That implies anything from the National Football League Final to Black Friday.
Consider using a marketing automation tool to send out relevant content at the most impactful times if you seek to minimize your efforts.
7. Frictionless checkout
Cart abandonment is a significant challenge for online shops. Although you can fight this phenomenon with the help of dedicated pop-up or email campaigns, your on-site checkout process is equally important. Endless loading time, lack of encryption, or multiple form filling can dim the excitement of purchasing something new. Give your loyal clients the opportunity to check out in one click by allowing them to use previous information to speed up the process. They won’t be the only ones to thank you. Your income statement will too.
8. Fulfill their dreams
Back to square one. Sports gear can get pricey. Not all of your customers will purchase a treadmill on an impulse. Many will need to save up or will seek to buy on credit. All of these require flexible financing solutions, but there are several in-house alternatives that you can use to make your clients happy.
Take wishlists and gift cards for example. Visitors can save their favorite items, share them with their friends, and use gift cards to make purchases on your online shop up to a certain amount. This means your clients will get one step closer to their ideal birthday gift, their friends will skip the hassle of finding a suitable surprise, and you will boost your sales and consolidate your brand image in front of a wider audience. It’s a win-win-win!
In spite of increasing competition, adopting best practices for sports and leisure e-shops can do wonders to your revenues. As soon as you understand your customers’ particular interests, use this information to communicate with them meaningfully. Keep them browsing your online shop with dynamic pop-ups. Opt for automated emails and build a strong social media presence. If you keep their needs in mind, they will reward you too.