HOW SMARTER PROMOTIONS HELP RETAILERS ACHIEVE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
With a record number of people becoming sports and outdoors enthusiasts, sports retail is an attractive and dynamic retail space and it is expanding 3.4% annually, faster than many other sectors of retail.
The major drivers of the retail sporting goods industry are growth in disposable income, governments promoting sports activities and encouraging sports participation, and the growing number of people who see sport as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
People are willing to spend more than ever on specialized equipment and athletic apparel, and they are looking for retailers to provide a one-stop shop that offers a comprehensive selection of sports accessories and equipment for whatever level and budget they choose.
From ultra-light running shoes and moisture-wicking clothing to durable bicycles, tennis rackets, and camping gear, sports retail looks a whole lot different than they did 30 years ago.
Manufacturers have also responded to enthusiasts’ demands, creating lucrative opportunities using innovative materials to design products that are stronger, more lightweight, and seasonally appropriate.
Competitive Market Drives Retailers to Be Assertive
While sports retailing continues to be a growing market, it is also a highly competitive market. In 2015, Credit Suisse foundan estimated 13,400 sports-related chain stores in the US, 11% higher than in 2011.
The inexorable rise of online retailing has diverted some sales away from brick-and-mortar stores, but with a strong omnichannel strategy, retailers can capitalize on additional purchase points, optimize the use of floor space, and enhance their customer experience, rather than rely purely on assortment to differentiate themselves.
With little room for mistakes, retailers need to really understand the market trends and compete for market share ever more aggressively. In some cases, they are choosing to expand their physical store footprint, as demonstrated by US retail chain Dick´s Sporting Goods.
Last week, the retailer acquired the bankrupt Golfsmith International Holdings for $70 million. It plans to keep a quarter of the acquired stores open, presumably strengthening its existing Golf Galaxy line of stores. In addition, Dick’s Sporting Goods has already anticipated the potential of ecommerce and has been bolstering omnichannel capabilities before acquiring the rights to re-direct web traffic from the now defunct Sports Authority website to its website.
Taking the Extra Mile In-store
But the journey shouldn’t stop there. Sport Chek, Canada´s largest sports retailer, for example, has recognized that for many of today’s consumers, their first touch point is online.
To counteract this trend, it has equipped its physical stores with gait analysis technology that can provide consumers with a precise recommendation for shoe, size and fit. 3D displays and RFID technology allow customers to visualize product features and make better-informed buying decisions. Retailers with modular technology platforms such as Openbravo can easily integrate innovative in-store technologies to offer superior customer experience and services which can´t be found online.
Agile Software Platform Essential for Sports Retailers
A web-based, cloud-ready technology platform such as Openbravo Commerce Suite is ideal for sports retailers because it allows them to expand quickly and cost-effectively, whether through organic growth or acquisitions, like Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Real-time inventory visibility and control also helps stores handle large assortments and frequent seasonal changes that are inherent in this sector. In addition, strong inventory capabilities provide the building blocks to build advanced omnichannel services, supporting the implementation of advanced cross-channel scenarios using either ecommerce connectors or by integration with the ecommerce platform of the retailer’s choice.
And finally, Openbravo Commerce Suite supports the adoption of in-store technologies such as RFID and mobile POS with ease. With access to information about applicable promotions, recommended products and services or real-time inventory visibility, retailers can provide a more differentiated, personalized experience that sporting goods customers need and have come to expect.