E-commerce in the Sports Equipment sector

Aleksandra Stankowska

The sports industry continues to grow and is becoming one of the largest sectors in the world, due to the growing awareness of the impact of sport on health and stress reduction.

The industry is experiencing constant growth and is characterized by very rapid adaptation to new trends. It is also expanding rapidly in the digital world, which is now almost the main sales platform.  

The sports equipment sector includes all sorts of items, from sports clothing and training equipment to accessories of all kinds, outdoor and camping equipment and even nutrients and supplements. Almost everyone buys them, even those who have nothing to do with sport. After all, comfortable sportswear can also be worn while working in the garden or lying on the sofa. The industry has annual sales of around $45 billion in the US alone, and is expected to generate over $200 billion in revenue annually by 2024.

In 2020, for the first time since the financial crisis in 2007/08, the industry we are discussing has declined somewhat. Among other things, due to the successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies ceased operations altogether and others found themselves financially down. However, sellers of bicycles and fitness equipment were still in high demand from buyers. The increase in physical activity during another lockdown probably surprises no one.

The impact of the pandemic on individual disciplines varied. It all depended on what was currently prohibited by the subsequent lockdown, whether a particular physical activity was available or prohibited. In particular, interest in group and indoor sports declined, while outdoor and home training sports increased – especially among women.

We decided to analyze our sports equipment clients’ results to show what the industry looks like from the inside and the impact of marketing automation tools. We’ll provide some brief insights on this topic which may help you in running your e-commerce.

Our customers are small, medium and large online shops from Europe and South America that sell sports equipment, accessories, specialist clothing and outdoor and camping equipment. The results we are about to present have been given as an average for the sake of our clients’ privacy, as have the monetary values.  

Let’s start with the most important for any retailer – revenue. As much as 21% of our customers’ total revenue can be directly attributed to edrone functionality.

Revenue is definitely a very important issue for any business. However, this percentage result is not as impressive as the one we will now move on to. Our clients have seen an almost fourfold increase in the number of users who return to shops to make repeat purchases. This result clearly shows how results can change as you start using Marketing Automation tools.

This is a very important result, especially as the average value of one shopping basket in this sector is quite high. It is therefore very pleasing that so many customers return again and again to buy more products. This also shows the seasonality of many sports. Customers return from time to time to buy products that suit the season. To prevent a drop in sales during the low season for particular sports, consider using marketing automation tools. These can help to minimise the impact of the low season by increasing the frequency of purchases.  

It is also worth mentioning that professional athletes or those who play sports regularly are constantly striving to improve their performance and invest in new and better equipment from time to time. In this case, cross-selling can be invaluable, thanks to which your shop can significantly increase the – already high in this sector – average order value by offering compatible products to users. This is all the more important in the case of regular sportsmen and sportswomen, who usually stock up on accessories and equipment suitable for their sport from head to toe. Additional products will certainly make them happy.

This is not the end of the great results. By combining Pop-ups and Web Layers with Email Marketing scenarios, our clients saw their subscriber base increase by an incredible 32.4%!

This is a great result, especially if you want to stay in touch with your customers. With such a broad contact base, you will be able to reach even more people. By using the automation processes that are at the heart of the edrone system, you can be sure that your rates will start to rise immediately. This sector is characterised by above-average Open Rate (49.2%!), CTR (14.16%) and Conversion Rate (4.03%), even with an average number of active scenarios of 5.2.

Moving on, the average number of Newsletter campaigns per month for our customers is 3.2. This is still below average. Nevertheless, thanks to edrone’s personalised newsletters, our clients in the sports equipment sector have achieved above-average results: Open Rate (15.9%), CTR (2.07%).

As mentioned above, the higher the number of contacts, the better the contact with your customers, whom you will be able to easily inform about your bestsellers, new offers, announcements, as well as to remind them that it’s time to buy skis before the winter holidays or a diving kit before an ocean holiday!

From our observations, the most commonly used automation scenarios with our clients were Recover Abandoned Cart, Newsletter Subscription, Restore Viewed Products, Recommendations and Cross-Selling.

General sector insights show a continued interest in sports products. People play sports with varying frequency and focus on different sports, but due to the sheer number and variety of sports, sports equipment is always in demand. Regardless of the time of day, day of the week or season. Usually, a given period has several sports corresponding to it, so similarly, sales of necessary accessories or equipment remain at a good level.

Another important observation is that often our relatives or friends share our passion for sport, so loyalty programmes can work particularly well in this sector. Even if it’s not the same sport, simply recommending a shop or informing them of a discount code in exchange for a first purchase or registration is a great opportunity to gain new customers.

Aleksandra Stankowska

She cares about good quality content. Believes that success in e-commerce depends on the right approach. She claims it is good to know something about everything, but specializes in modern marketing.

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