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Sports Apparel Industry: E-commerce Trends & Necessities

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Abhinav Chandrayan

Abstract:

Colorful sports team shirts hanging at clothes railsE-commerce has given companies in the sports apparel and sports industry the novel opportunity to better manage their products, reach new audiences, and thereby increase their e-commerce sales. Sports apparel companies have been more resilient during the coronavirus pandemic than the rest of the apparel industry. There is a rapid growth in the number of health and fitness-conscious individuals across the globe which is driving the growth of the sports apparel market.

 Editorial:

In the recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the number of health and fitness-conscious individuals across the globe in order to avoid the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and others. The right sportswear can enhance the athletic performance during workout and recovery, which has surged the demand for sports apparel. The sportswear is designed in way to boost the overall performance of individuals by supporting the right muscle groups during the workout. Sports apparel gives protection in the areas where it is needed the most and also helps in effectively performing the workout.

In sports apparel market, product launches and business expansion among leading companies, along with partnership with national teams and popular clubs for jerseys, is projected to drive the demand for the sportswear. The sports apparel market is anticipated to garner $267,576.3 million by 2028, increasing from $183,609.7 million in 2020.

eCommerce Trends and Necessities in the Sports Apparel Market

E-commerce has given companies in the sports apparel and sports industry the novel opportunity to better manage their products, reach new audiences, and thereby increase their e-commerce sales. Sports apparel companies have been more resilient during the coronavirus pandemic than the rest of the apparel industry. As businesses are slowly and steadily recovering from the shutdowns due to the unprecedented times, it’s now more important than ever to understand the growing industry trends and the essential functionality that e-commerce brands in the sports apparel industry to increase e-commerce sales and grow the conversion rate. The latest trends in the sports apparel industry are as follows:

 

  • Personalizing Experiences and Customizing Products

 

From professional sports team gear to customized & engraved sportswear and more, there are numerous ways to personalize the experience of customers with a particular brand. It is better for companies or brands to utilize customer demographics, such as gender, age, and geographic location, to offer product recommendations to each contact in the database. Leveraging this data can help companies to offer products that are more likely to be purchased by the intended audience.

Though customized products are not unique to the sports apparel industry, it’s important for eCommerce merchants to pay attention when building an engaging marketing strategy. However, it can be tough to compete with big box retailers. Offering customized products via the brand’s eCommerce store is one of the best ways to leverage existing customer data to stand out from the competition.

Moreover, personalizing users’ experiences throughout the customer lifecycle with the brand is the key to gaining and increasing customer loyalty and driving repeat purchases. Prior to purchase, brands should engage with their prospective customers, but should not forget about post-purchase as well. Using tools to send customers personalized messages to their cell phones can help. After a purchase is made by a customer, send them a text message or app notifications with an order confirmation, shipping update, and delivery details.

 

  • Multi-Channel Selling

 

In this day and age, social media is more prevalent than ever. Ads are constantly bombarding people each day and friends are sharing their favorite products and brands online. This is why it has become easy for consumers to jump on the trend and make a quick decision of purchase via a social media app. This offers a great opportunity for eCommerce merchants to reach broader audience and transform more prospects into customers by selling on other platforms as well.

Leveraging Instagram eCommerce to show off company’s products, tagging products in posts, and creating an easy on-platform shopping as well as checkout experience is highly recommended for companies functioning the sports apparel market. This is because Instagram shopping allow merchants integrate their product catalog along with their Instagram profile, which makes it easy for businesses to display all inventory. Besides, Pinterest and Facebook are great platforms too, to enhance the eCommerce advertising strategy. All these online platforms create smooth shopping experiences and let’s merchants to reach an array of consumers that may not have otherwise reached.

 

  • Mobile Friendliness

 

Nowadays, the prevalence of cell phones has many consumers constantly checking their devices, which represents a vast opportunity for eCommerce brands to cater their website designs to include those who shop on mobile.

It is observed that about 40% of shoppers exit a website if the page that they open or land on takes more than 3 seconds to load. A huge percentage of potential customers cab be lost just because of a slow site speed. Thus, it is important for brands to make sure that their website provides a great user experience across all devices. This means make sure a quick site speed, simple navigation, fast loading time, easy-to-use search bar, and one-page checkout.

 

  • Influencer Marketing

 

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that occurs when ‘influencers’, or those with a substantial presence on social media platforms, partner with companies or brands to create and share content of the brand’s services or products to their audience. Many businesses in the sports apparel industry, like Lululemon and Under Armour use influencer marketing to drive online traffic and sales, and reach new audiences.

A majority of the time, influencers are paid to express a certain opinion about a product or brand and also for posting a piece of content. This helps brands to increase their reach by getting in front of a whole new audience. Thus, it’s crucial that brands work with influencers that are related to their industry. For instance, Lululemon partners with well-known yoga instructors and surfers, while Under Armour partners with professional athletes that align properly with the image of their brand. Both of these companies work with influencers reaching new audiences and increase their sales.

The Bottom Line

During the start of 2020, consumers were almost half as likely to shop in-store as compared to online. The coronavirus pandemic has made people to try to minimize non-essential trips to retail stores. Besides, the healthy lifestyle preference of people has gone beyond food and into sportswear retail. Mainstream sports apparel suppliers such as Adidas, Nike, and Under Armor have significantly grown their investment in sportswear. The COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to accelerate the ascent of the already growing sportswear trend within the sports apparel industry. This trend is gaining popularity among the younger demographic and is rapidly spreading around the world.