According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, participation in sports keeps increasing. However, seeing big, established sporting companies forced to file for bankruptcy under the pressure of a highly competitive market makes us wonder what needs to be done to be successful in engaging with customers. If people have an increased interest in working out and adapting to a healthier lifestyle, buying behaviors are changing and sporting retailers need to evolve to stay relevant with their target audience.
Customers are not only looking for non-traditional, fashion-focused athletic apparel, but they are also searching for a more interactive and personalized dialogue with the companies they buy from.
How can the sport industry adapt to the new buying patterns and stay top-of-mind?
- Get to know your audience
When facing a lot of competitors, it is important to make sure your customers can easily find your products. Learn about your target market – what are they looking for, how do they interact, what do they like to do? Once you have a consumer profile established, it will be easier to determine the most effective media to engage them.
- Go online
Be where your customers interact. Many people depend on online technology for every decision they make. Make it easy for them to find you online and expand your multichannel presence. To offer your products online is crucial, and it needs to be a very consumer-friendly format.
Once the channel is established, drive people to your site. Online advertising can help you increase traffic and stimulate demand year round. Interactive content will tease users to visit your website and place an order.
SEO is a key foundation to a successful online marketing campaign. By knowing what search engines like Google are looking at to rank websites, we can structure your website and adapt the copy to be relevant. SEO can help you get in front of your audience because if they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.
- Share your story
Public Relations (PR) is an extremely important and cost-effective way to reach potential customers directly. Sharing your expertise and highlighting what makes you different from other brands will help you build credibility and stand out from the competition. By offering fitting information to your customers such as workout and diet tips, sport events updates and athletes’ performances, you will raise awareness and position your brand as an expert.
The performance of local and national sports teams and the popularity of sport events can have an impact on retail sales. It inspires people to be more active. Using what happens in the news and getting involved in the industry will help you stand out and engage with your customers on different topics.
- Inspire your audience
Sport isn’t just about sweating and suffering by yourself anymore. Consumers like to share how fit they are (or trying to be) on social media and show off their new attire and gear.
Share visuals on your social media platforms that will inspire your audience and create a culture where everyone can share their pictures and achievements. Build a community where the members can encourage and motivate each other.