10 Tips to Optimise your Sporting Goods eCommerce Store

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10 Tips to Optimise your Sporting Goods eCommerce Store

The online sale of Sporting Goods is here to stay.

The boom in sports eCommerce took place during the beginning of the pandemic. People were forced to stay at home. While the sports halls and gyms were closed, many people invested in equipment allowing them to carry out their workout at home. In this article we’ve listed 10 tips how to sell more sporting goods online:

woman working out at home

1. Use product videos

In the past few years, a lot has happened in content marketing, and video content is more important than ever. Use product videos to introduce new models and lines. Having good product videos can be crucial to get purchases.

Product close-up video

Product close-up videos zoom in on your product, and display specific features viewers may not see in pictures, or demonstrate a function that has to be observed very closely. Or they can simply show your product from multiple angles.

Product overview video

This type of video gives the customer a more in-depth overview of the product.

The customer can learn more about the features and benefits of your product. Usually, this type of video features someone demonstrating the product and explaining why you should consider buying it.

man promoting running shoes

2. Focus on the shopping experience

Get to know your customers and help them find what they are looking for as fast and smooth as possible. It should be easy to navigate in your sports eCommerce store. A product should be available within a few clicks.

Here are some things you can do to increase the trust of your visitors:

​​Good customer service

Good customer service is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential for good sales.

Make sure your customer service can handle all the questions about your products and equipment that your customers may have. Be available by phone and email every day.

Ecommerce Chatbots

Chatbots are a useful service for online shoppers. They can - for example - help to inform customers when products are out of stock and suggest alternatives. They can also be used to inform customers about delivery, order status or even suggest products based on what the customer is looking for.

chatbot illustration

3. Improve your eCommerce Navigation

Navigation is one of the most important features for your eCommerce site to convert. If the technology or design doesn’t work as it should, the potential customers quickly disappear. The home page is your display window, and the purpose is for it to inspire, create trust, security and attract the desire to buy.

Create a positive browsing experience for your customers

Visitors should quickly understand what you are offering, without having to scroll and click too much. If a potential customer visits your eCommerce site and finds that it is too difficult to navigate, they may not take the time to go through the site properly. They may bounce and search for another eCommerce site instead.

Ensure navigation on your home page is easily found.

Position the navigation bar where customers expect it. Horizontally, along the top, for example. Make sure navigation is placed in the same location on every page of your site. Consistent use of menu design, colours and font will help customers become familiar with your site and feel at ease when browsing.

4. Bet on second-hand sales

Customers are more aware and interested in what they are buying, and there has never been as much talk about the environment and sustainability as there is right now.

What goes around, comes around!

A good way to meet a customer’s demand is to offer a second-hand service where you sell products second-hand. Offer an easy way to send in items that were previously purchased at your online sports store, and sell the product again. Good for both the environment and customer’s wallets.

Used sports equipment

Among the most sought-after products are children’s bikes and products whose new price is relatively high, skis, canoes, and sports equipment, for example.

child on a bike

5. Use social commerce

Combining eCommerce with social media is very powerful. It enables consumers to explore and find products that they are not usually looking for initially on a fashion eCommerce site.

60% of consumers use social media to research new products and services.

See it - click it - buy it

Currently, social media platforms that allow social commerce consist of, among others, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok.

They make it possible for customers to see a product on the app, hit the “buy now” button, and then complete the purchase right there, still in the app. Pinterest doesn’t work the same way, where the customers are redirected to an eCommerce site, and can therefore not complete the purchase in the app.

Social commerce growth

Social commerce is expected to account for 4.3% of all retail eCommerce sales in the US in 2021, according to Business Insider. Emarketer forecasts that social commerce will rise from $34.8% billion to $36.09 billion in 2021.

6. Use Reviews to boost sales

Online shoppers research before making a purchase, by gathering information about the product they want to buy. Reading users’ experiences, product reviews and ratings is a part of the purchase decision.

Ask for feedback, and take advantage of it

Did you know that...

  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Only 12% of consumers ignore reviews before making a purchase.
  • 85% of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews before making their decision.
  • 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4-5% increase in the conversion rate.

If you ask for feedback for a product and show that you publish it when it is received, you will get more honest feedback from your customers. Both good and bad. When you get feedback, you can act on it and improve. You can choose: no feedback and fewer sales, or learn from the feedback and sell more.

Socialise with your customers

A company with only positive reviews doesn’t feel genuine; customers will suspect reviews are fake if there are no negative ones.

Make sure that you have a response strategy that can handle all reviews. Both positive and negative. Dissatisfied, angry, customers are more likely to write a review than happy, satisfied customers.

One thing that is for sure is that bad reviews are not necessarily bad for business. If a retailer responds well, it often leads to purchases by hesitant buyers. It is important to know how to turn a negative review into an opportunity.

ratings illustration

7. Automate your online merchandising

Be more productive and save time by automating your online merchandising. Make sure you don’t market sold-out products on the homepage at any time.

A manual merchandising approach won’t do it

Online merchandising, carried out manually, can never deliver the sales growth required to justify retailers’ huge investment in driving quality traffic to their online stores. It has too many limitations.

There are simply not enough merchandisers out there, nor hours in the day, to effectively analyse the huge amounts of customer and product data required to optimise product exposure in real-time across catalogues running to tens of thousands of products.

What you need is a system powered by AI and machine learning and predictive analytics based on customer behavioural data, context and crowd wisdom. It presents each shopper with the most relevant selection of products, ordered in an optimum way to maximise sales.

Catching eCommerce trends

One of the most common complaints from online retailers is about a lack of agility. Many lose out on vital sales, and longer-term brand loyalty through a failure to react quickly to trends, especially micro-trends driven by social media. It can take at least 24 hours to respond - that is simply too late.

Merchandising powered by AI and machine learning technologies change the game by automating product assortment and sort order decisions. Trends are spotted in real-time, and everything from search and recommendations to promotional panels instantly push trending products to the foreground, and the system adapts just as quickly once trends fizzle out.

Humans and machines doing what they’re best at

Of course, the route to retail success is not solely one of more sales, it’s also about driving cost and resource efficiency. For online retailers still relying on manual merchandising, that is particularly difficult, since scaling up teams to do more of the same is expensive.

In truth, much of the day-to-day merchandising job is one of number crunching - a task that is ideally suited to computers. AI and automation completely change the nature of merchandising. The day-to-day decisions are in the hands of computers - reacting to massive amounts of customer data in real-time.

That leaves merchandisers to focus where their skills can have the greatest impact - in making higher level, strategic and creative decisions.

8. Size guides

It’s important to offer as much information as possible about the garment, shoes, and equipment. The dimensions of each size, which size the model in the picture is wearing, etc.

Size charts

Make sure you have a size chart that your customers can use as a guide to find the right size for clothes and shoes.

AI is always a good idea

Let your customers fill in their body measurements and create an AI model that is looking like themselves. That way, they can try out clothes and shoes online and get an idea of how the clothes will fit in real life. It’s also a good idea to recommend which size your loyal customers should buy, based on previous orders.

9. Personalised Product Recommendations

Product Recommendations make online shoppers more likely to complete their purchase and contribute to improved cross-sells and up-sells. Products are suggested based on the collective interest as well as the unique visitor’s history. Utilising machine learning and AI is great to ensure that relevant products are recommended, and to increase the average basket size, leading to higher conversion and increased sales.

Increase the shopping cart value

There is a golden opportunity to recommend products based on the items in a visitor’s cart. These product recommendations are used for both cross-selling and up-selling and to push the order value above a certain limit (e.g. the required spend for free delivery) by recommending products that will pass the threshold value.

Give abandoned products another chance

These are customer-based recommendations of products from the customer’s abandoned cart. The system remembers the visitor's previous intentions and gives these products a new chance.

sports equipment

10. Offer several payment methods

The more payment options you offer, the more likely you are to appeal to a wider audience. The easier you make it for people to pay you, the more likely it is that you will have more money coming in.

Did you know that 12% of online shoppers cancelled their last purchase because it wasn’t possible to pay in the way they wanted to?

Swish

Swish is one of the fastest-growing payment methods in Sweden, and for the ages 18-40 Swish is the favoured online payment method. Swish currently has 7 million users and saw growth of 100% in 2020.

Klarna

Through Klarna, a Swedish payment and shopping service for eCommerce sites, online businesses and stores increased their gross sales by 46% to $56 billion in 2020.

The popular checkout alternative that Klarna is offering, was connecting to Swish this summer. That way, eCommerce consumers can now choose to Swish via Klarna Checkout or in Klarna’s app when they order their products online.

PayPal

PayPal is a global online payment business allowing users to make payments and money transfers online; the service is often considered the leader of the online and mobile payment market. According to Statista, there are 403 million active PayPal users across the world right now in 2021.

Stripe

Stripe supports payments online and in-person from customers around the world. If you currently have a bricks-and-mortar store, you can add a Stripe POS system in addition to the gateway on your eCommerce store. This way you can remain consistent across both marketplaces.

Make sure your checkout process is as good as it can be. Online shoppers are changeable, they have so many stores to select from and a limited amount of time. They will leave your eCommerce store if your checkout isn’t running smoothly.