April 8, 2021
The sporting goods industry was uniquely affected by COVID-19 in 2020. Like all retail sectors, the closure of high streets had an adverse effect on sales and revenue. In fact, for the first time since the financial crisis of 2007-2008, sporting goods decreased in sales. However, compared to other retail sectors, it was sporting goods that showed the most promise in making a recovery before the year-end. But why?
Keeping fit during the pandemic is important for both your physical and mental health. Not only can it enhance your mood and energy levels; staying fit helps to fight the effects of the virus. Experts at the Centre for Perioperative Care (CPOC) even advised people to prepare to fight the coronavirus as they would prepare for surgery; by staying fit and healthy.
With gyms closed, team sports canceled, and health fitness all the craze, working out at home became the only option. Despite gyms temporarily reopening, home gym equipment sales saw a massive increase of 5813% for items such as spinning bikes, running shoes, resistance bands, and weights.
However, this was not the case for all segments of sporting goods. The general public was more careful with spending, especially with apparel. Within the confines of your own home, you can work out in your pajamas, old clothes, or a bin-bag as long as you feel comfortable.
With home workouts set to stay in 2021, it begs the question:
All the sporting goods winners of 2020 shared two essential qualities; their ability to adapt and their ability to scale. It’s important to note that the order; to adapt then to scale; is key to their success.
Let’s tackle their ability to adapt first. The definition of adaptability is “the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions” - it’s obvious that having this quality is very useful considering the goings-on that occurred in 2020 and that will extend into 2021.
The sporting goods winners of 2020 are masters of adaptability which is why they’ll keep winning throughout 2021. They continually adapt their product catalog in terms of products, pricing, titles, descriptions, sales, images, and more. Doing this enables them to not only follow trends but to anticipate and, in some cases, create them as well.
Sporting goods winners push items with popularity spikes caused by the pandemic; adjust titles, descriptions, and prices of their available items to create popularity spikes of their own; as well as set-up seasonal product launches well in advance to ensure they’re the first to show the right items at the right times. And these only scratch the surface of their online marketing strategies.
Their ability to adapt is not enough alone; being able to scale up and down is vital. The definition of scalability is “the capacity to be changed in size or scale” - this one might not seem quite as obvious but it’s vital for maintaining a healthy reputation and contributing to a better user experience on the channels you are selling on.
Availability is a huge issue for sporting goods businesses during the pandemic. Alongside adapting product catalogs, sporting goods winners can cleverly scale their catalogs up and down in terms of products and stock depending on the trends caused by the pandemic.
Sporting goods winners scale-up by selling on the most appropriate marketplaces, expanding their product catalog with relevant items, and increasing stock of popular items. While at the same time scale-down by stopping selling on poorly performing marketplaces, contracting their product catalog by removing irrelevant items, and decreasing stock of unpopular items.
As stated, all sporting goods winners of 2020 share two essential qualities. However, this can be refined further. In order to achieve these qualities, all sporting goods winners of 2020 share one essential method; automation. In fact, all successful businesses in every eCommerce sector use feed management software to adapt and scale up or down. Especially those who have profited the most during the pandemic.
Establishing comprehensive strategies for adapting and scaling is a sophisticated process that takes time. Though, there are four simple things you could and should be doing with a feed management tool immediately.
As mentioned, the sporting goods industry is unique as certain categories are performing well while others struggle for sales. Categorizing your products correctly will ensure the most popular categories (such as home workout equipment) are displayed correctly on each channel and thus easy to find and buy.
With Channable, you can also take advantage of smart categorization which makes the process of categorizing easier on platforms such as Google Shopping and Facebook.
A feed management tool allows you to utilize rules to exclude items from being shown on marketplaces for various reasons such as stock levels. Once an item’s stock levels reach zero, it will be automatically excluded from being shown.
For many marketplaces, Channable is able to retrieve orders and update stock levels in real-time. This is possible through fully-integrated API connections which are directly synced with your online shop and the export channel.
Due to the pandemic, the general public is looking for the best deals. And, considering health and fitness is a crowded market, advertising the best-priced option will generate lots of interest in your products. Flash sales and price reductions on both popular and unpopular items are working well for the sporting goods winners. Everybody loves a deal and that’s one thing the pandemic can’t change.
Using Channable, setting up basic sales with specific dates is very simple. Once you’re more experienced, you can use the powerful if-then rule system to set-up more sophisticated sales and promotions. One example a Channable client used is they set a rule to reduce the price of running shoes by 10% when the weather was above 15°C. Taking advantage of Channable’s 3rd party data integration possibilities and the general public’s excitement at being able to workout outdoors.
One positive of the pandemic is that the general public’s interest in being healthy has increased. This has led to many people exploring the world of fitness and sporting goods retail for the first time. Having clear photos, descriptions, titles, and general specifications will make your products more reliable.
Channable ensures that all of the required information for a product is filled in before it’s added to the export channel using a quality-check. Alongside this, changing descriptions and adding more info about your product takes next to no time due to the tool’s user-friendly design.
All of the above and more can be achieved through one simple-to-use tool offered by Channable.
If you would like to learn more about the sporting goods businesses that are using Channable, fill in the form below to download the one-pager. You’ll find testimonials, customer results, and more detail about the tool itself.