Each new season brings a new sport to focus on. Several sports, really. That means new opportunities and new challenges for sports stores. With customers mentally gearing up for their next seasonal sport, your store has to be ready on the starting line, with the equipment, apparel, accessories and other goodies they’ll need, whether they’re competing or recreating.
Seasonality is an issue for every retailer, but when it comes to sports, you simply have to stay ahead of the game. What can you do to make this summer a winning season?
Few stores can “specialize” in every sport, so pick your sports/fitness niche carefully and go deep with merchandise and expertise.
2. Plan ahead
To properly prepare your store with dazzling new displays, you have to predict the future. Keeping an eye on sports trends tells you what's hot right now – or, rather, what will be “hot right now” when the new season arrives. For example, lacrosse has come on strong because both girls and boys can play. This summer, kayaks and paddleboards will be hotter than ever.
Once you have your merchandise line-up on order, you’ll need display fixtures custom-tailored to their dimensions and designed to show off each item:
- Space-efficient racks that hold bulky equipment
- Specialty displays for caps, balls, and bats
- Fun acrylic mannequins
- Racks for small items like socks
- And of course, the footwear wall (slatwall works great for this!)
Feed customer excitement with pre-season displays. Use bold, action colors to designate different departments. Pump up your store’s atmosphere with life-size (or larger-than-life) murals and digital posters of sports heroes in action. Create a “wall of fame” to post photos of customers using your gear, too.
3. Give them room
Sales space is always at a premium, but your customers want to try out products — jog in the shoes, row the canoe, swing the bat or club. Providing plenty of space for that (and making it as realistic as possible) will boost sales and brand your store as the destination with the must-go-there shopping experience.
4. Be a team player
Don’t just stock uniforms for local teams, establish yourself as the “team manager” for all things equipment, using your database to track team purchases and pricing as well as individual team member sizes, etc. Set up a self-serve kiosk so moms can easily see what their kids still need.
5. Be a resource
Hire knowledgeable sales associates and train them well. Promote your auxiliary services such as repairs and classes. Host in-store autograph signings and product demos. Use videos to help customers choose and customize gear.
6. Show your community spirit
Sponsor a team, or field your own. You’ll get great exercise and priceless publicity.
The sports scene is ever-changing, and sports retail is super-competitive. These tips will boost you to the top of your game, establishing your store as the one that delivers winning seasons for customers — this summer and all year-round.