Sports has approached eCommerce in quite a unique way. The industry itself creates huge potential for B2B, B2C and B2B2C. However, this is not necessarily the case in other aspects of retail. This is representation of the variety of business models inherent in the sector. There is the B2C model of sporting goods stores or the B2B2C model of the larger manufacturers. These different models have been able to adapt omnichannel eCommerce with distinct outcomes. The first half of this year has been a true test of the digital strategy of many businesses. Sports have been affected by a change in digital habits. However, it has also changed consumer product choices.
Dick Sporting Goods
On the B2C side we have seen companies like Dick Sporting Goods enjoy the fruit of eCommerce adoption. It achieved its highest ever Q2 in the corporation’s history. The company saw an increase demand in home fitness equipment and athleisure apparel as more people are confined to home. Going forward the growth potential remains strong. This was despite having to close 15% of physical stores during that period. Dick’s approach was to leverage its physical stores as part of a larger eCommerce strategy. Its online store offers varying options like buy online and pickup in-store which has been popular recently. This shows the rewards of an omnichannel strategy as 75% of online transactions were fulfilled in existing physical stores. The company has lauded the impact curbside pickup has had on sales and call it a win win scenario.
It has been a similar story for competitor Hibbetts Sport on its eCommerce operation. The company had increased sales by 75%, growing its online sales by well over 200%. Like Dick’s Hibbets Sports is hedging its future on an omnichannel eCommerce strategy. The results seem to be paying off just as much. The company was a laggard to online sales compared to others in the industry. However, customers respond favorably to this approach. The changes made will probably be permanent. Their website now accounts for as much as 5% of Hibbett’s total revenue. This change comes as the company is going against the grain with plans to open more physical stores. Although, smaller stores. These stores are part of a larger omnichannel eCommerce strategy.
The global sports industry has only really scratched the surface of eCommerce. In some regard the sports sector in general has yet to be catered to specifically. Sports digital commerce covers retail, ticketing, wholesale and other aspects. As a result, digital agencies like DigiCommerce are expected to cater eCommerce offering to this different aspect. Currently, companies are tackling it with effective customization and third party integration. On one hand, sports have long gone digital. However, in other ways sports is still in the infancy of its relationship with eCommerce.