Tag Archives: basketball

Mass to niche: the way forward for sport retailers?

3 Mar

A recession always brings about changes in customer behaviour; a tightening of purse strings and a re-evaluation of what they value from purchases being the most common. The recent recession was no different. Customers increasingly are demanding better experiences, better quality, better knowledge, better value and longer lasting items from brands – they take added time in making decisions on purchases because margin of income dictates that this makes most sense to the consumer.

What does this mean for sport retailers? Well, customers appear sick of getting poor advice from poorly trained staff, in environments that seem to push all and everything at them. See how Apple have addressed this in their retail environments; staff that have better training and can interact with customer, more focused and relevant offers and flexible store environments. They have rode the economic storm and reaped the benefits.

Step forward Footlocker. They are currently testing a pilot scheme in New York City where by they have created a specialist retail environment for runners called, ‘Run’.  The focus is better equipped staff, better advice and more focused offers, making sure customers walk out of the store with the best product for their needs. Buying running equipment can seem like a daunting experience when you don’t know what you are doing, especially when you are surrounded by all kinds of products from what seems like every possible sport and staff that have been spread too wide that they don’t really know what they are talking about.

Foot locker have created a niche offering around a popular sport, directing attention to what customers are increasingly demanding. Last year they did the same when they combined with Nike to create ‘House of Hoops’ for Basketball fans and players alike, again in New York City. Is this the way forward for Sports Retailers who value and need a presence on the high street? Maybe the strategy involves a few big, key multi sport stores and lot of little specialist offers like what Foot Locker are starting to do. Maybe then sports retailers will start being relevant again, not just for me but also for other hardened consumers across the globe.

Advertisements

Protecting the end-to-end experience

23 Jul

An interesting image broke a few weeks ago of the US mens Olympic Basketball team in their new Nike designed uniforms. The offending piece centered around mens coach Mike Krzyzewski covering Dwight Howards adidas sponsored footwear – blocking the 3 stripes from display. Further controversy surrounded the image was directed at Howard, who while holding the ball blocked the Nike swoosh with his dangling arm.

Nike have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on sponsoring the US team and it’s in their best interests to protect where possible the whole experience from head to toe. In team sports it should be expected that individual stars have their own deals that can often compromise the exclusivity and impact the teams endorser stands to gain.

Take for example Ronaldinho (Brazilian sccer star), at Barcelona he was head to toe a Nike guy, they used him in almost every campaign piece – such is his iconic status and reach. This week Ronaldinho signed for AC Milan, an adidas endorsed team. Adidas immediately announced that they had pre orders of 11,000 Ronaldinho shirts within 2 hours of his shirt number announcement. Nike, like most sports brands, would rather a situation exist where an authentic end-to-end Nike branded experience can be communicated to its audience. Until last week that was exactly what happened whenever he stepped out for FC Barcelona. In contrast Ronaldinho now dones the 3 stripes, with limited visibility given to his Nike sponsored boots.

Past rumors within sport marketing circles tell stories of certain brands paying big money to keep their major stars contracted to teams that have endorsement deals with their brand. The ability to control the whole experience is a scenario any sports manufacturer would want, as the ultimate platform to showcase their brand.

I predict the ability to control this seamless experience to become even more of a prevailing trend in the years to come.

check out full US basketball piece here:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2008/07/nike-vs-adidas.html

http://www.cnbc.com/id/25513177