This summer has been full of exciting sporting events and, with that, increased demand amongst consumers for sportswear as they support their favorite personalities or strive to improve their own fitness. For brands with the capability to pivot and react to these sudden sportswear peaks, the opportunity for increased sales and profitability is compelling. Keeping up, however, is easier said than done. Much like a race, to be in it with a chance of winning, preparation is essential.
Here are five top tips for sports brands on how they can effectively leverage the sporting season for both short and long-term wins:
- Implementing the right infrastructure for success
To reap the awards on offer, being adequately set up to fulfill orders quickly and seamlessly is essential, and this begins with having the right infrastructure in place. A multi-node fulfillment strategy, that takes advantage of several micro-distribution centers strategically located close to customers, can be particularly powerful. When teamed with an effective Distributed Order Management (DOM) system, brands can easily locate and route stock to fulfill orders quickly – an essential for time-sensitive sporting events.
Managing increased stock levels is also an important consideration and can be challenging if adequate warehouse capacity isn’t available. This is where brands should look to alternative fulfillment solutions such as the pop-up distribution center which can be used as temporary and quick-to-implement warehouses to accommodate sudden spikes in demand. If a pop-up distribution center isn’t an option, brands can also look to leverage and maximize existing space using their physical location and storerooms to fulfill online orders by adding cloud-based omnichannel solutions.
- Making sure stock doesn’t run dry
During the sporting season, there is a small window of opportunity for brands to get it right, and ensuring sufficient stock is pivotal to this to avoid customer disappointment. To keep up, brands need to be able to forecast as accurately as possible to ensure they are prepared with ample stock. Luckily, in recent years big data obtained from eCommerce platforms, search and previous purchasing history has become a vital tool when it comes to trend spotting – enabling brands to plan ahead and make the most of every sportswear peak opportunity.
Having a warehouse management system in place is another crucial part of the puzzle. By implementing an effective system, brands can be aware of where all their stock is located and if, for example, the central warehouse is out of a size or color, brands should be able to easily check their stores and reallocate stock as necessary.
- Using promotions for a competitive edge
Another top tip for success is centered around promotions. Wimbledon, for example, often results in an increase of smart attire being purchased for those in attendance and is often easy to forecast due to consistency in dates and formality. Brands can take advantage of this and create designated pages on the website to make it easier for customers to find appropriate outfits. Using big data can enable retailers to spot trends within consumer shopping habits and personalize offers and advertisements served to customers on and off the platform, aiming to inspire a purchase.
- Keeping up with customer service
Customer service often comes as an afterthought for brands tackling peaks in demand, yet it is one of the most important factors to consider when retaining loyalty. According to our own research, 42% of US and UK shoppers state they would stop shopping with a retailer or brand if they don’t provide good customer service.
Seasonal peaks, however, can cause additional strain on contact centers making it more important than ever for brands to look to drive greater efficiency. This is where advances in technology can be extremely effective. Today, with the right offerings, customers can track orders themselves without needing to pick up the phone and contact directly. When contact with the brand is necessary, contact center staff can arm themselves with real-time order information by integrating your website and order management system.
- Be prepared for sportswear peaks!
Last but by no means least, brands must be prepared. Although taking advantage of seasonal sporting events can provide brands with huge profit potential, being unprepared can lead to disaster. To succeed, brands must ensure they have the right team, partnerships, and strategies in place ahead of time. By doing so, they can scale up and down as needed throughout the year, to not only keep up current spikes, but future spikes that may be less predictable.
For support on keeping up with sportswear peaks and other seasonal spikes, reach out to PFS for advice – from the initial planning, trend spotting and marketing to distribution, fulfillment and aftercare.