Sporting Goods User Generated Content Lets Fans Speak for Themselves

von Sean Ogino |

Sporting Goods User Generated Content Lets Fans Speak for Themselves

sporting goods user generated content

As I have discussed in this blog, most sports brands and sporting goods manufacturers have to figure out a way to fight the various hurdles of stiff competition, reduced margins, and high production costs for certain types of goods. There’s considerable erosion into the budget done by marketing activities, other ways of reaching out to the masses, and in building a positive image of the brand. But the puzzle is, you have to perform such activities to generate a substantial buzz around the product; and they cost a lot. Sporting goods user generated content can be that piece that solves today’s complicated, and somehow rigid, marketing puzzle.

As the name suggests, Benutzergenerierte Inhalte, or UGC, is the term used to describe any form of content that was created by consumers or end-users and is publicly available to other users. The main point in this definition is the word any. It can be textual, visual, as well as in the aural form. That’s why its scope is too huge. We will look into some of the most effective forms of sporting goods user generated content.

Sporting Goods User Generated Content: Visuals

The most potent weapon of this century as far as generating engagement among customers is concerned is visual content–both images as well as videos. By now statistics like content with relevant images gets 94% more clicks than content without don’t really surprise us. 

The bonus points that sports brand have is that the sports or fitness is a matter of passion for many. If you observe, people often share their photos showcasing themselves in gyms, playing a game with friends, or celebrating a fitness milestone. A sports brand just has to channelize it in an organized way by filtering out better photos. A collection of innumerable photos is quite possible with the help of a unique hashtag. This strategy can be used during the product launch, or promotion of loyalty or referral programs. Even in the absence of such flagship events, this strategy is effective when brand sees that there is a reduction in customer engagement and something needs to be done.

Nike has used the power of images effectively with a simple idea. It knew that it is the most followed brand on Instagram with 65.7m followers. Nike decided to galvanize this huge pool of followers by letting them use Instagram photos to customize their trainers. The campaign was called Nike PHOTOiD.

nike-photo-id

It helped Nike in two ways. First, it helped it in advertising the Nike brand. Second, as there was a chance of creative self-promotion for people, the engagement touched the peak in no time. The campaign was a huge success. At least, results say so.

  • 100,000 shoes created within the first week– and at the peak of the campaign, Nike had 600 shoes being created every hour.
  • Click through rate of 8% to buy the designer shoes on their Nike ID website.

Clearly, Nike succeeded in turning Instagram followers into customers!

Adidas also came up with an idea to leverage the indisputable power of visuals. It joined hands with ESPN to launch a new interactive ad campaign, which gave sports fans the chance to have their skills showcased on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

https://youtu.be/QypkBliIEe4?t=27

It’s easy to use visual sporting goods user generated content without breaking the bank on a splashy ad campaign. Use visual commerce software to collect your customers’ photos via hashtag or on-site upload and use these assets–with the proper permissions–everywhere. Shoppable on-site galleries, marketing emails, social posts, and in-store displays are great places to start.

Visual commerce increases conversion by 5-7% on average. For sporting goods, it’s especially important as shoppers want to see the gear they might buy being used by other athletes, whether they’re playing a casual pickup game or in the World Cup.

eagle-creek-vc

 

Sporting Goods User Generated Content: Ratings and Reviews

The trust and authenticity that Bewertungen und Rezensionen bring makes them an important factor that affects the entire buying process of customers. 70% of shoppers trust this form of UGC over professionally-written marketing content. With sports gear, there is no dearth of people who feel passionately about such things. Customers need to know if your goods will hold up when they’re running, sweating, stretching, and more. If the product is genuinely good, these passionate people will throng your reviews platform with a plethora of positive reviews.

You can also become proactive when it comes to obtaining this sporting goods user generated content. As most of the ratings and reviews platforms come with the ability to give granular details, it’s very easy to know if there are people who constantly write well about your products or rate them highly. You can target these shoppers with tailored messages. Or, reward users for contributing with entries into contests, discounts, or loyalty points. Vivobarefoot, a British athletic footwear brand, uses their loyalty program–which works as a unified whole across all its sites–to incentivize review-writing, among other actions.

vivo-loyalty

Sporting Goods User Generated Content: Questions and Answers

Frankly speaking, a questions and answers platform has a two pronged impact. On the one hand it helps customers in getting important knowledge from their fellow customers as well as from product experts. This is crucial, as many types of sports gear have fairly technical specifications, and shoppers’ needs vary a lot.

Questions and Answers can also become an effective tool for online reputation management. Knowingly or unknowingly people write things which are far removed from reality. And in the abundance of social media and multiple consumer forums, it’s almost impossible to keep track on each and every written word that is against your brand. In such matters, people make their opinions quickly-often blindly. It can be a dangerous thing when look at it from the brand’s status point of view. One bad experience, which can be a complete exception, may propel someone to write, for example, that the tennis ball that you are manufacturing doesn’t last long. If that’s not the case, it’s easy to use Questions and Answers to clear up any misconceptions.

The most noticeable part among all the above discussed forms of the UGC is that apart from being cost savers, especially when compared with the cost that goes into ads, they work on the principle of consumer participation. Looking at the ready-made madness and passion that this industry generates among its customers, it should top the priority list of every sports brand!

Loyalty for Sporting Goods Brands is an Easy Win

basketball

As The Wall Street Journal notes, amidst the negativity created by the Sports Authority and Sports Chalet filing for bankruptcy, many sporting goods companies are on the verge of loosing their steam.  One of the main reasons cited by a survey from the Sports & Fitness Association suggests that there is no decline in the people’s participation in sports, but they have spent less money on team sports since 2013. It has also revealed that though people are working out more, they might be working out differently than they used to, i.e., they are failing to see a need for new sporting equipment and loyalty for sporting goods is declining.

Of course, this is not to intend that all sports goods manufacturers are doing badly. But, more or less, it’s a warning alarm for the entire industry. Besides, apart from the recent lack of enthusiasm of the people as far as the buying of sporting goods is concerned, sporting goods manufacturers have always faced challenges. Most of those hurdles could be overcome, though, with the help of big data. As we know, buying data from market research companies is a costly affair. Plus, it’s an extremely passive way of getting that data as it scores zero when comes to customer engagement. The sports industry needs a way out of this, which will give it customer data along with a tint of customer engagement. The solution that brings the industry closets to these aims is a well-designed and executed Programm zur Kundenbindung. Now, we will see how loyalty for sporting goods helps manufacturers in particular with the challenges they’re facing.

Loyalty for Sporting Goods Mitigates The Seasonality of Products

Unlike consumer packaged goods, the demand of sporting goods isn’t constant throughout the year. As spring gets in, demand for baseball equipment soars; in fall, soccer gear gathers all the demand. Until now manufacturers have been battling with these demand fluctuations by adjusting their product development cycle accordingly. But due to the unpredictable weather, which is the outcome of the very real problem of global warming, it has become impossible for the manufacturers to stay in line with that streamlined product development cycle. John McKenna, president of McKenna Logistics, a Canada-based third-party logistics (3PL) provider that handles athletic products, throws a light on this pain when he says, “A few years ago, spring arrived early and bikes started selling in March, instead of later in the year as usual,” says McKenna. Those kinds of unexpected changes mean we have to be dynamic with labor, and our walls have to be elastic to handle sudden product influxes.” Thus you need a realistic and predictable barometer to decide your production plan.

Through loyalty for sporting goods data, manufacturers are able to peep into the behavioral and preferential traits of customers. They can monitor the exact demand of a particular product in a particular season. It’s easy to judge on the basis of sales happen at multiple geographical demographics. In the wake of globalization, where countries’ boundaries have become porous, this is a must if they aspire to become a global genius of sports goods. Similarly, it helps their retail partners who have always struggled in forecasting their sales. They can be saved from the horror of losing out sales due to lack of inventory if demand surges. Obviously, as production has been done by taking care of demand based on the scientific data, they don’t have to be worried about the dead inventory. Remember that if manufacturers fail to get rid of dead inventory, they as well as retailers will have to sell those products for peanuts. Revenue can suffer a lot due to this.

Loyalty for Sporting Goods Helps Decreasing Margins

Much like the electronics industry, most of the sporting goods products are manufactured in China or Taiwan with the belief that the low labor cost will make the manufacturing sustainable. But the local businesses have been learning the trade quickly to pose a serious competition. This is snatching the safety net of China away from many manufacturers.

Likewise, due to lack of business intelligence in the form of customer data, many manufacturers are suffering with dead inventory. Along with this, rising material costs, ascending warehousing and store costs, etc. are all eroding profit margins. The only option that is left for manufacturers is to cut the cost at all possible avenues. The other way is to up the sale to compensate the loss.

As the dynamism of loyalty makes people to stay with you, it ups the customer retention rate. And a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing cost by 10%. Also, increasing customer retention rate by 5% increases profit by 25 to 95%. The financial health of the manufacturers, therefore, can be safeguarded by a loyalty program. In the heat of decreasing margin, it becomes ultra-important!

Loyalty for Sporting Goods Boosts Engagement

This problem of lack of direct connection with the end customers due to the intricate web of retailers, suppliers, distributors and vendors isn’t a unique one. Like all manufacturers, sports goods manufacturers have to deal with it. But the problem gets accentuated with them due to the seasonality, as discussed earlier. Whether you are a manufacturer of football, baseball, soccer, basketball, or hockey goods, all seasons come to an end. And with this, there is a danger of ending customer engagement with the manufacturer as well. There is not much difference between decreased engagement and decreased sales.

A loyalty program serves as an effective antidote to disengagement. When you create a separate widget for your loyalty program on your website, with a promise of lucrative rewards, your customers at least have a reason to come to your website and share their contact details. You can keep fueling their excitement throughout the year by sending them the interesting information. Now, it’s not a rule that you should talk about your loyalty program all the time through this communication. You can talk about the incentives that your loyalty program offers. But just to kill the monotonality, which is the scourge of this kind of communication, you should also talk about the interesting happenings in the world of sports. You can have a tie up with a reputed sports magazine. Apart from avoiding the fall of interest levels, it makes the whole loyalty program highly desirable. It’s enough to put you in a different compared to your competitors.

The reason why loyalty programs, as discussed above, are able to tackle most of the origins of sports goods manufacturers’ headaches lie in their nature. Success, especially in the sports industry, always needs understanding—and managing—the ebb and flow of market demand and perpetual consumer engagement. And loyalty programs deliver immaculately, accurately and scientifically on these main fronts. When you look at it under the light of the speculations of the industry’s growth with a CAGR of 3.4% over 2015-2020 due to reasons such as enhanced disposable income, governments promoting sports activities and encouraging sports participation, the rising number of health-conscious people, loyalty programs shine with unprecedented importance.

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