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Growth calendar    Jan 19, 2022

Fulfilment for industry: Sports equipment

Sport & fitness goods - who among us doesn't appreciate this kind of equipment? Let's see how to properly take care of its fulfilment.

What do you know about the sports equipment industry? 

The sports industry is exepriencing a constant boom and growth, as a healthy lifestyle seems to be one of the top trends of the past several decades. This sector is expanding its offer for new customers, addressing new needs, and adapting existing products to a modern, healthy world. Producers and sellers in this industry have to follow dynamic trends, there are many new ideas, and the product life cycle is rather short.

Chart showing sports market share in D2C strategy.

Sporting goods in ecommerce account for a huge variety of products offered to individual consumers and fitness business entities. Sport ecommerce stores sell such goods as gym equipment, accessories, workout apparel, supplements, and more. These products come in different shapes and sizes, are made from various materials, and can be the subject of specific shipment and selling rules. This is where fulfilment service can be very useful.

Order fulfillment is the process by which a person receives a purchase or places an order in the customer's hands. This process includes warehouses, picking and packing goods, their delivery, and sending automatic emails to inform the client that their order is awaiting shipment.

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Trends and opportunities  

Recent months have shaped the trends for sports equipment according to a new situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Over a year ago, the industry was hit profoundly when many sports facilities were closed, competitions got cancelled, and there were very serious shortages of equipment, spare parts, and apparel because of closed production centres or a lack of employees.

Meanwhile, consumers switched to outdoor activities at home in the garden or the local area, and were looking for products to boost immunity and wellness. So what are the trends that shape the market right now and make companies more competitive, and how are consumers looking to boost their fitness experience?

New technologies 

Technology is present everywhere, including fitness ecommerce goods. Applications, online communities, gamification, and wearables are all connected and building a your-health universe that is not only about sports. Because of this, it’s good for consumers to stay up to date with recent tech and artificial intelligence news.

Sustainability 

If you care about your health and wellness, it's very likely that you are concerned about the environment and ways to keep the world in good condition. Second-hand, zero-waste, and eco-friendly are all slogans that are very catchy in the sports industry.

Personalisation 

This trend is present in various industries, but seems to be especially desirable among sports fans. There are a lot of options for fitness equipment personalisation: custom apparel, individually designed exercise equipment, on-point marketing recommendations, and communication. The possibility to stand out among other athletes is a real customer experience booster.

Storage   

Depending on the sporting goods that a company offers, it may be a huge challenge for them to find the right warehouse to store their products. For example, if you sell supplements then you will need to find the right partner who offers appropriate conditions for such goods. If your business is about selling oversize equipment, it may be good to search for one with attractive pricing regardless of the area required.

Retailers often face the challenge of inventory management depending upon seasonality and customer interests. Traditional store owners need to forecast and update their inventories to avoid loss of sales due to outdated products or the unavailability thereof. An online ecommerce store not only solves the issue of inventory management, but also helps you increase sales. Most ecommerce stores are integrated with their centralised inventory to help with efficient management, thereby avoiding over- and under-selling of stock.

Packaging 

First of all, you must ensure that your products are correctly packaged and the centre is shipping orders without any errors. There are safety regulations and guarantees involved that are applicable regardless of any other warranties, and it is mandatory that you meet the standards because failure to do so could result in penalties.

Products sold must meet certain safety criteria and descriptions. Below are examples of safety standards:

  • Packaging must include detailed instructions for product use, as well as warnings and descriptions of potential misuse, that customers receive in a standard or digital way.
  • Sales personnel must be aware of product descriptions and their correct usage in order to properly relay information to consumers.
  • Quality assurance and customer feedback options.
  • Standards of servicing and repair of products require that facilities have spares or replacements available to consumers. If products are eligible for repair, someone who is skilled and knowledgeable must complete them in a timely manner.

 Returns  

If you want to remain competitive, you have to offer the possibility of returning purchases that don't meet the customer’s requirements. When it comes to sporting goods, clients are always looking for a perfect product that supports their passion and meets their needs. As such, they want to have the option to send back orders that are not appropriate.

When designing the returns process, it is good to choose the right ecommerce platform that supports a smooth flow of reverse logistics. Generally speaking, returns in sporting goods fulfilment are very difficult, but with the help of the right fulfilment partner the process will be quick and easy.

Infographic illustrating the principles of reverse logistics for growing markets.

Summary 

Nowadays, the ecommerce market shapes very specific challenges. Significant numbers of online sales are also made in the sporting goods industry, where the demand for good-quality and innovative products is growing year on year.

This presents a huge opportunity to sports equipment apparel producers and vendors. Focusing on the right sales and marketing strategy while outsourcing difficult logistics processes to fulfilment services providers gives great potential to build international success and offers a clear win-win situation.

Do you feel that some of the recommendations we have outlined would be a problem for you? Need help planning the fulfilment strategy for your business? We are here to help. 

We aim to provide the best possible experience for your customers throughout the entire order fulfilment process. We will not only help you to find the best solutions, but also to optimise specific phases and choose the right partners.

With us you will release your potential: 

  • a single contract gives you a professional service for the entire logistics process;
  • if you want to start selling internationally, you will get access to the intelligent Fulfilment Network;
  • we provide support and expert advice from the beginning of our cooperation;
  • technical assistance for the implementation and integration of our solutions.

How does this benefit your business? 

  • save time and creativity for what you specialise in;
  • opens a new path of expansion for your ecommerce business;
  • achieve a competitive advantage and grow.

What problems can we eliminate? No more: 

  • issues with poor order processing;
  • negotiations;
  • unclear offers;
  • searching for the right logistics operator;
  • reliance on big, corporate players only.

Don’t wait, let us do the fulfilment for you!

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Content Marketing Specialist at Linker Cloud. A digital marketing expert with a demonstrated history of working in the IT industry.

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