According to an article by Sportico, Americans were more active in 2020 than in prior years and individual sports such as skateboarding and tennis saw participation increase by more than 20 percent.
Before you race to the finish line, you’ll want to have a strategic business plan in place that will allow your entrepreneurial endeavors to be a long-term success. This entails aligning with evolving dynamics and accelerated changes that have taken place in the sporting goods industry as a result of the pandemic. Outdoor individual sports and home workouts had a significant increase in participation due to the fact that these activities were more accessible during lockdown. Having an awareness of relevant industry trends and forecasts will prove to be an invaluable asset for you as an entrepreneur. Below are some observations that present growth opportunities for your sporting goods retail shop.
Athleisure As An Everyday Look
Even before COVID-19 came into the picture, athleisure was a growing trend. As a result of the pandemic, more people have continued to work from home and the lines between our personal and professional lives have become more blurred. It is not out of the question to wear LuluLemon to a work meeting via Zoom and after signing off, go for a run. With more people on the hunt for clothing that is comfortable and fashionable, sporting goods stores need to tap into their creativity and resources to take their piece of this popular athleisure pie.
Sustainability Is A Bigger Priority
Consumers are becoming more aware and engaged with the mission of a brand. They don’t simply shop at a place because of the product or service being offered – they shop at a place because they feel their priorities and beliefs align with the business. Sustainability has begun to take front and center stage when it comes to the concerns of the consumer. Being more environmentally conscious and responsible has become the onus of the companies to utilize sustainable materials and supply chains when possible. As a sporting goods store, you’ll want to stock items that are made from plastic-free or recycled materials when possible. Or seek opportunities to support nonprofit organizations working in the environmental arena. Show that you care and others will care about your company.
“2020 was challenging, but 2021 will also be demanding. It will offer great opportunities for those who have adapted operations and have the consumer at the center of their efforts.”
– J. Preston, president and CEO, New Balance
Online Fitness Communities Are In Demand
Due to social distancing and quarantine requirements, there was a significant shift toward digital fitness. Although streaming a workout class will never fully replace traditional in-person fitness (gyms and sports teams), it has shed some light on the benefits of a hybrid model. Online fitness programs offer convenience and a sense of community that is definitely appealing to today’s society. For that reason, we believe this is a trend that is here to stay. Finding ways to incorporate equipment or accessories that can enhance the at-home workout experience is an active lifestyle sector that is worth considering.
Building Better Consumer Experiences
As people continue to make their way back into the real world and get back to “normal,” it is important for retailers (including your sporting goods store) to find ways to deliver elevated and seamless experiences to the consumer. One of the main benefits brick-and-mortar locations have over the online only retailers is the chance to foster more meaningful relationships with the customers and to enhance brand loyalty. Having a physical store allows you to answer questions on the spot, sell the benefits of your product, build rapport, and have more fun by hosting events and thinking outside the box.
A General Rule Of Thumb Is Not To Be Too General
Kick the idea of competing with the big-box sporting goods stores to the curb and instead, define your niche market! It would be wise to cater to specialty sports that have become increasingly popular in over the last year:
Honing in on these types of activities can set your business apart, making you the go-to as an expert retailer. When you are niche-specific, you can cover all aspects of that particular sport without the risk of being knee-deep in stalled inventory. You may want to consider other niches like sports memorabilia, youth sports or athletic apparel, rather than a generalized sports equipment store. At tBp, we know what it means to be one-of-a-kind, as we offer a live, work, and play environment you won’t find anywhere else. Now it’s your turn to define your unique sporting goods brand identity and wholeheartedly embrace — after all, authenticity is all the rage these days.