The Essential Guide to Personalisation in the Sports & Outdoor Wear industry The sports and outdoor wear industry has had to stay alert over the past 18 months. The pandemic had a significant impact on the market throughout 2020, with many businesses reporting a decrease in sales. Many brands had to close their high street stores, sporting events were cancelled, and many consumers were stuck at home feeling less-than-active. However, in 2021 demand has increased and continued to look positive. Consumers have shifted the way they engage with sports and the outdoors. And similarly have shifted the way they consume. Furthermore, physical stores are allowed to open their doors once again, and sporting events are gradually opening up to the public. Image Source – McKinsey But with this positive news comes challenges. Increased demand. Increased competition. And increased expectations. In this guide, we will take you through some of the common challenges that the industry is facing, and how to solve them with personalisation. For sports and outdoor wear brands, better starts here. Challenges We’ve already mentioned some of the common challenges facing the sports and outdoor wear industry. Demand, competition, and high expectations. Let’s dig into some of the specifics, and some possible solutions. Changing audiences Lockdown has resulted in a continuous shift in consumer behaviour. 40% of consumers are less active, whilst 30% of consumers are more active. This means that previous assumptions and understandings of audience behaviour desperately need to be re-addressed. And in many cases, started from scratch. For instance, sportswear is no longer only appropriate when playing sports. Instead, as consumers have spent an increased amount of time at home, many are choosing to be comfortable 24/7. This has resulted in the popularity of ‘athleisure’, a hybrid of sportswear and leisure wear that is both comfortable and practical, for work, leisure, and exercise. Understanding their audience Data and analytics is key to understanding consumers, their preferences, and their purchasing data. Sports and outdoor wear bands can no longer make assumptions on their audiences. Instead, they need to be led by the facts. In turn, this will help them to tailor their communications accordingly. Better targeting Similarly, with such variations and shifts in consumer behaviour, one message will not be appropriate for all recipients. To ensure they are targeting effectively, brands need to use their data to ensure their communications are personalised and highly tailored to the recipients’ wants and needs. Digital leap Digital has played a significant part in consumers’ lives over the past 18 months. Instead of outdoor and group sporting events, consumers have turned to digital fitness and experiences. And instead of shopping in stores, audiences have been forced to increasingly turn to eCommerce options for their shopping. Outside of the pandemic, the most progressive ways of marketing are continuously found online. For instance, influencer marketing works particularly well for clothing brands. And online is the best place for these influencers to spread their message and reach a wider audience. Improve online presence As more consumers go online for their shopping and sports activities, sports and outdoor wear brands need to have a significant presence there too. They should aim to have a presence on all the channels relevant to their audience, such as website, email, social media, and video. And to stand out from the crowd, they need to ensure their presence is as engaging and personalised as possible. Execute a seamless buying journey But online presence is almost useless if consumers can’t actually make a purchase. That’s why brands in this industry need to ensure their buying journey is faultless. And that consumers are communicated with throughout the entire process, both pre and post-purchase. Improve online communications Communication is part of both online presence and the buying journey. Whether it be via email, website, or social media. Brands in this industry need to work to keep their online consumers as engaged as possible. Ensuring they are at the front of consumers’ minds when they want to shop. Industry disruption Increases in eCommerce consumerism has resulted in an increase in competition. Retail stores are much easier to open up online than on the high street. And as there is an increased interest in DTC (direct to consumer) and smaller independent brands, challenger brands are opening up online. Many of which are progressive, and lacking the ties to legacy systems and processes. This means they can adapt to consumer demands and higher expectations much easier and faster. Increase brand awareness Brand awareness is essential to get in front of new customers, and also to retain existing ones. With the sports and outdoor wear landscape becoming increasingly competitive, established brands need to stand out from the crowd and ensure they are offering the best products, prices, and services possible. And shout about it. Boost loyalty Similarly, brands need to focus on keeping their current customers happy. After all, it costs 5 times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one. Making efforts to engage with current customers and treat them like VIPs will decrease the chances of them being tempted by the new and exciting online brands that are emerging. Promote locally Another way that brands can compete with online brands is to utilise their bricks and mortar stores. Part of achieving this is to increase promotions to local consumers. Encouraging them to visit the shop for events, sales, and products that aren’t available online. Solutions So now we have identified common challenges facing the sports and outdoor wear industry, and what they should do to solve them. Let’s look at how brands can achieve these objectives. Consolidate data Before marketers can execute any kind of personalisation, they need to get the basics right. And this means getting their data in order to fully understand their audience and to feed any personalisation. This means consolidating all data sources and systems, whether that be online or offline. According to 37% of marketers, successful personalisation needs to pull data from one single source. One that is developed and utilised across the entire business. By doing so, marketers will gain a 360 view of who their audience are, how they engage, and the products they are buying. This can then be shared across the business, so everyone is working from the same point. Here are four ways that brands can consolidate and utilise their data for personalisation: Combine data sources Separate data sources and business systems no longer cut it in 2021. Instead, brands in this industry need to combine all of their data sources into one accessible place. Ensuring that everyone from the business is working from the same information. Data analytics Once this data is collated and organised, marketers can begin to analyse and understand what their audience looks like and how they behave. This will help them to identify their ideal customer and those who are most likely to buy their products. Segmentation Additionally, marketers can use this information to create specific segments to automate highly targeted and personalised campaigns and content suggestions based on demographics, behaviour, preferences, and previous activity. RFM modelling and reporting And once all of this data is in place, marketers can execute RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) modelling and analysis. This helps them to identify customers who are most likely to buy, or those they are most likely to lose. Marketers can then use these segments to communicate accordingly. Behavioural targeting Once brands have organised their data, they can also utilise it to automate highly personalised, relevant communications. Saving them time from sifting through data, or having to create endless email templates. Instead, behavioural targeting utilises automation to do the hard work for them. Enabling them to send the right message, at the right time, to the right person. Without having to lift a finger (almost). Behavioural segmentation Let’s begin with the basics, behavioural segmentation. This process enables brands to create segments from their audience, based on their demographics, their behaviour, their purchases, or their stage in the buying journey. Marketers can then tailor and personalise the content they send to these specific segments and their needs. This could include sending out a promotion for frequently browsed product ranges to those who have yet to make a purchase. Basket abandonment For those consumers who almost made a purchase, but dropped out at the final stage, brands can send out personalised basket abandonment reminders. These promote the item that is left in their basket, and gives them a friendly reminder to complete their purchase. Just in case the consumer wasn’t 100% sure, these emails should also include additional information about the item, delivery, or social proof to offer further reassurance. Alternatively, consider including a discount code. Because 54% of consumers will purchase products left in their basket if they are offered at a lower price. Post-purchase follow-ups For sports and outdoor wear brands, it’s important they don’t stop communicating once the customer has made a purchase. Instead, they should communicate at every stage of the buying journey. Post-purchase, this could include a purchase confirmation, delivery updates, post-delivery check-ins, and ratings requests. This is because after the customer has handed over their money, they’ll be at their most anxious to ensure their purchase is going smoothly. So brands should offer them this reassurance. In-stock notifications A common reason for losing the interest of potential customers is not having their desired item in stock. Instead of losing these consumers, turn this negative experience into a positive one by offering them in-stock notifications. These automated emails will be sent out to the individual when their specific item is in stock, and encourage them to come back and make the purchase. Image Source – NeilPatel.com Dynamic content Dynamic content is the secret weapon of the most progressive and engaging brands. With dynamic content, marketers can automatically generate engaging creative that is up-to-date and unique to the recipient. By adapting their emails and website based on individual shopper’s behaviour and preferences, marketers can offer a truly personalised experience. Throughout the entire customer journey. Product recommendations 80% of consumers like to receive product recommendation emails based on past purchases. But this tactic is also great to encourage shoppers to finally make their first purchase. By using behavioural and purchase data, brands can utilise dynamic content to automatically populate emails and landing pages based on categories and products that the recipient has viewed the most, or has purchased in the past. This could include a relevant add-on product, or an alternative product if the consumer is browsing but not purchasing. Brand Example – Lululemon.co.uk Pricing and availability For some brands, pricing and availability is continuously fluctuating. Brands can ensure their potential customers aren’t left disappointed by utilising behavioural data alongside their data feeds to automate real-time pricing and availability for the products they are most interested in. These will be updated every time a consumer opens their email or refreshes a landing page. This tacit is also great to add urgency to the purchase. If a consumer can see their product is selling fast, they will be encouraged to make their purchase before it’s sold out. Geotargeting Geotargeting is an ideal tactic for brands who are trying to encourage consumers back to their bricks and mortar stores. By using geotargeting alongside dynamic content, brands can promote store openings, sales, and events to the consumers who are closest to the store location. This means that all consumers receive personalised information, and won’t be disappointed by receiving a promotion from a store that is too far away. Image Source – Movable Ink Social proof Dynamic content can also be used alongside social proof to reassure consumers about the purchases they are considering. Brands can pull through relevant ratings, reviews, or even user generated content based on the specific item the consumer is interested in buying. This builds consumer trust, helps to promote the latest trends and fashions, and harnesses FOMO to speed up decision making. Are you a brand in the sports and outdoor wear industry? We understand that significant changes within an industry can be overwhelming, and can really put the pressure on a business. At Pure360, we can help. We have supported other brands in this industry to attract, retain, and engage customers with the use of personalisation, our all-in-one AI marketing platform, and our Customer Success Team. Get in touch today to find out more.