The recent explosion of e-commerce affected several categories, but the sporting goods vertical might be the strongest example of how making strategic choices in the face of unprecedented challenges can lead to phenomenal growth. 

Cycling shops experienced so much demand their products were cleared out, leading some to implement solutions to help manage inventory and minimize out-of-stocks across multiple selling channels. Online sales of golf supplies soared, sending many online sellers in search of tools to help them increase their profitability and ROAS

Other examples are abundant, and whether you were a seller or consumer, you saw it firsthand. 

Now, as part of a long-term plan, many sporting goods suppliers are choosing to partner with software providers to help them navigate the complicated world of online selling and capture the many opportunities that have arisen within it. With so many variables to consider in the sporting goods industry, it can be difficult to identify priorities among all the options. We’ve outlined the top characteristics that are likely to provide the most value in this vertical.

Simplicity from complexity: Manage product variations with ease

First and foremost, a feasible e-commerce software platform should be able to easily manage the high level of variations inherent within the selection of most sporting goods products. Whether listings could be sorted by color, size, gender, weight, or any other attribute that a consumer may search for, you should be able to clearly define all potential variations — and maintain the data within each listing in a way that allows for seamless uploading into any marketplace or online selling platform.   

Agility: Expand to new e-commerce marketplaces

Growth in e-commerce requires identifying opportunities and finding consumers where they tend to shop. This sports equipment and apparel retailer found significant success on eBay shortly after joining the marketplace but quickly ran into inventory management issues that resulted in overselling. However, after implementing ChannelAdvisor to automate its product listings (over 12,000 on eBay alone!), it went on to launch on Newegg, Rakuten.com Shopping and Sears.       

Any software solution should be continually adding sales channels as the environment evolves and providing high levels of automation for most of your daily tasks. ChannelAdvisor supports over 190 global channels and we’re constantly adding new ones.

Synchronicity: Navigate industry changes immediately

Our industry is in a constant state of change. And at times, those changes can be sudden and volatile. The ability to pivot when the landscape shifts provides a key advantage. Trends come and go, consumer behavior adapts, effective marketing tactics adjust, marketplace requirements are revamped. Some categories within sporting goods — such as hunting — often experience these changes without much prior notice. 

Like this three person, multimillion-dollar fitness company, you’ll want to remain focused on executing the mission and goals of your business without worrying about low-level details on a daily basis. The software solution should be capable of managing these changes and its support team up to date on them as they are happening. Avoid interrupted sales due to minor marketplace updates that could affect your seller rating if left unaddressed. And ensure you’ll receive immediate notification for any major adjustments that affect your vertical.   

ChannelAdvisor has helped several leading sporting goods brands and retailers achieve impressive e-commerce growth. Check out a few of our top success stories in the infographic here

Want to learn more about how ChannelAdvisor can help you achieve similar success? Request a demo today>> 

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