Sports retail, between growth and covid-19

The 2nd session of the 10th Conference of the Master in Sports Management has addressed the future of sports retail and the challenge that this poses for brands. The welcome was given by Carles Murillo, director of the Master in Sports Management at UPF-BSM, who welcomed the guests and celebrated that all the participants in the event are alumni of the master and now occupy relevant positions in the sports retail sector. He also welcomed the "exceptional guest" who gave the presentation of the event, Guillem Casas, sports apparel buyer at Nike.

Casas, who was trained in the first edition of the master's degree, began by talking about the consumer and how he has changed: "This is what retail will have to do as well."

The Nike spokesperson has continued to list the retail KPIs, important indicators to measure its success such as transactions, traffic, conversion factor or store revenue and has continued to tell the current situation of the sector, analyzing the growth of this industry, the practice of sport, and covid-19.

"The retail sector has been in good health for years, but it has been divided into few players, Adidas and Nike have reached their maximum price in recent years," he commented and added that "wholesale brands are increasingly betting more for retail ”.

Casas has continued to comment on generational changes such as millennials, generation z and generation alpha: "Parents who play sports have children who play sports, which is why Z and alpha are the main target customers right now."

"The role of the sports industry is to facilitate their access, enlarging the revenue and reporting benefits," he reflected. Casas has continued to comment on the impact of the pandemic in this sector: “Patterns have changed and accelerated: store closings, cancellation of events, difficulties in the value chain, delays in deliveries, more costs, a 30% reduction in billing, acceleration of e-commerce and changes in consumer life patterns ”.

Regarding the changes in the model, the expert has commented that the big brands are betting on B2C instead of B2B to control distribution, as well as sell through marketplaces and their own e-commerce platforms.

"The objective of all this is to know the consumer to serve him better and better", he has sentenced and has listed the pillars that have to improve the relationship of brands with their customers: "Content, community and customization".

Likewise, the commitment to ecommerce, platforms, demand productive partners, data analytics, investments in startups, distribution centers and rethinking the role of stores complete current trends.

"The stores are going to have to be an extension of our brand, a theme park of our brand, to interact with the customer," he has sentenced.

Between ecommerce and the in-store experience

Then the members of the round table have shared their experience. Marta Merino, district manager at Asics, has started.

Merino has commented that the current moment is undoubtedly one of great transformation: “Online commerce in 2021 will account for 25% of total purchases, while in 2019 it did not reach 14%. But this does not mean forgetting the stores. It is necessary to adapt to customer demands and new business models and omnichannel ”.

Albert Vivó, store manager at Decathlon Spain, has continued to speak, who has spoken about the current shopping experience and how to generate confidence in the consumer in the current context: “It is essential to guarantee the safety of everyone. Traveling to the pandemic store may not be the most attractive. At Decathlon the motto is that satisfied athletes is our profession ”.

The next speaker has been Manuel Alcaine, manager at Bicimarket, who has described his project and how they have experienced the sales boom during the pandemic. “The cycling sector has experienced an increase despite the type of product and average ticket. Despite everything, the demand caused all the products to train at home to be exhausted. It was the biggest sales moment in our history, ”he said.

Antoni Juliachs, account manager in the Padel Nuestro Group, has continued speaking, who has told how they have experienced the paddle boom after the pandemic, which is already the second most practiced sport in the country: “The demand has grown, but production has decreased This has led to a great delay in sports products ”, he lamented. For this reason, according to the spokesman, they promoted their own production plant to solve their stock problems.

Finally, Laura Viñals, marketing manager of Merrell Spain at Wolverine World Wide, spoke about the qualities of sports retail professionals: “We must have the knowledge and segment the information adapting to a type of consumer, but there is also another type that believes the social and sustainability part of the company is vital and must be aware of all the company's commitments ”.

Regarding the debate between online and physical store, Viñals has pointed out that “the information that the staff gives in the store must be different and extended to online, as an added value ”.

"I think that staying with adaptability, digitization, betting on omnichannel and advising are the qualities to take into account as retail professionals", summarized Viñals.