Shop systems as e-commerce playmakers in professional football for shopping experiences and merchandising results

Scoring points in sport is no longer enough; countable successes must also be achieved in the e-commerce field. This applies to professional football clubs as well as to ambitious addresses for other sports such as basketball, handball, ice hockey and volleyball. Collecting sustainable plus points in the sports business has even become essential for survival since the outbreak of the pandemic at the latest. And the encouraging insight is: You don’t even need sporting performance records to generate digital income, rather it depends on the quality and intensity of the communicative and interactive relationship with the club fans .

The focus is therefore on the website and online shop. Our sports unit focuses on the question of the best possible shop software, which is the preferred system variant for online trade in professional football. So much in advance: There are over 1,000 shop systems on the market with fits from tray trays to mega merchandising malls! And by the way: The software product name “Hybris” of the shop system used by the German series champion and global player FC Bayern Munich can definitely be understood as an indication of the complexity of the system. However, also in the sense of the word meaning of hubris (= presumptuousness / arrogance) – because apart from the German football flagship hubris is likely to be oversized for everyone else.  

Make the homepage the home base of the fans!

As important as “foreign” channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Co. are for every sports club, it is fundamentally important for every club board member with a view to relative independence to strengthen their own website as a center of communication and trade. Turning the homepage of every club into an inviting digital gateway and home base for club fans is therefore a worthwhile and necessary goal at the same time.

Necessary because external channels such as Instagram & Co. can change or restrict reach generation, rules and features at any time and media budgets are also required for targeted marketing. Worthwhile, because the online shop on the club website has the potential to bubble up as the strongest independent source of income in merchandising. Curtain up for the media infotainment stage with inviting shopping experiences in the online fan shop: 24/7, mobile responsive, linked to many channels and networked with the stationary fan shops.

Textiles: Drivers of e-commerce balance sheets in the sports biz

Not only the e-commerce trend in general with the growth rate of 9.2% in the first half of 2020 underlines the fundamental factor of strong shop system software. How lucrative e-commerce can be in the sports business, especially in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga, underlines the forecast by Statista, according to which clothing is a booming product categoryapplies in the network. And textile articles such as jerseys, trousers, jackets and scarves characterize the merchandising range of the clubs. The attraction of sportswear in club design for fans has always acted as an emotional force for e-commerce success. This “soft” factor – between a feeling of solidarity and fanatical club love – absolutely needs a technical basis that also gives the fan pleasure. Or to put it another way: In order for “the shop to run”, the right shop system has to be found and tailored to the fan. In line with this, the jury of the “Shop Usability Award” headlined : “Great shop software is the little secret of successful online shops.”

The growing market with many shop systems requires scouting know-how

The market is fragmented and growing every year. The trend spectrum includes B2B and B2C versions, ranging from free to chargeable, from scalable cloud software that runs on external technology to website construction kits that are easy to use. According to Statista, Magento is most commonly used worldwide, while Shopware is the market leader in Germanyis. There is no such thing as one shop system that is predestined for everyone, and there are major differences between professional football clubs in terms of e-commerce requirements and sales targets. This applies to the sports business as well as other industries. As a sports unit at web-netz, we benefit enormously from the best practices of our competent expert colleagues from web development, who implement around 30 new shop and website development projects for our customers every year – with the power and perseverance for marathons Level – as the reference to the BMW Berlin Marathon shows.

“As with websites, there is no such thing as“ one shop system ”. At the beginning of every development project, there is always a customer-specific conception process in which the individual performance requirements are determined together with the customer. On the basis of the resulting selection criteria, we define what we consider to be the ideal shop system. “

The most used shop systems in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga

As the market leader in Germany, Shopware is also the industry leader in the soccer sector with a total of 11 active merchandising shops. This is followed by Magento as the global market leader in terms of installed systems and LMS.

Bundesliga example: This is how the Werks11 webshop goes to work

This year’s DFB Cup finalist Bayer 04 Leverkusen is one of the digitally progressive Bundesliga clubs. On the grass, the Werks11 has been known and valued internationally for its attractive offensive system for years. We find out which approach rules in the website and shop field by means of this question: Which criteria are the most important when choosing a shop system in merchandising?

“When choosing the shop system, it was important for us to have the highest possible degree of maintainable content, individualization and the mapping of diverse actions and campaigns. The editors and shop managers should have a lot of free hand without having to rely on the support of developers. In this way we can react quickly and initiate actions “from now on”. Dynamic content rounds off the offer, so that the fan has the most individual experience possible without incurring additional efforts in our team. “

Catalog of criteria for two shop system players from professional football

With LMS and Shopware, two of the three top shop system providers who have a lot of user experience in professional football have their say. The market leader in Germany makes the start: 

“Especially in the area of ​​merchandise and ticket sales, it is important to position yourself and create incentives to buy where the customer and especially the fan move! Be it the classic online shop, the fan shop, the social media platform or in the stadium. Therefore, a shop system should ideally make the connection to different channels as easy as possible, for example through an API-first approach. In general, it is crucial that the shop system allows the operator to react as quickly and flexibly as possible to developments in order to set up additional touchpoints with the customer without making too much complexity necessary. ”   

LMS Sport’s online offensive in professional football

LMS Sport, based in Duisburg, has made a name for itself in German football alongside two top division clubs from Austria. From semi-professional clubs from the 3rd / 4th division, five clubs from the 1st / 2nd division also bet. League on the LMS software solutions.

“Up until almost three years ago, you could compare the requirements in the sports business with those in classic e-commerce. Since then we have clearly felt that a rethink is taking place and that e-commerce is playing a global role in the association. It is no longer just about selling merchandising items, but much more about bundling all online transactions in one checkout. Tickets, merchandise, bundles, memberships, cashless payment credit, fan TV subscriptions, holiday camps, auctions and vouchers – all in one shop. In addition, the focus is clearly on self-service. This begins with the renewed download of tickets and extends, for example, to independently changing the payment methods for memberships up to querying the balance of the cashless payment card. Various services for sponsors, such as the transfer of tickets via invitations or dedicated contingents, pre-emptive rights and discounts for their employees, are also increasingly used. Depending on the size of the association, individual interfaces such as to external shipping service providers, BI tools such as QLIK or affiliate networks also play a role. Basically, it’s about innovation, flexibility and customization. “

Conclusion: So that the web shop bubbles like a source of added value

A website is only as valuable as the underlying technical systems chosen. This applies to both the consent management system with regard to legal requirements that websites must meet according to the GDPR in order to avoid painful warning fees of up to 4% of sales. (more on this in the blog article Consent Management in Sport ) as well as the decision for the best possible content management system (CMS). In this article, we have shown which content management systems professional football clubs choose . Above all, it is important to be well advised when laying the foundation stone for the technical systems to be used when it comes to making the decision for a shop system.

“The choice of the shop system has far-reaching consequences, especially with regard to the technical compatibility with other data processing systems or the human and financial resources required in the future. It is therefore important to check carefully which system suits the individual possibilities of a club. Systems that appear to be technologically sophisticated and most developed in the sales pitch can end up being bullshit because they can only be operated to a limited extent. In addition to technological innovation, future practicality must therefore also be taken into account in the selection process. Otherwise you end up with a Porsche in the garage that nobody can drive, as a VW Golf would have been much more suitable. “

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