Sporting events have been shuttered for almost 3 months, the restarts have been almost completely without fans. But, this disruption does not mean the end for sports retail, rather it presents the seminal axis point facing verticals across the retail industry. Retail is changing, becoming increasingly defined by convenience, immediacy and utility. Fans in the sports industry want 3 key things, a memorable experience, an engaging shopping journey and accessibility, retail experiences have to evolve in order to address these requirements.

Traditionally, stadiums have been able to easily provide this. The stadium store landscape enabled accessibility for customers, the ability to purchase products across the stadium drives revenue, providing convenience to the customer, but this has limits. The stadium space is not singular… sports fans are presents for multiple reasons, retail has to compliment these experience rather than detract from them. Fans are engaged across channels, constantly on social media, enjoying sports events on tv and viewing on demand. Fans seek continued engaging experiences around their community, for retailers this presents a key opportunity to curate personalized experiences.

Fan membership applications enable this engagement giving fans the opportunity to stay connected with their favorite team consistently, wherever they are. But, this is just one aspect of the stadium retail experience. Fans desire a completely unified experience, one in which they can purchase products they seek on social media, through E-Commerce and in retail stores. Having their orders fulfilled to their home, their seat or their hotel.

Mobile Is A Must: How To Drive Interactive Experiences

70% of shoppers who received beacon-related content on their phones agreed it increased their purchase likelihood.

Stadiums are the ultimate retail environment, a wide ranging demographic group connected by a shared interest. This enables a wide audience of potential customers, with diverging interests, from backpacks to trinkets, stores offer a range of branded products to meet the diverging external interests of the sports fan. Most stadiums already have extensive wifi networks, allowing for high speed connection. Many fans share their experiences on social media, and many are engaged on fan applications around the team they are connected to.

Consumers are already used to leveraging a mobile application during in-store shopping, they access loyalty benefits, reminders and custom experiences through behavior recognition and geofencing. All of this provides an engaged experience for the fan, while offering an array of data for the retailers. This unique combination creates a powerful experience where customer activity drives optimization, and experience optimization drives increased customer activity. This flow is derived from mobile devices and the connectivity that is enabled, while fans will still interact in store the recognition of each and every fan is essential to drive a connected experience.

Flexible Point Of Sale

39% of retailers are searching for mobile POS tools to enable a flexible cross-channel customer experience.

The center of unified commerce is a flexible point of sale tool, how can you reach customers if you cannot go to them? In the stadium retail space this is especially prescient, sporting & entertainment events are live and often over-subscribed events. This forces retailers to turn customers away, or face long waits during game times for products. Lengthy waits and inconveniences defeats the benefit of having retail in the stadium environment. A mobile point of sale tool enables increased flexibility, with mPOS tools retailers can readily expand their point of sale capabilities, enabling a variety of transaction types, this can be even more empowering for staff they can directly communicate with fans and meet their needs within the retail space.

Learning From Behaviors

75% of consumers now expect a consistent customer experience across off-line, online and mobile platforms.

Providing an optimal customer experience is not a 1 step solution, rather a process of refinement that relies on awareness of customer experience and traditional customer behavior across channels and in store. Leveraging analytics allows for actionable insights, this can be beneficial to the stadium environment as a whole, but even more effective in the stadium retail space. Learning when fans are the most engaged whether it is the night before a big game, or in lead-up to a large event can help to shape promotions, offers or preparations. Knowing what items were the most popular at the last event, helps to shape inventory management strategies.

Across verticals retailers leverage real time data to control their purchasing decisions, store layouts and sales goals. These metrics help to assuage any irreverent decision making, if a sale is not effective retail management will know about it, if a store is underperforming that is visible and if items are consistently unavailable retail staff can manage and prevent stockouts.

Turning Fans Into Customers

The couch is a tough competitor, sports is often noted as being more enjoyable to watch from home, the couch provides more access to making it easy for fans to tune into the exact event they want to see when they want to see it. With their preferred style of coverage and never missing a single second of the action they want to see. Fans are omnipresent, but also multifaceted. Stadium retailers have to leverage what sets them apart from competitors, why shouldn't a customer purchase their merchandise from Walmart and watch the game from the couch? Creating connected and meaningful experiences is what sets the stadium retail vertical apart. Retailers have to put the fan at the center and build around their needs and wants.

Teamwork Commerce enables completely connected retail experiences for customers across retail verticals: