2018 is coming closer. For our company a very interesting year with the World Cup. Traditionally, a large group of people change into fanatical fans during the World Cups and European Cups, to return to a 23 months drought of football after the tournament . During that particular month, the group is wearing the most colorfoul outfits of their country. Often even more colorfoul so than the fans of the football clubs, who visit all matches of their club during the whole year.
Such a new group of customers is nice to have, but of course we are more interested in the fans who follow their favorite clubs throughout the whole season. The latter group expects their club to offer an extensive and diverse range of fan articles each year. Just like in every sector, it is necessary to constantly renew, to follow the latest trends, and of course everything has to be done quickly. These are challenges we are happy to pick up
In our more than 5 years of experience (more than 10 years if you count the years as fanshop managers) we learned to respond to those trends. We are confident that we have a good idea of where sports merchandise, and especially football merchandise, will go on in the next few years. Therefore, we list some trends here.
The most important trend is no doubt the individually personalized items. Supporters have been able to buy their favorite club’s jersey for years and have a name and number printed on it. That is often the name of a favorite player, but can also be their own name or even a ludic nickname. But there it usually stops, other items can only be bought ready-made. But what if you could add a personal touch to pillows, mugs, cell phone cases and so many other products?
We believe that more and more clubs will offer this. The equipment for making this is expensive, takes up a lot of space and requires some technical knowledge. Therefore, these items will not be offered in the physical shop, but via the webshop and through a third party that sends everything directly to the end customer. You already see all the major European and American sports clubs offer it, but soon smaller clubs can do this too.
We talked about the webshop, which immediately brings us to the second trend. At first it is surprising that online sales at smaller clubs are rather marginal. This is because a fan article is very often an impulse purchase, which is done in the club’s physical fanshop. However, keeping a shop, especially outside of match days, is an expensive matter that many clubs would rather save on. A well-run webshop takes up much less costs. Therefore, clubs are promoting the webshop more and more, with special actions, but also with items that are only available on the webshop, such as the previously mentioned personalized articles.
A third trend we see are auctions. Again this is an online phenomenon. A signed football boot, the ball which was used for a winning goal or a retro shirt from the 80’s, it’s all possible. In football there are a lot of collectors and they often have a big budget for these items. However, it does not have to be about money, which can go to a charity. Auctions create fun content for the social media, and they create engagement with the fans.
The latest trend we want to discuss is responding to specific events. This is not about hypes, like the fidget spinners this year, but about memorable moments at the club. Opening a new stadium, attracting a top player, winning a cup final, or more tragic, the death of an ex-player. A concrete example? In the 2015-2016 season, the goalkeeper of KV Mechelen Jean-François Gillet stopped 3 penalty shots in the game against Anderlecht. Obviously a very rare achievement. We brought out some t-shirts to commemorate this memorable day, and they sold like hot cakes!
Looking for tips to increase the sale of fan items? Are your fans not totally satisfied? Contact us quickly and we will be happy to assist you with the right advice.