How to Own a Sports Store

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Owning a sports store can be a lucrative business if operated with a strong strategy. There are five main ideas to consider when opening a sports store: location, involvement with local sports teams, new sporting goods supply, used sporting goods exchange program, and a store website. Each of these considerations are vital the success of a sports store, and could be the difference between a consumer purchasing from you or the big name department store at the local mall.

Things You'll Need

  • Business location
  • Marketing plan with local youth leagues
  • Sporting goods supplier
  • Website

Owning a Sports Store

Research available business locations and determine where they are in relation to community playing fields, hockey arenas and shopping plazas. Most consumers will shop in major shopping plazas. However, if a business location is available near a sports complex or playing fields, you will be have the built-in advertising advantage of athletes visually associating your store with the sport they are playing.

Invest most of your marketing funds into youth sports programs. Sponsor a team if you have the money, or at least distribute discount coupons at youth sports registration and tryout days. Consider targeting youth league parents as customers, as their children will likely be purchasing sporting goods for at least ten years. Establishing your business as reliable and friendly will keep your customers coming back from youth leagues through high school.

Negotiate a fair wholesale price with sporting goods suppliers to ensure that you make the greatest profit possible on all new equipment. Keep in mind that many sporting goods shoppers are looking for specific brands or items. Maintain an ongoing feedback cycle with customers to learn what products they are most interested in, which will help you determine demand and stock estimates. Always go the extra mile for a customer, such as offering to order a specific item that you do not carry. Sporting goods customers are very loyal, and making the extra effort on one purchase may lead to many repeat visits down the road.

Establish a trade-in sporting goods program at your store. Offer customers a chance to sell their used equipment to you in exchange for store credit or cash. Reserve a section of your store of used sporting goods and market this program to potential customers. Youth sports in particular are popular as kids are constantly growing, and parents have a difficult time buying new equipment every season. Monitor the equipment that tends to be bought used, as well as the type of equipment that is frequently sold used. This information will help determine how much to offer as trade-in value to ensure your consignment program is profitable.

Create a website for your store. If you are unfamiliar with computers, have someone help you setup a basic website with a picture of your store, business hours, phone numbers and email address. Be sure to offer a mailing list signup option where potential customers can be emailed to alert them of any sales or promotions your store may be having. Keeping inventory online could be useful to customers, but it also becomes very time consuming. Instead of sharing inventory, consider advertising the newest products your store offers, and invite customers to contact you regarding any special requests or questions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sporting goods stores are often family-oriented businesses. One youth soccer player may have two or three brothers and sisters who are also soccer players or will be in the future. Make sure to establish strong relationships with all customers as many families will likely be repeat customers if they know you offer fair prices and excellent customer service.

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References

  • Personal experience
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