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30 November 2022 • Resources

How to start a sporting goods brand: Complete guide with advice + tips

How to start a sporting goods brand: Complete guide with advice + tips

Do you want to start marketing sporting goods and create your own brand?

Thanks to online sales and digital marketing levers, you’ll have all the tools in your hands to offer the best products to the best audiences quickly.

Before you start building your own sporting goods brand, follow all our tips and key steps to help ensure that you’re on the right track!

Why start a sporting goods brand?

Starting a sporting goods brand and venturing into the sporting goods industry offers several benefits:

  • Passion and personal interest: If you have a genuine passion for sports, fitness, and athletic activities or fashion, starting a sporting goods company allows you to work in an industry you love, making your business more enjoyable and fulfilling.
  • Market demand: The sports and fitness industry is vast and ever growing, with a constant demand for innovative, high-quality sporting goods, from equipment to apparel and accessories.
  • Brand identity: You have the opportunity to build a unique brand identity, positioning your store's product offerings to cater to specific niches or customer segments, which can foster brand loyalty.
  • Innovation: Sporting goods constantly evolve with new technologies and designs. As the owner, you can drive innovation and stay at the forefront of industry trends.
  • Profit potential: The sports industry can be profitable, with opportunities to sell products at various price points, including high-end, which often yields higher profit margins.
  • Ecommerce growth: The rise of ecommerce and makes it easier for stores to reach a global customer base, reducing the need for a physical retail space and allowing for more cost-effective business operations.
  • Health and wellness trend: An increasing emphasis on health and fitness makes sporting goods a part of many people's lives, creating a steady demand for your athletic offerings.
  • Customization: You can offer customizable products, allowing shoppers to personalize their sport gear, which can be a unique selling point.
  • Sponsorships and partnerships: Successful brands often have the opportunity to form partnerships with athletes, teams, and events, increasing exposure and credibility.
  • Community engagement: Sporting goods brands can engage with local sports communities and events, fostering a sense of community and loyalty among customers.

While the sporting goods industry is competitive, it offers numerous opportunities for those who are passionate, innovative, and committed to delivering high-quality items that cater to the needs and desires of sports enthusiasts.

How do you build a brand involving sports? The first steps

Choose your legal structure

Whether you want to start your own business or work with others to sell sporting goods products, there are several ways to start your entrepreneurial adventure. Of course, the options available to you will depend on your specific location.

For instance, in the US, one option is to run your business as a sole proprietorship, which means you’re self-employed, operating the business on your own, and not classifying it as a company. You could alternatively elect to create a partnership; a limited liability company, also known as an LLC; a corporation; or an S corporation.

Determine the budget for your project

Once your structure is established, the next step involves determining your starting capital and the budget necessary to launch your brand by starting to account for everything that’ll be required for the proper functioning of your business. You’ll be able to anticipate the necessary financing for your development.

Do you want to open a physical store? Open an online retail business? What types of items do you want to sell in your collections? Do you need stylists to help you create your line? Are you more interested in creating a luxury brand or, in contrast, in creating a company with quality goods at more accessible prices? Do you want to sell ready-to-wear sports apparel or rather equipment and accessories for sports? Do you want to offer your items for sale in just your own country or go international?

One thing is sure: to start quickly and without spending thousands of dollars in a commercial structure, you can start selling your products on the internet. The cost to start an online boutique is generally much lower than the cost to start a brick-and-mortar store.

With the WiziShop solution, you can create your own ecommerce website and benefit from 400 ecommerce features, a personalized follow-up with expert business coaches listening to you, 50 optimizations for your SEO, a handy AI tool to generate a wide range of text content, and complete training in ecommerce included in each subscription. In addition, you can test the solution for 3 days free of charge and without commitment (and then get your first month for just $1)!

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Build a business plan

A business plan is a document that's not only a formality, like a passage in your career as an entrepreneur: it’s the most important document that will allow you to launch your business safely.

Your business plan should include all the characteristics of your company as well as your future ambitions in order to give you direction in your commercial activity. It’ll also allow you to present your project to investors or banks at the time of your initial fundraising if you decide to, for example, request a line of credit or other types of financing.

A real roadmap, your business plan is a document on which you’ll have to spend time in order to optimize your first actions, to make the right choices from the start, and help bring your store as much sales and success as possible.

How do you create your first products when you want to open a sporting goods store?

Know your target audience and their expectations

The key to any successful business is to learn as much as possible about the potential customer and therefore the target audience.

By understanding the expectations of the consumers targeted by the company's products and services and by listening to their needs, entrepreneurs are able to count on the best possible indicators in any business venture, namely the customers themselves.

So take the time to create your persona, the typical buyer profile for your brand, to get your business off to a good start.

Consider availing of a variety of strategies to learn more about your target market and how you can best cater to their wants and needs. For example, you might conduct surveys or organize focus groups to gather direct feedback from potential customers. Ask about their needs, preferences, and purchasing habits.

For this step, you can also try social media listening and monitor social media conversations, reviews, and comments related to sporting goods. This can provide valuable insights into customer sentiment and opinions.

Perform competitive intelligence and market research

Next, you'll need to learn about what's being done in your sector through competitive intelligence and thorough market research.

Who will be your store’s main competitors? Who are the big names in sportswear in your local area or specific country? What is the model of sportswear and the sporting goods that stand out the most on social networks? What are the trendy items of the moment that are likely to attract the greatest number of shoppers? Which stores and websites are already successful? What are the goods that are not yet on the market and that could interest potential customers and bring in sales?

All these questions can be answered as a result of this work concerning the sporting goods sector, whether in physical commerce or directly on the internet.

Clothing, equipment, or accessories: Create a personalized mood board

Once your market research is completed, you’ll finally have a clear idea of what type of athletic apparel, accessories, and other items you can sell. Once you have chosen the product categories, you’ll have to find your style, your signature, and this will be done by choosing colors, samples, and materials for your inventory.

To do this, you can create a personalized moodboard, an inspiration board with photos of goods that would be likely to appeal to your target audience, but also colors, landscapes, collections of other brands, patterns that would suit your brand DNA. This creative yet rigorous document will be the starting point for your store’s first collection.

You can also call on a fashion, sports, or design professional to help you with this task.

Create a strong logo to add to your collection

When it comes to sporting goods brands, it’s very common to notice that logos are present on all products created by the brands. So, we advise you to consider thinking about it from the brand creation: a logo, a graphic charter, and a strong visual identity can help you to stand out from your competition.

The logo will be able to appear on all your sports items and will convey the image of your brand as well as the company name as a recognizable style icon.

Find your suppliers 

Once the broad outlines of your first line have been established, you can start to shop for the best suppliers to help you build your first store’s line of athletic apparel, equipment, or other items.

You’ll be able to pick their best proposals in order to create a coherent line while negotiating the best price with them to ensure an optimal profit margin.

Be sure to conduct extensive research to identify potential suppliers. Attend trade shows, browse online directories, and seek recommendations from industry peers.

Don't forget to assess the quality, capacity, and reliability of any suppliers you're considering. Request samples and visit their facilities if possible to evaluate their manufacturing processes and quality standards. Collect quotes from multiple suppliers to compare costs, payment terms, and lead times. 

When researching potential companies to work with, ensure that your chosen partners adhere to ethical and environmental standards, as this can be important for your brand's reputation.

Gather inventory

Regardless of the types of goods you wish to sell, you'll need to stock up on product inventory before your business goes live.

Although it can be difficult to know exactly how much initial inventory you'll need to have on hand when you're just starting out, you can use data and market research to make accurate inventory forecasts, reducing the chances of overstock or out-of-stock situations. As sales for your offerings start to arrive, predicting stock levels to keep for your store should get easier.

Note that quality assurance should always be at the forefront of your mind. Prioritize quality control to maintain the integrity of your company. Inspect inventory for defects and ensure it meets your specifications. In addition, be sure to have aImplement inventory management software to streamline tracking and restocking processes.

Determine your pricing strategy

Establishing a pricing strategy for your sporting goods brand requires a thoughtful approach. Start by considering your costs, including manufacturing, overhead, and marketing expenses. Return to your analysis of your target market and competition to figure out your ideal customer's willingness to pay and ensure that your prices are competitive but also reflect the quality and value of your product offerings. 

You might also opt to experiment with various pricing models, such as cost-plus, value-based, or penetration pricing, to find the right fit for your brand's positioning. Monitor customer feedback, sales data, and market trends, and be prepared to adjust your pricing strategy to remain competitive and maximize profitability while delivering value to your customers.

Keep in mind that certain sporting goods retailers opt to target sports team coaches as their primary customers due to their propensity for bulk purchases of equipment for their teams year-round. What's more, customers seeking top-tier sports gear are often willing to pay a premium for superior quality products, thereby increasing profit margins and shaping your pricing strategy.

Given the diverse price range of sporting goods, align your pricing with competitors to maintain customer loyalty.

See how you can build your marketing strategy around your brand

Finally, to get your sporting goods brand, whether you plan on selling sports apparel, equipment, or other goods, out there, you'll need to build on an established marketing strategy.

Regardless of your retail space, you’ll need to use different visibility channels to recruit new customers and boost your brand image.

Social networks, SEO... Most of the solutions are free: enough to start your entrepreneurial adventure, sell your first sporting goods, and make a place for yourself in this market at a lower cost. Going back to your market research and understanding of your target audience, determine what kinds of marketing tactics your potential customers are most likely to appreciate. 

Social media, influence marketing, a mobile-friendly website, email marketing campaigns, SMS marketing... Multiply your presence to recruit and retain your customers.

It's important to remember that your marketing for your business will be an ever-evolving strategy. What works great for you today will likely change a year or even a few months from now. Being adaptable is crucial for success as an entrepreneur in any market!

Ready to launch your own sporting goods business and online store? 

Maybe you’d like to become an online retailer and try to sell your first creations on an ecommerce website? Even if you wish to sell your new line of sporting goods in physical stores, an ecommerce site will be essential to the development of your business.

You’ll be able to test your models as well as your target market to make them evolve according to your initial results. Moreover, the exploitation of an ecommerce business is much less expensive than selling in a physical retail space!

With the WiziShop solution, you’ll be able to design your online store and launch your sporting goods brand in just a few clicks, start selling your sporting goods catalog in a few hours, and benefit from a 7-day free trial of the ecommerce solution to begin selling without delay!

Try WiziShop free for 7 days

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