By Nancy Baeder, Team Insight Magazine
Spirit packs are not only the future, they are here now as a way for team dealers to reach new and existing customers. The advantages are very real, but so is the extra work, and at the end of the day it is a new way of doing business.
With revenue from team packs beginning to rival uniforms, selling more of them seems like a no-brainer. Online team stores grow business from existing customers and attract new business, while upfront credit card payment sweetens the deal and reporting software generates neatly organized details of each sale.
But while the advantages are hard to ignore, team pack sales are time-intensive and laden with details. It’s easy to feel like there are too many balls in the air. If you are looking for a better way to capture more of these lucrative sales without going mad, read on.
Coaches and customers increasingly embrace online ordering, expect it, and may even demand it. “These days people are so accustomed to ordering online that it’s very accepted, even preferred. If we don’t offer it, our competitor will,” says Bob Eberly, owner of Team Sports Ohio, Holland, OH. “It’s change or die in this business.”
Handling what amounts to hundreds of individual orders is time intensive. “Online stores have grown a lot for us — grown in that players are more aware and grown as in they will order more. Kids know what they want and they will spend the money for it,” says Bill Smith, owner of Sports Center, Kilmarnock, VA. “But there’s a lot of work involved to get the sale, order in stock, get the artwork, decorate and to deliver individual packs.”
Avoiding the IT Trap – Managing the technology alone can be daunting. Hiring IT staff to create and maintain websites, keeping up with new technology and managing system backup and data security is not the sweet spot for most team dealers. Plus, it can quickly divert attention and resources from other areas of the business. Many dealers
use software developed by their buying group to set up team stores on their websites. It works, but does not have the utility they need to continue to grow.
Stepping in to fill the void are new third party companies formed specifically to meet the needs of team dealers by providing a digital platform to create and manage online team stores. OrderMyGear.com (OMG) and TeamUniformOrders.com (TUO) are two relatively new companies born to support the order technology side of the team business.
“We solve a real business problem in the team sports industry,” says Kent McKeaigg, founder of OrderMyGear.com. McKeaigg grew up in the team business, watching his dad sell team uniforms but mostly avoiding the time-consuming extra team sales. He had the idea to put team sales online in order to create a new efficient revenue stream.
OMG handles the software and backend technology to create and run online stores, simplifying the process by managing the sale, reporting, collections and more. “Our company was born out of the frustration of paper trails, bounced checks and countless hours spent calculating totals and writing POs,” says McKeaigg. “Using our platform, dealers can grow their business and manage the team sales lifecycle with ease.”
Solving a Problem Online team stores like those from OrderMyGear allow dealers to avoid all the paperwork of the past — and get paid upfront.￼