The global sports goods market is likely to reach a value of €395 billion by 2025, according to a report by McKinsey & Company. And the same suggests that the sports market in the UK is likely to grow by 5.7% CAGR between 2021-2025.
Experts also believe that brands in this sector must adapt to keep up with online demand since over 80% of customers still search online to purchase sports products.
So, with these developments creating impacts across the industry, we investigate changing customer expectations in this sector and what brands should do to enhance user experiences in their online stores.
How Do Users on Sports Equipment and Accessories Websites Behave?
Our research showed that most visitors land on PDPs of sports goods websites, with Google Shopping being the most effective traffic driver for brands.
We observed that over 80% of drop-offs occurred between PDP and basket on these websites. Identifying and resolving friction points on PDPs can help brands prevent such large drop-offs from their websites.
Through analytics research, we also found that even though a greater number of users shopped on mobile than on desktop, user conversion rates are higher on the latter. This implies that brands need to adopt responsive web designs and keep testing UX elements to improve mobile conversions.
Here are some insights we uncovered about online user behaviour and expectations in the sports accessories sector.
1. Users Need Help to Discover Products
We observed that users wanted to see experience-based categories on the home page to select accessories as per their number of years of sports experience.
Now, remember, home pages contribute to over 40% of eCommerce revenue for sports brands, even though PDPs get the highest number of visitors. Thus, brands must take steps to improve website homepages to meet user expectations.
Further, female users found only a small number of product categories relevant to themselves on these websites.
Overall, users wanted more information before purchasing a product, which they often did not find in online sports stores. Stock details were also something visitors wanted to see so that they didn’t have to waste time browsing out-of-stock products.
Next, audiences looked for good filtering options on PLPs to narrow their choices based on required parameters. Interestingly, websites that did not allow multiple filtering simultaneously noticed user disengagement.
So, here are some filtering best practices you can implement on your website.
- Place filters on predictable positions.
- Display applied filters clearly.
- Add scroll to every filter category.
- Choose either batch or interactive filtering based on user behaviour.
Therefore, to enrich users’ buying journeys, you can show in-depth product information and update product stock details.
Brands should also consider adding more product catalogues for women and therefore tap into this segment to reach their sales and conversion goals.
2. Users Want More Information for Product Selection
Through customer surveys and session recordings, we noticed that users often encountered problems when selecting products for themselves.
They looked for consistent information about products and precise size guides when choosing sportswear, but many brands failed to meet these expectations.
Users also found the order in which they had to select technical specifications when choosing accessories to be confusing.
Having consistent information on your website can be of great help for beginners who are still not sure of what to buy and how to choose accessories. Including well-thought-out size charts and details on product availability will enable users to select the right product and move to the check-out stage.
Also, make sure your website has technical specifications mentioned in the order of importance so that every user―be it a beginner or professional―finds it easy to understand.
Further, our research showed that users had problems with spotting certain key elements and functionalities on the product page. So, effectively space out your website and avoid cluttering it with too many elements so that important pieces of information remain easily discoverable by users.
Generally, user reviews from trusted sources help influence the purchase decisions of prospective customers on websites. But we found that audiences on sports equipment websites specifically wanted to see more testimonials from experts.
Therefore, display authentic reviews from seasoned players, talking about their online buying experiences with your brand.
3. Users Find Checking out Stressful
Confusing and slow check-out processes can frustrate audiences and even make them abandon their carts. Our research into customer behaviour in the sports equipment eCommerce revealed that users struggled to
- Remove products from carts,
- Fill in check-out forms, and
- Understand where to use gift vouchers and discount codes to redeem benefits.
Further, pop-ups on the check-out page were a turn-off for users who wanted as few distractions as possible in the path to complete their purchases.
As for solutions, we suggest brands should ensure the easy findability of important CTA buttons on the check-out page. For example, when the ‘remove’ button is prominent, users will not have to make a futile attempt of removing an item by setting its quantity to 0.
Displaying a small banner saying how and where to enter gift voucher numbers or discount codes will allow users to make the most of such offers and derive purchase satisfaction.
Now, poorly designed check-out forms can irk any customer. So, present your users with neatly designed forms with a limited number of fields. To help users save time and effort, indicate mandatory and optional fields, communicate errors with clear messages, and use inline validation.
We understand embedding multiple payment gateways adds to customer experiences, but when you’re adding lesser-known payment options, educate your users on how using those methods can benefit them.
And if you’re offering multiple delivery options, make sure every detail is clearly spelt out for audiences to understand and take advantage of them.
So, it’s clear that customer behaviour in the sports equipment and accessories sector is far from uniform and predictable.
Here are our suggestions for sports brands to improve user experiences on their websites and therefore increase eCommerce sales.
- Add product categories that users say they want to see in surveys and feedback forms.
- Streamline PLP design to facilitate easy product selection by audiences.
- Optimise check-out experiences to reduce cart abandonment rates.
- Implement UX optimisation strategies to improve conversions on mobile devices.
- Include sufficient product information to help users make purchase decisions.
- Embed reviews to your website to motivate users to purchase with your brand.
What do you think of our insights? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.