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Wilson Sporting Goods tackles football customization with mcommerce push

Wilson Sporting Goods has updated its mobile-optimized commerce site, making football gear customizable and underscoring the need for personalization options to attract smartphone shoppers.

The manufacturer has expanded its Wilson Custom Football Shop with ten new occasion options for consumers who seek to personalize their purchases. As retailers ramp up for the revenue-lucrative holiday season, shoppers will increasingly begin searching for customizable gift options when browsing via mobile while on-the-go.

“As an avid football fan and a parent of two young boys, I would absolutely order one of these for my kids, especially in advance of the holiday season, given how entrenched football is in Thanksgiving in particular,” said Dave McIninch, chief revenue officer of Acquisio.

Customizable commerce
Consumers interested in purchasing gifts for loved ones ahead of the holidays may visit on their desktops or mobile devices. When visiting via a smartphone, the site immediately prompts users to turn the phone on its side for an optimal browsing experience.

They will be able to select if they would like a regular size or junior size football before swiping through the new occasion templates. For example, if a user is searching for the ideal birthday present, he or she may opt for the football to be branded with a “Happy Birthday” phrase, alongside the recipient’s name.

Shoppers can also upload a personal picture to get emblazoned on the leather product.

After the item is customized to their liking, they may click “View Finished Ball” in the upper right corner to finalize their choices. When the final product has been approved, customers may hit the checkout button to proceed with the transaction.

The entire checkout process is mobile-optimized, making it easy for the brand to fuel impulse purchases among spur-of-the-moment shoppers. Additionally, many consumers may abandon their shopping carts if they select items on a mobile site but find the payment experience too harrowing.

To maximize brand awareness, Wilson Sporting Goods has also added a social element into the mix. Individuals that create their own product may share an image of it across social media and email, a move that could incite other consumers to do the same.

Football fans can also upload their created masterpieces and tag the sporting goods manufacturer’s official accounts, which can be found at @wilson_football on Instagram and @Wilson_Football  on Twitter.

“One huge reason why live sports are the only thing keeping broadcast TV afloat is the engagement viewers have over social media – especially Twitter and Facebook – during the events,” Mr. McIninch said. “The NFL in particular has done a brilliant job of creating immersive digital experiences online for fans that augments the excitement that happens in-game – with players, with fans, and with their friends and family.

“Wilson’s doing a good job of merchandising that fan engagement and marrying it to the personalization of the experience…just in time for shopping season.”

Available custom designs include occasions such as birthdays, new baby, wedding and groomsmen gifts.

Betting on mobile
Wilson Sporting Goods and a slew of other sporting gear marketers are revamping their mobile commerce offerings to better serve clientele.

Several months ago, Wilson Sporting Goods ramped up in-application purchases by rolling out two apps for baseball fans, focusing on customizable designs for bats and mitts to snatch competition away from other sporting goods brands with evolving mobile strategies (see story).

Meanwhile, Dick’s Sporting Goods saw its ecommerce sales grow to nearly 15 percent of total sales in 2014’s fourth quarter as a result of the retailer’s decision to equip its sales associates with mobile devices for easy ordering in any aisle, enable geo-fencing capabilities for sending weekly ads and launch a stronger in-app loyalty platform (see story).

“It’s great for these brands to be able to take advantage of time-stressed people who may only have a few minutes to shop while standing in line at a coffee shop, as an example,” Mr. McIninch said. “The real value is in the personalization – everything in retail commerce these days is moving towards customized experiences and products for audiences, delivered via custom advertising strategies.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York