- Foot Locker brands Champs Sports and Eastbay have teamed up for a new social media push to inspire student athletes to stay active during coronavirus lockdowns, the company revealed in a press release.
- The campaign calls on youth athletes to share on social media how they are keeping up their sports and improving their skills during COVID-19. Sports personalities Jesser, Zack TTG and Jiedel will produce content for Champs Sports social channels, while trainers and athletes will host virtual workouts weekly on Eastbay's Instagram channels as part of the campaign.
- The sports gear retailers will donate $1, up to $25,000, to Athletes for Relief for every post from public accounts that includes the hashtags #ChampsXEastbay and #NeverNotAnAthlete. Athletes for Relief is raising money for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund. Additionally, the brands are giving away up to $10,000 in credit to high schools across the country to be used on gear for student athletes at Eastbay Team Sales Store. Schools can enter by tweeting their response with a third hashtag #ChampsXEastbay along with their high school name and mascot. The five high schools with the most posts will win the credit.
The coronavirus outbreak has pummeled the retail industry, with Foot Locker among the many retailers who have decided to close physical stores until further notice to support efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. Foot Locker brands Champs Sports and Eastbay, which focus on athletic off-court lifestyle and sports performance, respectively, are joining forces to combat the losses from store closures by staying relevant online.
Earlier this year, before the pandemic took hold, Foot Locker announced plans to invest $275 million in upgrades to its stores, digital presence and supply chain, including opening 20 power store locations in 2020. The chain also announced plans to launch a cross-brand loyalty scheme in February. Now, Foot Locker, like many other marketers, is casting around for the right marketing strategy in a new environment where consumers are staying home and looking to digital platforms for entertainment, instruction and social interaction.
A social media campaign could be the first step to staying connected with consumers as it enables the brand to engage consumers where they are spending time, with community-building becoming a strategy that a number of marketers have embraced during the pandemic. By encouraging student athletes to keep working out and providing connections to relevant athletes and trainers through regular virtual workouts, both Champs Sports and Eastbay are tapping into the conversations of people who are sharing their daily behaviors online. By offering useful content, the brands can provide value and build loyalty.
Additionally, the campaign has a charity component in which consumers can help a good cause simply by participating in a social media contest. Data suggests that consumers respond better to brands that are taking action during the crisis.
U.S. retail sales were down 8.7% in March, the worst monthly drop in decades, if not ever, with apparel sales tumbling 52%. With numbers like that, it is going to be a steep road to recovery for retailers. Those that can keep consumers engaged through social media channels could have a better chance of surviving the massive sales slumps by driving sales through e-commerce channels and keeping their brand top of mind for when stores reopen.