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The Rise of Digital Receipts for Sports Brands

With many sports brands moving towards the Direct-to-Consumer model from wholesale, the importance of building customer relationships has increased as well. One of the most efficient ways that sports brands can action this while ensuring that the benefit is felt across all departments and operations, is the implementation of digital receipts and smart data capture into operations. 

Digital receipts for sports brands also have multiple benefits for the customer, from offering an eco-friendly way to reduce paper waste, to ensuring a more secure and convenient way for customers to retain their records. The brand and customer can both benefit from a centralised, easily stored and accessible digital record of purchase. 

The brand can then also use this detailed information stored within a digital receipt to gauge customer behaviour, tailor their marketing campaigns on a granular level, and even improve things such as store design, and inventory management.

These digital receipts can also integrate with internal CRM systems, which can help the brand by creating a deeper understanding of the customer, better relationship management and more personalised communications based on purchase history and a build-up of a customer profile. 

Digital receipts are of benefit to everybody and offer an excellent opportunity for sports retailers to enhance operations, marketing and overall customer experience. 

The Rise of Digital Receipts for Sports Brands

What are the Marketing Benefits of Using Digital Receipts for Sports Brands?  

Marketing can greatly benefit from the use of digital receipts for sports brands. The data capture and opportunities for post-purchase communication that they provide allow for a lot more flexibility when it comes to marketing – both online and in-store as well.

Sports brands are some of the trailblazers when it comes to the personalisation of customer data, and one example of this was in 2018 when Adidas launched the Ultraboost 19 running shoe. The brand partnered with Snapchat to offer an AR-powered preview. Snapchat users were able to virtually “try on” the shoes by pointing their phone at their feet and then allowing for a one-click pre-order. This type of functionality is now more commonplace, but provides an example of how Adidas understood its customers, and illustrates the higher-end level of marketing campaign that can be created and executed with this additional knowledge. 

An example of how this can be extended is by using a smart data capture system, such as refive, that allows a brand to build up a customer profile of someone who buys a lot of running shoes. The brand could then provide a digital receipt that links to a personalised page of similar styles that can be virtually tried on at home. This targeted approach not only would expand the opportunity for an increase in revenue and customer retention but also would enhance the bond between customers and retailers showing that they understand their likes and dislikes. 

What are the CRM Benefits?

Another key factor of integrating a digital receipt solution into the ecosystem of a sports brand is the immediate benefit of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This automated approach allows sports brands to collect valuable data and customer insights to build comprehensive profiles. These can then be used to level up customer segmentation, and deliver more targeted customer communications, but also forward planning marketing activities and spending.

This also ensures that the customer database is kept up-to-date, clean and a lot easier to manage as a whole. Using a single email address, or mobile number, or sending digital receipts via WhatsApp also prevents duplications and discrepancies with the data. Cleaner data means more informed decision-making from a business perspective as well, allowing for fewer errors and ensuring that ROI is maximised wherever possible. 

What Can It Do to Boost Loyalty Programmes?  

Another way that digital receipts for sports brands can help both sides of the transaction is the boost to loyalty programmes. One example of this is Decathlon. This sports and outdoor pursuits brand has been particularly successful with its digital innovation, and this is reflected in its loyalty programme. 

A customer can walk into a store and purchase an item using a smart kiosk and send the receipt via email. A customer can then decide to log onto the Decathlon site at a much later date and find that they have points and rewards already to spend. 

In addition, there is the chance to gain more points by being active and offering rewards for doing 3 hours of sports per week which can be tracked using Decathlon apps, or by linking a Decathlon account with a partner app such as Garmin. This loyalty programme now benefits the customer by encouraging them to be proactive with their exercise, rewarding them with points to use in-store or online, and then providing opportunities for better customer lifetime value, a better connection with the brand and richer data that goes above and beyond just purchases for the customer database. 

How can digital receipts help sports brands in terms of marketing, CRM, boosting loyalty programs, operations and customer experience enhancement.

What Can it Do for Operations? 

Beyond marketing, loyalty, and CRM systems, digital receipts can positively impact operations for the sports brand as well. Digital receipts streamline the transaction process, reducing the need for physical storage space, and also leading to improved accuracy in data management.

A digital receipt is much harder to lose than a physical receipt, making sure that returns and exchanges are quick and painless. Also not requiring printing, purchasing and storing paper receipts can save space and money. 

As mentioned in the loyalty programme section, Decathlon is one sports brand that has used digital receipts to enhance in-store operations. Using a combination of RFID technology and digital receipts, customers can simply place the items they want to purchase onto the smart POS, which then can send the digital receipt straight to the customer’s email or Decathlon app on their phone. This makes checkout faster, with minimal input from the staff who are then free to focus on answering the customer’s questions about technical requirements, or guiding those who need more specialist advice. 

How Can It Enhance Customer Experiences in Sports Retail?   

Every interaction, action, or decision should be with the customer in mind. Product-centricity is being quickly replaced with customer-centric, and customers do not expect anything less nowadays. Maintaining, and elevating, the customer experience should be at the forefront of any sports retailer’s mind. 
The digital receipt makes this a lot easier to achieve with a much higher level of convenience and easier access to all the necessary information and data. From easy returns as mentioned above, to warranty tracking and more. A customer will always be able to find when and where they bought the product and be able to take simple steps to overcome a problem.

An example of how this can benefit a sports brand is when a store is based in a specific geographical location. For example, in the UK, Cornwall is known for surfing and water sports, and Saltrock is a well-known sports brand that provides surfboards, wetsuits and other sea-based products, headquartered in the area. 

A customer may visit a store whilst on a surfing holiday and purchase an item. When the customer returns to their home they may find that the item has a defect. They can then take that item to a different store location for a quick exchange, using the e-receipt they obtained from a store in a different area, or with their customer details linked to their email address. 

The customer then feels that they’ve received a good level of customer service, and are more likely to to purchase from that particular store again, knowing that they will be able to easily access information thanks to their e-receipt. 

A Case Study: A Leading Sports Brand  

Digital receipts, powered by refive, have helped a well-known sports brand cover all these areas. When they approached refive, this leading sports brand had been struggling to match up its in-store purchases with its online marketing efforts. While there was a clear correlation between the two, the lack of a direct link made this incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to assess the effectiveness of the marketing strategy. Equally, they were unable to drill down in order to segment it further and provide a better ROI on their marketing, but also help their customers obtain a better level of service and personalisation.

The brand implemented digital receipts which enabled the collection of detailed customer profiles and purchase histories. The brand was then able to collect essential information on its customers, providing the brand with detailed insights on customer purchasing patterns and preferences to a level that had previously been inaccessible. 

From this, the sports brand was able to build up customer profiles that were then targeted with relevant marketing campaigns that were more effective as a result.

The brand was also able to integrate these digital receipts with Facebook’s advertising platform. This synergy resulted in being able to track the impact of the social media marketing campaigns, accurately seeing how online ads influenced in-store purchases.

From this initial pilot, the customer has since rolled out the solution across all of their EU stores. The approach now encapsulates both receipts and approaches that are tailored to local languages, preferences, as well as individual customer likes. The results show the incredible impact this has had as well, with an increase of 42% in newsletter sign-ups, increasing ongoing customer engagement and brand communication. The conversion rate also increased directly as a result to 72%. 

Embracing Digital Transformation in Sports Retail

Sports retailers are in a unique position compared to other retailers in that many of them come with a community built in. While other brands in fashion, DIY, or beauty, will try and cultivate a community feel, sports often have this already through a shared love of a particular sport, a team, or even a location.

A sports brand, using digital receipts in an effective way such as those mentioned above, stands a better chance of success – and faster success – than potentially any other retail industry out there.

If you are curious to find more information or are keen to improve your CRM cleanliness or loyalty programme, then get in touch with refive today to speak in more detail about how we can help. 

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