Many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to get used to the new normal that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown at them. Between manufacturers shutting their warehouses down, running out of products, keeping their employees safe and trying to move their entire business online, it’s a lot to take in, but retailers such as Sports World in Chicago are finding ways to make this new normal work.
Relying Heavily on In-Store Sales
Located right across from Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, Sports World is used to welcoming massive groups of tourists who meander through the brick-and-mortar store after a Major League baseball game. They sell all sorts of Major League Baseball merchandise such as hats, shirts, jerseys, and souvenirs, but now the retailer’s physical location is closed and all orders are being conducted through their website, which doesn’t have the same traffic that their brick-and-mortar store would after a game.
“We usually see around 40,000 fans on a game day, but now our store is shut and I have zero,” Brad Rosen, Managing Partner at Sports World, said. “It’s down to just the internet and curbside pickup. Baseball is an afterthought right now, but lucky enough for me, we’ve held our own and are doing really well on our website.”
A Little Help From AI Technology
What’s helped Sports World immensely in getting traffic to their website during the pandemic is Avatria Convert, a platform designed to help online retailers improve conversion rates by showing their customers what they’re most likely to purchase. Prior to working with Avatria, Sports World did not have Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce tracking enabled, which prevented them from capturing high-quality data about customers shopping behaviors.
“This technology has really helped put products customers are looking for right in front of them,” Rosen said. “It’s determining what shoppers want based on what they look at. So far, our average online order has gone up a couple hundred a day. It’s tough to sell Cubs shirts and hats when we’re an afterthought because there’s no baseball hype right now, but we’re doing good on the internet.”
Since Sports World started working with Avatria in January and February of 2020, the retailer’s website has seen:
- 52.63 percent increase in list purchases
- 53.03 percent increase in list conversion rate
- 19.63 percent increase in average purchases per user
Will Everything Go Back to Normal?
Even with online sales increasing, Sports World relies heavily on the Wrigley Field game hype, especially since it’s the number two tourist destination in Chicago. The first home game was supposed to take place on April 1, which obviously didn’t happen. Rosen says the next home game is allegedly planned for June 1, but just like everything lately, it’s kind of hard to predict when areas will open to the public.
“When baseball season starts back up, it will be on the front page of the news and everyone will get excited again and I’m sure we will see a jump in online orders, but the question is how much,” Rosen said. “Even when things open back up again, I expect baseball to stay an afterthought. People will get excited and go outside and shop, but after that it will calm down and go back to normal.”