How to Start a Sporting Goods Business Online 2022

The fitness and sporting goods industry has taken significant turns over the past few years. First, with the majority of exercise-related activities shifting to online. Then, followed by a slow return to in-person gyms and studios. And now, a hybrid of both as people discovered new fitness regimens they wish to continue into 2022. 

It’s no surprise that at-home gym equipment and sporting goods now lead the way as one of the biggest trends affecting sales. Even as physical gyms and exercise spaces open, people want to take their workouts and activities with them on the go. Many of Amazon’s top sellers in the Sports and Outdoor category include fitness trackers, hand weights, yoga mats, and Hydro flasks. 

Considering starting a sporting goods business online? It's smart to research and track these trends, as well as use Amazon FBA, which helps entrepreneurs and small businesses build up their brands on its platform. Here are a few tips on how to get started. 

Consider a Niche

When starting a sports shop online, consider what type of products you’ll want to sell. A wide variety of inventory gives consumers options. However, your sporting goods store can be easily lost in the shuffle when compared to other name-brand businesses that offer the same items. It’s difficult to break into a popular category like sports goods to compete with big-box retailers that have already spent decades in the space. 

Instead, differentiate your online store’s product offerings and slightly narrow your reach to identify your target market effectively. For example, focus on selling eco-friendly sporting goods and at-home exercise equipment, which speaks to a current buying trend consumers seek today. While you want to offer everyday items people need and use, honing in on a subcategory can help you build and reach a more targeted audience. 

Set Up an Amazon FBA Business

Though Amazon FBA is not the only option for selling online, its program offers several benefits for first-time e-commerce businesses. First, consumers are already familiar with the Amazon brand. Well over half of the shoppers start their product search on Amazon when making online purchases. Second, products listed on Amazon FBA are eligible for free, two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members, an important buying factor for many shoppers. Third, it’s pretty easy to get started by setting up an account and building your inventory. 

When choosing which workout or sports equipment to sell on your online store, keep the cost affordable in a range between $25-$50 per item. Also, choose products that are easy to manufacture, sell year-round, and are lightweight to ship to maintain favorable profit margins. For example, hand weights and jump ropes are everyday sports items that people can use year-round and are less expensive to ship than entire at-home gym systems or seasonal items like snow skis. 

There are a few ways to source goods. Retail arbitrage and drop shipping are the two most popular methods for people starting out. Retail arbitrage involves buying products on clearance and then reselling them on Amazon for a profit. Alternatively, drop shipping leaves inventory storage to third-party suppliers and wholesalers. They are responsible for packaging and shipping items to customers. 

This method is beneficial for those who want to decrease startup cost, overhead, and operating costs. It also frees up time to grow your small business by marketing your sports shop online and forecasting growth. 

Build a Strong Online Presence

Once you have inventory stocked, optimize product page headings and descriptions with highly searched keywords. This will increase product visibility and brand awareness in Amazon search results. Also, add photos and videos to engage consumers, and complement these efforts by building a strong social media presence. YouTube is a key area where people seek out how-to demonstrations and workout routines to complement your product offerings. 

Statistics show that at least 51% of consumers today are making buying decisions based on social media. It’s a powerful tool to build your online presence and grow sales. Amazon FBA’s user-friendly platform coupled with the social media reach available today make it easier to start an online sports store than in previous years. However, implementing data-driven strategies is important to forecast profit margins based on changing buying behavior to hit sales targets consistently. 

E-commerce is a fast-paced industry and requires adaptability to stay competitive in the market. Researching trends and using customer data to your advantage will help you, the business owner, better predict sales and scale your business. For a business owner who wishes to eventually sell their sports store down the road, one of the key requirements at Forum is to have a net profit of at least $200K, with 70% of sales coming from Amazon. 

Creating a sporting goods business online that reaches those numbers starts with having a solid foundation in place. Selling everyday goods in enduring categories consumers want and will continue to need will help build consistent sales and solidify your presence in the market.

Sources

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/sporting-goods-2021-the-next-normal-for-an-industry-in-flux

https://www.emarketer.com/content/where-do-us-consumers-begin-their-product-searches

https://www.sellerapp.com/blog/what-to-sell-on-amazon/

https://sell.amazon.com/learn/what-is-dropshipping

https://www.statista.com/statistics/427336/social-media-influence-purchase/

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