How can sports retailers engage with their customers post-lockdown?

Recommendations for sports retailers to navigate a post-Covid world.

With everything from F1 to football out of action, and the majority of gyms still closed, it would have been a fair prediction that sports retailers would take a big hit in lockdown. In fact, quite the opposite has happened, shoppers are actually more engaged than ever. 

The UK are making full use of their daily exercise, on top of the lovely weather, sports brands and loungewear have come out better than most. 70% of Brits have taken up exercise in lockdown, boosting retailers’ online orders. YouGov Plan and Track data shows that the most popular UK sportswear brands have all seen a boost from young adults since March. Nike, for example, saw a big increase in its Consideration score, peaking with 76 in early May – an increase of 18 points since March 23. Closely followed by Adidas, Under Armour and North Face. (1)

Now we can play sports, exercise for an unlimited amount of time and non-essential stores are open, we’ve been thinking in-agency about how sports retailers engage shoppers post-lockdown, whilst considering the shift in attitudes that customers may have about going back into stores.

Here are our retailer recommendations:

Synchronise the physical with the digital world
By looking at ways to make the shopping experience more streamline with online platforms, retailers can reduce the time the customer spends in the store, reduce exposure to Covid-19 and all without compromising the shopping experience.

  • Allow shoppers to reserve items online and pick up in store. 
  • Install instant check out points to the queues
  • Mobile QR scanners to check what sizes are in that store.

You can’t beat human interaction – as long as it’s safe
Buying sportswear especially trainers is complex, technical and overloaded with choice. The internet is often too stressful and we require experts to give us 1 on 1 advice and allow us to try before we buy.

  • Implement staff Gurus / Experts – Specialist in trainers, running, football who are on hand for advice to minimise time spent handling and trying on wrong items
  • Highlight technology that you can’t get online that will simplify the choice. E.g. Treadmills for checking your gait when running

Helpful Queuing

With new guidance reducing the number of people allowed in store at once and needing to queue at a specific distance apart there is an opportunity to engage customers whilst they wait.

  • Show a QR code to reserve items, check availability or browse whilst they wait.
  • Allow shoppers to book a place in the store for a certain time, and continue with other shopping nearby
  • Provide chat bots to be the store staff talking to queueing shoppers while they wait

Popular items to the front
Research shows that walking, running and home workouts are the top three ways Brits are now keeping fit1. Consider moving these items to the front of the store to reduce time spent wandering around.


Consider the signage
Keep the covid-19 signage simple, easy to spot and impactful but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a softer, more humorous tone of voice.
We created a suite of behavioural science-led posters that featured a cow to ensure as lockdown eases, our message would still catch people’s attention.

For more tips and insights, sign-up to one of our free webinars. We also have a series of blogs you can read around about consumer habits in lockdown and beyond.

New job in lockdown

By Ellen Jackson

Creative Copywriter