Leeds are the real United for Online Merchandise Conversion

This is a guest post, written by Lewis Holland, CEO of DiscountIF, a football merchandise promotions engine, converting fan engagement into online sales.

The team at DiscountIF team have been studying various merchandise stores of football clubs in the UK. We’ve been observing pricing trends as well as web traffic flows. The original post can be seen on the DiscountIF blog.

At first glance we were ‘shocked’ at the wide spread use of price slashing (50%+ off etc…). I was speaking at a sports conference in Barcelona recently and one of the other speakers mentioned that price slashing is the lazy man’s way of marketing. So true, though we’ll leave this topic for another day.
Within the team we had a gut feeling that some clubs were better than others at converting fans into £££. So we decide to put this theory to test with two clubs supported by our team members…

Danny (Leed United supporter) vs. Andrew (Man United supporter)

Scoring system

We needed to come up with a scoring that allowed us to compare the two clubs on an equal basis. Having being an analyst many (many!) years I was asked to crunch a few numbers and settle the score.

*Warning the next couple of paragraphs explain our methodology…feel free to scroll down to the shocking results towards the end*

I decided to base our scoring on how well clubs were converting:

1. The Club Website Traffic
2. Social Media Fans

Into traffic and revenue to their online merchandise store and came up with two metrics Club to Store Conversion %, and £ per Social Media Fan. I’ll be completely ignoring the fact that one club is bigger (and Man Utd possibly being the top club in the world when it comes to ‘actual’ merchandise revenues).

Club to Store Conversion % – Measures the amount of online traffic on the merchandise store as a % of the Clubs main website online traffic.

Merchandise stores are usually separate websites so this would give us an indication of how much traffic is being ‘sent’ to the merchandise store from the main club website.

£ per Social Media Fan – Is the revenue* from the merchandise store divided by the number of social media fans.

*Since we did not have online merchandise revenue we calculated revenue as follows. (Merchandise Website Visitor Traffic) * (Website conversion) * (Avg. Basket Value).

Yes, this is a ‘broad’ metric, but in a certain way it’s an ‘all encompassing’ metric. There is a lot of talk about fan engagement, but not a lot about fan monetisation. A social media like or follow shows some form of ‘interest’. Having a person showing ‘interest’ is the first stage in a sales funnel.

The ‘Shocking’ Result

And now the result…it turns out that Leeds Utd score far better than Manchester United when it comes to the two metrics…Danny you can stand proud…apologies Andrew!

When it comes to the “why” I believe there are a few explanations (though I’m open to more)

  • Leeds obviously have a ‘smaller’ fan base, with less ‘casual’ followers
  • Leeds have a better presence for merchandise links on the club website in comparison to Man Utd. They seem to use their main banner on the club website intelligently
  • Leeds combine their online sales (merchandise, ticketing etc) all on one website. This could explain further traffic to the merchandise site. For this we have adjusted our figures to assume only 50% of traffic on the merchandise store is coming to buy merchandise. There are potential benefits of this with cross selling shirts/scarves to people who came to buy a ticket, though for this we don’t have any public data unfortunately.

I’ve started to compare other team data too to see if there any trends. Over the next few weeks the team and I will try to analyse and share our findings.

We’re curious to know your thoughts! Are there any other teams you’d like to compare? Anything to add around the methodology!? Give us a shout at contact@discountif.com

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 157 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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