What Do Football and E-Commerce Have in Common?

January 28, 2015

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? Wings are getting prepped for the grill, and beers are being put on ice as Americans prepare to watch the Patriots and Seahawks battle it out on the football field this Sunday.

For the next couple of days, we know it might be hard for many of you to get your minds off the game — or just the hoopla around it. So to boost your productivity during this countdown, try applying your favorite aspects of the event to your e-commerce strategy.

Many of the elements that make this big game so exciting serve as reminders of what your online selling game should feature.

Fans — angry or ecstatic — are staples in football. They drive the energy and fuel the players. As a retailer, your “fans” are your customers, who are just as important to your brand as fans are to a football game. So put plans in place to ensure your customer service is up to par. Make sure that all customer-facing staff in your contact centers, retail outlets and order processing departments understand and comply with your company’s customer service standards. And double-check that your policies for returns, delivery charges and shipment tracking options are consistent across your channels.

Lastly, address both the positive and the negative. Customer complaints that aren’t properly addressed can bring down your quality perception and trust in your brand. Negative feedback can also get you into trouble on marketplaces, resulting in your suspension or even expulsion.

And the fans with positive things to say? Well, that’s just great feedback that deserves a simple “thank you” at the least.

The halftime show can often be the pinnacle of the game and include some of the most talked-about moments on Monday morning. All the preparation and rehearsal in the world can go into planning the show, but live television is live television — and mistakes happen. (Moment of silence for Janet Jackson, circa 2009.) What’s important is finding a solution as quickly as possible. The same theory applies to retailers selling on marketplaces, because errors there can often cause your sales to plummet. Simple tactics such as responding to customers over the weekend, removing unwarranted seller feedback and monitoring your defect rate can play a huge role in your e-commerce success.

Awesome, attention-grabbing commercials are a time-honored tradition and serve as a great reminder of the importance of advertising. For some people, they’re the only reason to watch the game. It’s likely you don’t have the same advertising budget as the brands in these commercials, so take advantage of the many digital marketing avenues at your disposal. Paid search ads, Product Listing Ads, retargeting ads and display ads are just a few of the low-cost options for getting your products in front of your target audience, at every stage of their purchasing cycle.

Keep track of the score. Despite the media circus that surrounds the game, and the hype and talking-head chatter about celebrities, parties, sponsors and deflated footballs, it’s sometimes easy to forget that two teams are in a battle for ultimate supremacy. They’re not thinking about all the distractions. They’re focused on the score.

The same should go for your e-commerce initiatives. When you know the data that’s driving your sales (such as keyword conversion, site performance and marketplaces performance), you’ll be better equipped to make smart decisions that will move your business forward. You can also use your data to test strategies against your competitors’. Why aren’t your listings showing up in search results? What can you do differently to get a leg up on your biggest rival? Know what’s driving your current score and work to improve it. After all, your strategy is only as good as the data that validates it.


E-commerce isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to take some hits and bruises on the way to a better long-term record. So don’t dwell on the mistakes. Instead, use them as learning opportunities and keep making your business better. But always remember to acknowledge the small victories and pat yourself on the back for the successes of your company so far.

If you do, one day you’ll find yourself with a bottom line that’s super, too.


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

2015-ecom-calendar-LPKeep up with essential dates for your e-commerce promotions with this free 2015 E-Commerce Calendar located on our website. No download involved!