The mystery of why soccer Gazelle Sports has seen a steady decrease in its soccer sales remains unsolved after extensive research. According to Tim Martin of Gazelle’s, “our soccer business has fallen from 30% of our business to just 3% of our business over the last twenty years.” In hopes of finding why this pattern has developed, local high school and college soccer players were surveyed on their purchasing habits.
Evidence seeming to support retail business over internet shopping was found in many areas. On a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being very important, the average rating for the importance of trying on shoes before buying was an astonishing 4.5. Another surprising figure was produced from the data on the importance of a Goal Club (soccer.com’s membership benefits program) or similar programs. Again on a 1 to 5 scale, the average importance of Goal Club was just 2.29. The high importance for trying on shoes coupled with the low importance of Goal Club appears to oppose the numbers generated by Gazelle.
At the same time, other numbers contradicted the ideas behind those previously noted. The importance of price, often considered to be the determining factor between shopping retail (the more expensive option) and buying online, was given a high average rating of 3.58. A high rating in this area would predict that buyers prefer lower cost, online shopping. One-on-one service was given a neutral rating of 2.98 on average. This lack of importance given to personalized service again estimates that customers are less likely to choose retail stores that rely heavily on one-on-one service.
Along with these contradictory numbers, survey results showed that players were shockingly torn between buying online and shopping at retail stores. Of the forty-eight participants in the survey, just twenty-two said they preferred shopping online to retail shopping. As three participants did not provide an answer to this question, it was nearly a 50-50 split between online and retail shopping.
From these numbers it is difficult to determine why Gazelle’s soccer business has fallen so far over the last twenty years. Though research results cannot support this finding, it can be predicted that soccer players are simply unwilling to take the time to drive to retail stores to make their purchases. The answer to Gazelle’s struggles may lie in the fact that customers can easily make their purchases online without leaving the comforts of their home. If this is true, it seems that there is little that Gazelle can do to boost their current numbers in the soccer sector.