We recently sat down with Rachelle Manning, SanMar’s sporting goods channel manager, for some insider tips on how to enhance sales to schools and teams.
Think Outside the Performance Apparel Box
When selling to teams the first thought is often to feature on-field and practice pieces, like performance shirts and jerseys. While those are a necessary part of competing, there are other factors to outfitting teams.
“One style that’s really hot in the sporting good channel right now is the Port Authority Torrent Waterproof Jacket (J333), fully seam-sealed jacket with outstanding waterproof protection. We’ve seen competitive pieces that retail for well over $100,” said Rachelle. “While this wasn’t developed for the team side of the business, it turns out that this is a super popular option for a lot of outdoor sports that’s available at a great price.”
Similarly, the new Port Authority Active 1/2-Zip Soft Shell Jacket (J716) is worth considering for outfitting teams, staff and fans.
“It’s good for parents, school administrators, athletic directors, coaching staff and as part of a travel uniform,” said Rachelle. “Price, performance and core team color availability make it an attractive option.”
Accessories May be Small, but they Can Build Big Sales
A unified team look is essential for knowing who’s on what team. Fans in the stands sporting a consistent color scheme can also provide a unique, home-field advantage.
“Arm socks, beanies, cinch packs and blankets are all affordable, one-size-fits-most options,” said Rachelle. “Color-coordinated fans can show their team pride without breaking the bank.”
An added bonus of these accessories is you don’t have to worry about purchasing specific sizes. Consider building spirit packs with a variety of pieces that can help fans feel connected without stressing about which size to buy or how something will fit.
Don’t Forget About the Other Guys
Football, soccer and volleyball teams are all important end-markets for school and team sales, as are organizations, clubs and the band. Tri-blend styles that reflect what’s popular in the retail world are huge for these groups who want to show off their affiliation.
“Tri-blend fabrics are really in right now, and we offer a variety of different styles from District, District Made and Alternative Apparel,” said Rachelle. “Tanks and tees in various colors and fits allow for coordinated team looks with individual style.”
As important as knowing what to sell to schools and teams is knowing when to sell to various groups. Keep in contact with your local spirit and support groups to gain insight into when it’s the right time to target baseball team sales and when the marching band starts tuning up. If you can sweep in with the right looks at the right time, you’re well on your way to becoming the trusted advisor your local schools and teams need for apparel and accessories.