SIGNA Sports United stands out from the crowd in a highly dynamic marketplace thanks to its clear play. Its unique service profile of “inspire, guide, serve and engage” has given Europe’s leading sports e-commerce platform a clear competitive edge, while making it synonymous with outstanding customer satisfaction rates. In the financial year ended September 2018 the company grew organically by 21%. And most gratifyingly, that growth was profitable. In the first quarter of the current financial year, it continued to rise, passing 30% – significantly outperforming the short- and mid-term goal of 25% and confirming SIGNA Sports United’s position as the number one sports e-commerce platform in Europe.
In an increasingly digitally and technologically networked world, information cycles are shortening all the time, which calls for still more dynamic development of business models. Whatever the outcome, the focus is always on fulfilling customer requirements by tailoring services to individual consumers, which is supported by deeper networking in the various online and offline communities. SIGNA Sports United is meeting this challenge head on with the ambition of verticalising its service profile further in future, and playing a formative role in the individual sports communities at the leading edge of the trends in the world of sports e-tailing.
360° sports ecosystems of the future
With over 200,000 downloads and more than 80% active users, the myTennis app from Tennis-Point is the most popular and fastest growing 360° online tennis destination in Europe. Tennis fans and players are coached, accompanied, inspired and motivated in a custom real-time experience that covers all aspects of the game. This 360° service for tennis enthusiasts is symbolic of SIGNA Sports United’s strategic goal of building up unique e-commerce ecosystems that bring the different sporting disciplines to life in real time for amateurs, pros, next-generation sportsmen and women, and fans. As a front runner, SIGNA Sports United will also anticipate, shape and lead future trends in its roles by using artificial intelligence in its smart data unit. With over 2.7 million active users in 17 countries – 56% of whom are returning customers – the platform achieves enviable satisfaction rates, and the numbers are growing all the time.
Scalable platform offers unlimited possibilities
Marketing, tech and smart data activities are guided by performance-based algorithms, delivering the greatest possible synergies and economies of scale for the group as a whole as well as the individual sports categories. SIGNA Sports United also has a distinct competitive advantage in terms of speed, capacity and costs thanks to its logistics centres, some of which are fully automated.
This approach frees up the founders and experienced managers of the “category champions” to focus on their most important task of all: delivering customer satisfaction. This unique combination puts SIGNA Sports United in a position to anticipate the latest trends and developments, and stay one step ahead of the competition. SIGNA Sports United has a strong reputation in the industry as a dependable partner that adds value for established brands. The platform is also seen as a natural “go-to destination” for founders of numerous sports e-commerce companies.
Track record and potential underlined
These special strengths also caught the attention of two businesses in the Far East: Japanese retail market leader Aeon Co, and Central Group, which is the leading retailer in South East Asia. The companies acquired a combined interest of around 11% in SIGNA Sports United in February 2019 by way of a capital increase.
A long-term strategic partnership to build up a sports e-commerce platform in Asia based on SIGNA Sports United technology and brands was also agreed. “This represents a crucial strategic step forward for our company,” said Stephan Zoll, CEO of SIGNA Sports United. “Both partners are leaders in their respective home markets. And now we are joining forces to start offering sports apparel and equipment in the online market in Asia. Global expansion is part of SIGNA Sports United’s long-term goal. We are looking forward to working with our new stakeholders Aeon and Central Group.”
Asia is one of the fastest-growing sports e-commerce markets worldwide. According to Aeon’s CEO and President Motoya Okada: “In Japan, health, wellness and sport is an attractive growth market. Our strategic investment and our partnership with SIGNA Sports United come at exactly the right time ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The online market for sportswear and sport equipment will more than double over the next five years. The partnership with SIGNA Sports United will make a significant contribution towards increasing our share of the Asian sports e-commerce market and drive forward the Aeon’s digital transformation – in line with our strategy.”
Aeon and Central Group are not only uncontested leaders in their home markets: they also have outstanding logistics infrastructure and distribution networks in place in the region. “The partnership with SIGNA Sports United will give us access to first-class expertise in online retail, state-of-the-art technology and outstanding own brands in some of the highest-profile sports for our Asian markets. This opens up a unique opportunity for us,” explained Central Group CEO Tos Chirathivat.
SIGNA Sports United will work closely with its new partners to continue along its path towards digital leadership by bringing together platform functions with scalable tech expertise and strong roots in the sports communities they serve.