Website Design & Marketing for the Sporting Goods & Recreation Industry

The sporting goods industry is projected to continue growing over the next few years, with an increase in demand for fitness and athletic apparel, equipment and footwear. Recreational activities such as cycling, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, fishing, golf, and running are expected to lead the way.

Branding and messaging needs to resonate with the industry’s target audience, which include those enjoy outdoor experiences and lead active lifestyles. It’s important to take a fresh approach to advertising, making sure to become visible to these types of people in new ways. We can help sporting goods and recreation brands become more competitive across emerging channels with shopping engine management, targeted advertising and social media.

What is important to online consumers in this industry?

When shopping for sporting goods and recreation products, consumers purchase products they believe will help them do their best.


Performance is a huge factor in the success of not only stores, but the athletic brands and products themselves. Performance involves both quality and durability of the product. Sheer, flimsy materials or cheap parts that don’t last will deter customers – regardless of brand name.

Options & Availability

Online customers also desire choice – having a full array of sizes and colors gives consumers the power to choose. Consumers can find the look and feel that fits their needs. Sports enthusiasts will be more likely to purchase from your store if they know you stock a variety of colors and sizes.


Sporting goods and recreation customers value knowledge. If the store is perceived as an expert in a particular sport, customers feel confident in their purchase. Vertical Rail has worked with brands to establish a level of authority in their industry through optimized content.

How do you compete with retail brick-and-mortar stores?

Online retailers compete by carrying a wider selection of products, offering excellent (and knowledgeable) customer service, attractive shipping and return policies, and loyalty programs.

While a retail store offers an experience, online stores can have the competitive advantage with a more extensive product offering and often lower prices. Online stores can compete more evenly with retail when their shipping policies make it attractive to order online versus in store.

How important is brand to advertising in the sporting goods industry?

When it relates to sports performance, many customers are very brand loyal. If the brand is already well established, then consumers often specifically shop for a particular product by brand.

To gain the sale from your store versus another online retailer or a brick-and-mortar, the customer must feel there is a value in purchasing from you in particular. This value can be created with a great price, return policy, rewards through loyalty programs or by establishing your authority in a particular sport or activity as it relates to brand.

How can a manufacturer market WITH resellers and not against?

Manufacturers should work with resellers to maintain a friendly relationship, rather than create cutthroat competition. One of the best ways to establish a good relationship with resellers is to establish the proper agreements. Vertical Rail has helped our clients to create these guidelines. Proper agreements set up to establish pricing tactics, where resellers can and cannot compete with the manufacturer.

How can I increase my results from Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is constantly evolving and the sporting goods and recreation industry needs to follow. Some ways to increase performance include product optimization, campaign organization and bid strategy.

To capture the correct audience, make sure your product information is optimized with applicable keywords and product details. This makes it easier to be found from your customer’s search queries. To further narrow the audience and ensure quality traffic, make use of negative keywords to prevent wasted spend.

Campaign organization plays a large role in the efficiency of your ad spend. Through the proper use of campaigns, ad groups, product groups, custom labels, and a bidding strategy, we can target your audience through easy-to- manage product breakouts.

What can do to increase conversion rates?

Whether your conversions consist of gaining leads via a website form or selling a particular product, it’s vital to your success to increase conversion rates. While our approach may differ depending on specific client goals, here are 4 tactics you can use to improve conversions.

Social Proof

Consumers want to know what others think of your outdoor products and how your products have helped or improved their lives. The more social proof you can offer through customer reviews, testimonials, case studies or social media interactions, the more trust you’ll build – potentially leading to higher conversion rates.

Simple Checkout with Various Payment Options

The easier your checkout process, the better. Not everyone wants to create a login for your site, so allow a guest checkout option. Offering various payment options – from credit cards and e-cards to PayPal – will satisfy consumers who desire a quick checkout process.

Easy-to-Use Online Forms

If your conversions are based on website forms, request as little information as possible from visitors. No one wants to spend time filling in various fields when all they want is to receive your company’s sporting goods-related newsletter.

Offer Perks

Build customer confidence by offering lengthy guarantees and no-cost returns on your products. This will build trust and convey confidence in your products and will generally increase conversion rates. You can also offer price-match guarantees to entice customers looking for the lowest price available.

What experience do we have in the industry?

Vertical Rail has experience with both website design and marketing programs for local, national, and international sporting goods brands. These programs include SEO, website development, content creation, social media management and PPC campaign maintenance and management for Ads (formerly AdWords), Bing, Yahoo, and Amazon. We work together with our clients to develop a strategy to reach their target audience with the appropriate channels.

As a Google Premier Partner, we also have a higher level of support available for our advertising across Google. That means if one of your products has an issue, we are more connected with support teams at Google to help us resolve those issues.