Selling Sports Products

An introduction to commercialising new sports product ideas.

Once you’re happy with your sports product, and you’ve purchased stock, it’s time for the most exciting part – shipping it to customers, distributors or retailers.

The goal with approaching retailers and selling sports products is to target retail outlets you think may be interested in your product and convince them they need your product. We know that your product is unique, and you’re passionate about it – so as long as you can show this to retailers, you’ll be fine. When it comes to sports retailers, you have a lot of options. Start with a long list of potential retailers, and then narrow it down to a number of key local retailers first. It’s often best to start small to get experience, before expanding distribution to the big national retailers – unless you have a truly disruptive product that doesn’t require much convincing. 

Another way to reach retailers is through sports trade shows, there are plenty of these throughout the year and will allow you to speak directly to large amounts of buyers and customers. When approaching retailers, it’s best to have a pre-production sample that they can see and feel – you also want it to be as close to the finished item as possible. You’ll also need to know your numbers as this could make or break a potential retail deal. Make sure you know how much it takes to produce your item, how much profit margin you want to make and the final selling price. 

When pitching, focus on what makes your product unique and differentiated from competition. At this point it will help if you’ve done research into the retailer to know what competing products, if any, they already sell. Finally, don’t worry if you don’t make much profit with your first retail customer. Your first retailer deal will give you experience pitching, and give your product exposure – which will help you secure more deals in the future.

Selling a new product to retailer
Ark in John Lewis

When it comes to making a profit from your sports product idea. There are 2 main options you can choose from: Licence your idea to a company Your first option is to licence your idea to another company and hand over the responsibility of manufacturing, distributing and marketing your product. In return, you’ll receive a royalty fee for every item that’s sold. Licencing is very popular in sports, for example, you’re probably very familiar with football teams licencing their logo to be used in clothing and merchandise. This is a good option if you don’t have the knowledge or resources to produce and sell your product yourself. 

Through licensing, you get access to the distribution links, marketing budget and production know-how of an established company that will increase the chances of your product being a success. This option is less lucrative as you only take a small amount from each sale, but it is less risky and time-consuming. Before entering into a licensing deal, you want to make sure that you have exclusive rights to the intellectual property (product) you want to licence as you don’t want to completely lose ownership of your idea. We would recommend contacting a knowledgeable lawyer for help with negotiating a licence deal if this is your first time. Set up your own company to trade under. The second option is to set up your own company and sell directly to your customers. 

This can be a more lucrative option if you have the knowledge and resources to manufacture, distribute and market the product yourself as you don’t have to share the profits with another company. However, this can be a more risky move and the chances of failing are a lot higher. 

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Do you have an innovative sports product idea? At D2M, we’ve worked with plenty of clients to help bring their innovative sports products to the market.

Find out more information about developing a sports product.

If you’ve got an idea for a sports product, but need support in making it a reality, contact us and we can schedule a call to discuss your project

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Ultimate Guide to Protecting a New Idea

Uncertain where to start with Intellectual property? All the secrets, tips and tricks to Patents, Registered Designs, Trademarks and Copyright. Download your pdf guide now.

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