The future of football ecommerce: Stoke City unveils mobile-first online store

Stoke City has launched its new online shop as the first phase of a strategy to create a world-class digital experience for the club’s fans.

The Premier League club has invested in new ecommerce technology - the cutting-edge Magento 2 platform - and teamed up with experienced sports digital agency Rippleffect to offer its fans a sophisticated online shopping experience, far-ahead of some of football’s biggest clubs.

With more than half of all traffic to the club’s store now arriving from wireless devices and that number increasing year-on-year, a mobile-first approach has been taken, ensuring fans can browse, find and purchase official merchandise however they choose to shop.

Potters’ fans were consulted as part of the process to establish their aspirations and expectations for the platform; while statistical analysis was used to identify online behaviour patterns across both football and retail. These insights, coupled with the extensive capabilities of the Magento platform, allowed Rippleffect to plan and create intuitive user-experience with features designed to make online shopping enjoyable and effortless for the fan.

The new site provides opportunities for fans to customise and experiment with products. Key features include a simple, yet effective product search and a drop-down menu featuring every current club player, allowing the user to hover over a name and see their chosen player sporting each available kit. There is also an option to enter into a responsive kit-builder and quickly personalise items on any device.

Rippleffect partnered with Touchretail to provide a full EPOS solution, recently implemented within the tills at the club’s retail stores. These are now linked to the checkouts in the new shop site, creating one overall till system. This allows Stoke City to maximise reporting and gives the club a global view of all transactions, both on and offline.

Importantly, the new platform has provided Stoke City with the flexibility and scalability to leverage any new ecommerce functions and tactics. Plus, multiple payment and shipping providers ensure fans are catered for wherever they are in the world.

Stoke City appointed the Idox Group-owned Rippleffect as its new long-term digital partner earlier this year and the two teams will now collaborate on a new, fan-first official club website that will launch in time for the 2017/2018 season.

Commenting on the partnership, Stoke City’s Chief Executive Tony Scholes said: "Rippleffect are without doubt one of the most reputable digital agencies in sport, particularly in football where they have forged long-term working relationships with a number of leading clubs. We are delighted to be entering into a digital partnership with them as we look to create websites that offer first-class experiences for our fans."