Fanatics adopts the time-old strategy of great athletes: get there first. The sports retailer’s fast-fashion approach to licensed sports apparel has allowed it to capitalize on sports micro-trends, challenging major brands.

Thanks to its supply-chain agility, Fanatics achieves impressive Google search visibility against high-volume keywords—particularly queries that are seasonal or trending. Take the case of ninety-eight-year-old nun Sister Jean as an example. The nun rose to fame during the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament as chaplain of Loyola’s team; she’s now one of the fastest-selling Bobbleheads in the novelty company’s history as well as the inspiration for a custom pair of Nike sneakers. Fanatics identified this trend and capitalized on it by serving Google shopping ads against relevant high-volume queries linking to category pages dedicated to Sister Jean merchandise.

The downstream benefits of Fanatics’ agility extend beyond search engine marketing. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Activewear finds that the brand’s on-site search and navigation tools are optimized for discovering licensed sportswear products, and Fanatics also offers pertinent fulfillment options, such as flexible returns and exchanges when players get traded. Activewear brands face competition from brands like Fanatics that can corner highly specific market segments and drive urgency through scarcity, supply-chain agility, and trend-driven digital marketing.

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