How to Start a Sporting Goods Retail Business

According to IBIS World Industry's 2009 report, US Sporting Good Stores, "Sports participation drives demand for "sporting goods." A wide range of target groups make up the market. For both Internet-based and traditional sporting goods stores, a solid plan and an experienced team will help create and sustain a profitable business.

Learn the sporting goods business from a major athletics retailer or a local sporting goods store. From selecting equipment and athletic wear to finding the best retail software to track and sell orders, a sporting goods owner needs proper training. A new entrepreneur should have contacts within the sporting goods industry and a minimum of five years of experience managing a store before opening a retail operation.

Fulfill all legal requirements of federal, state and local authorities. A new business will need an employer identification number from the IRS and may need to register with the state corporation commission. Check with your local government to determine the type of retail sales license needed to buy and sell athletic goods.

Identify your niche. Create a unique approach to customer service and product selection. Stock your sporting goods business with equipment and merchandise specific to the needs of your niche customers.

Create an ideal customer profile for your sporting goods retail business. Sporting goods customers fall into four categories: sports teams, sports enthusiasts, sports fans and licensed sports team apparel sales. Based upon the geographic location of your store, create a demographic profile of your ideal customer. This profile will help you shorten the sales cycle, identify opportunities for repeat sales and develop superior customer service techniques.

Hire employees with sporting goods sales experience. Salespeople within the sporting goods industry should have a minimum of three years of experience in inside sales. Your sales managers should have experience as an athlete or sports enthusiast to assist your customers with quality service and product knowledge.


  • Contact insurance companies for errors and omissions insurance to cover losses and damage to the store. Focus on customer service and repeat customers. The success of your sporting goods store depends on the happiness of your customers. Train your employees to exceed each customer's expectation with appropriate product recommendations and superior sales expertise. Every six months ask your best customers to complete customer satisfaction surveys to determine areas of improvement needed within your store. Find a wholesaler, either online or overseas, to help you stock your sporting goods retail business with quality merchandise.



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