How to Build an Online Store for Your Sports Team

Tim Gusweiler

Is selling your team's gear on your list of to-dos before next season? Want to get more people in your community wearing your organization's apparel?

You should set up an online apparel store that allows people to buy branded gear online.

We have a few tips below to help you set up a store for your team, club, or league.

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    Option 1 - Find the Online Store Solution that Fits the Needs of Your Teams

    What type of store are you trying to build? Do you need player uniforms, team gear, or a wide variety of spirit wear for parents and fans?

    If you are a volunteer run program and don't have a ton of time on your hands, you should find a vendor that will handle the printing, shipping, and pricing for you.

    Online stores will take care of the dirty work for you - most will allow you to just upload your logos and colors and get started right away.

    Check out a few of the most popular online apparel store solutions below. You can even create free accounts on a few platforms to find the vendor that works best for you.

    SquadLocker

    SquadLocker specializes in team uniforms and apparel for parents, coaches, and fans. You can set up your store completely online by selecting your sport, uploading your logos, and selecting items to sell.

    A huge advantage is that there are no order minimums, and no order windows - so you can keep your store open 24/7, 365 days per year.

    SquadLocker stores can also offer some of the most popular brands including UnderArmour, Adidas, Nike, and Russell Athletic. Orders arrive pretty quickly - typically in less than two weeks.

    You can start building your store at www.squadlocker.com!

    BSN Sports

    BSN Sports is one of the most popular apparel and equipment and apparel providers. My Team Shop is their product specifically built for managing a store for your team.

    BSN will help you set up your store customized with your logos, colors, and preferences. You can also offer name and number personalization for players and fans.

    Orders are placed online so you don't have to deal with any forms or in-person payments.

    Start setting up a store or talk to a sales rep at www.bsnteamsports.com

    Team Sports Planet

    Team Sports Planet specializes in outfitting individual teams with uniforms, gear, and apparel.

    You can create "Team Packs" so that everyone on your team can quickly order the same pre-approved items for the season. This can be really helpful if you have 1-5 teams and you want every player to purchase the same list of items before the season.

    You can also use your uniform and apparel sales on Team Sports Planet to help with fundraising.

    Team Packs can help make sure everyone on your team has matching apparel and gear. Get started or learn more at www.teamsportsplanet.com

    Rokkitwear

    If you run a high school team you should check out Rokkitwear. It's free to create a store and Rokkitwear prints your gear in many name brands like Nike, North Face, and Champion.

    Rokkitwear stores can stay open year round, and offer hundreds of customizable items to all of your fans.

    You can sign up to request a team store on the Rokkitwear website to get started.

    Boombah

    Boombah is built for all sports - but is particularly popular with travel baseball and softball programs. You can create custom uniform or apparel sites on www.boombah.com

    Turnaround time for Custom Apparel is 3 weeks - so make sure you order all of your player and coach gear at least a month in advance of your season.

    Head to www.boombah.com to learn more or sign up.

    Score Sports

    Score Sports is focused online uniform sales for soccer, basketball, and baseball. It's a potential option if you're looking to create new uniforms for your team for an upcoming season.

    Score Sports also has a custom design studio so you can design a uniform that is unique to your team each season.

    To get started you can create an account on their website.

    Elevation Sports

    Elevation Sports specializes in team uniforms and apparel for Lacrosse, Field Hockey, and Soccer.

    You can also order custom team gear like duffel bags, hoodies, hats, or socks for any sport.

    You can also set up your store with some top brands like Nike, UnderArmour, Jordan, and The North Face.

    Fan Cloth

    Fan Cloth is used to outfit teams and fans and assist with fundraising needs.

    You don't have to worry about wasting inventory or managing sizing yourself. Fan Cloth only produces items that are ordered. They'll also package and label orders for each player so you don't have to sort everything yourself.

    Plus, there are potential fundraising bonuses for selling apparel and gear to your team.

    Learn more or speak to a sales rep at www.fancloth.com/theprogram

    Option 2 - Allow Players to Make Add-on Purchases During Registration

    If you just have a few items that are already in stock that you pre-ordered, you can set up the option for players to purchase extra items during online registration.

    You can add questions at the end of your registration form for purchases like extra t-shirts, hoodies, or any other gear you want to sell to players. This can also help increase revenue for your program or assist with fundraising efforts.

    For example, you could order 100 t-shirts before your season for $20 each from an online print shop like Vistaprint or CustomInk. Sell the t-shirts during registration for $40 each - it's an expensive t-shirt but you should encourage parents to purchase to help support your organization - it's a quick way to earn a quick $2,000 for your season without doing much extra work!

    During player registration you should give parents the option to make additional purchases like player apparel, spirit wear, or even to make a donation to support your program.

    Option 3 - Create a Sports Team Store on Shopify

    Have a bunch of gear already ordered and want to collect payments online and handle the shipping yourself?

    You can use Shopify to set up your own store, and you can create a URL with your domain - like shop.yoursportsorganization.com.

    Creating a store on Shopify will be a lot more work and maintenance, but you can customize your store and keep a large portion of the sales. For example, you might be able to keep 90%+ of the sales from your store if you handle all of the printing and shipping yourself through Shopify rather than using an online store vendor.

    If you're running a for-profit organization like a competitive club or AAU program Shopify is a great way to increase revenue.

    If you're looking to take your apparel sales to the next level Shopify could be the best fit for you. Try it out on www.shopify.com!

    Tip #1 - Get the Right Gear, and Keep it Simple!

    Almost all of your purchases will come from just a handful of items. As you set up your store keep it simple and don't try to do too much. You'll probably find that parents, coaches, and players all will order roughly the same items - so make the buying experience easy by only offering a handful of options.

    Here's what you should include in your store:

    • T-Shirts (long and short sleeve)

    • Hoodies

    • Quarter Zip Pullovers

    • Joggers or sweatpants

    Try two colors of each item so there are a few more options.

    Tip #2 - Promote Your Store!

    You should definitely post links to your store regularly on your organization's social media pages. Don't be shy - especially if there are time sensitive deadlines when players need to place their orders. Post to your social media channels with links to the online store at least once per week during your busy time of year to make sure that everyone is getting reminded often.

    You can also send email and text notifications to parents, coaches, and fans when the store is open to encourage purchases.

    Your store should also have a prominent link on your website so that visitors can easy find the store at any time.

    Tip #3 - Use Your Apparel Store to Raise Money

    Fundraising is one of the toughest parts of running a youth sports program. Whether you run a recreational league or a competitive club, make sure that apparel and spirit wear are a major revenue generator for your organization.

    Most online store options will kick back a portion of sales to your organization. If you print and sell items directly to players and parents, be sure to mark the items up at least 25% so your organization can generate additional fund from the sale of each item.

    You should have prominent links to your Apparel Store on your website. You can even give website visitors a quick pitch on why they should purchase items to support your league or teams!

    Tip #4 - Keep a Store Open Year Round

    Some stores will require "order minimums" or require that your store is open only during a certain window so they can fulfill the orders quickly. But that makes it tough for parents and players to order apparel on their own timeframe.

    You should find a team store solution that allows you to keep your store open for the full year. That way everyone that supports your team can order items at any time - before the season, mid-season, before a birthday or Christmas, or just when they're feeling extra excited about your team.

    Don't wait! Even if it's your offseason you should start setting up your online team store for your next season. If you're just getting started, try one of the Online Store solutions built for sports listed above. You should also give the option for parents to purchase items or make a donation during registration to help increase funding for your next season!

    Additional Resources

    How to Build a Website for a Youth Sports Program

    The Best Tools for Nonprofit Sports Organizations

    A Complete Youth Sports Registration Form Template

    How to Create a Code of Conduct for Youth Sports

    How to Find Companies that Sponsor Youth Sports