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Charting Its Own Course: Discovering Sportique

SMB Retail by Angela Diffly
blogpostinc_copy2_copyOn The Move

According to IHL Group analyst, founder and president Greg Buzek, “The number one issue that retailers are facing (whether they realize it or not yet) is how to deal with Amazon. There are 66 million households with Amazon Prime and free 2-day shipping. And 70 percent of American households with incomes over $112K have Amazon Prime.”

While some joke that Amazon is focused on world domination – at least when it comes to retail – other e-commerce players are taking a more targeted approach to winning over its own tribe of unique customers. Sportique is making a name for itself by focusing exclusively on shoppers looking for specialized merchandise from around the globe. To do this, the company relies on data and third-party integrations, like Apple Pay and in-app purchases via social, to drive the most relevant consumers to its site, rather than trying to beat Amazon at a game it’s mastered. We caught up with Sportique founder and owner Christopher Gathright to learn more about the company, and the technology it’s using to create memorable user experiences, winning big with a smaller, more pointed approach. 

SMB Retail: Tell us a little about the Sportique business model and the story behind the brand.

Gathright: Sportique was born from a love of curating unique products and offering an unmatched e-commerce and retail experience. We’re a San Francisco-based active lifestyle company who follows a theme of discovery—exposure to products from all over the globe and conquering the lands from which these products came. Whether you are in the comforts of home or trekking through trails and mountains, our goal is to provide fashionable and functional products that will propel your adventures through every facet of your life, all while promoting philanthropy and sustainability.

sportique-main-page-1SMB Retail: How do you use your e-commerce platform or its data to hyper-target customers?

Gathright: Shopify’s mobile app and dashboard are our right-hands—we lean on both of these every day. Both are used to monitor our customer and product engagement, providing invaluable insights into product trends, allowing us to be responsive on a micro scale. As we’re adding new brands and products daily, seeing quick interest on a new brand, or even product category, gives us confirmation (or the opposite!) that we made the right bet. From there, we can then further expand these brand and categories while adapting our marketing efforts towards this consumer audience.

SMB Retail: Give us an example of a successful promotion using Apple Pay or in-app purchases from social sites like Pinterest.

Gathright: The Pinterest Buy Button integration is an amazing addition to our Shopify store, which allows our customers to make purchases without ever leaving the comfort of their favorite social channel. Our biggest success story is selling a $2k watch to the Director of Monetization at Pinterest through the Pinterest buy button, fulfilled that same day by Sportique, all facilitated by Shopify.

SMB Retail: Can you share any ROI numbers or data since using the Shopify platform and associated data analytics?

Gathright: The Shopify platform has allowed us to quickly and efficiently scale our operations—taking our existing portfolio of thousands of products and hundreds of brands, and cohesively presenting them to our customers under the Sportique brand. Not just listing—but presentation, navigation, mobile optimization, and integration with the largest marketing platforms. The result: a growth of over 5000% in two years.

SMB Retail: Tell us more about how you use social platforms to reach your most relevant customers. What really resonates with them?

Gathright: Pinterest is the hub for ideas and inspiration. Everyone is continuously seeking out new, beautiful, and useful objects to add to their collections, so we curated content where our customers are already looking for new things. Our customers love hearing about new products and seeing how they integrate into their daily lives or the adventures they wait all week to enjoy over the weekend. Once they find an item and it’s simply love at first sight, that’s where Pinterest comes in—when customers find something that just takes their breath away, the Pinterest Buy Button integration with Shopify allows our customers to take the plunge and make the purchase without having to switch apps. Nothing like combining forces for the greater good—a hassle-free shopping experience and happy customers. (see below for a snapshot image from the company’s Pinterest shoppable pins page.)


SMB Retail: Anything else you’d like to share about the business, the platforms you use and/or how you’re different from Amazon?

Gathright: We’re not a startup, and yes, we’re in San Francisco. We’re bootstrapped, profitable, and we are definitely proud of it. We felt the need to create an active lifestyle e-commerce company that caters to those with a sense of adventure, a zest for life, and a bold sense of style. Our goal is to provide an outlet for others to also become exposed to the varying cultures, styles, and people. Through Sportique’s carefully curated collection, both products and people of equally unique backgrounds can finally unite. We stay loyal to our brands and value their products, never running flash sales or aggressively discounting products. By staying true to this business model, we maintain healthy relationships with our brands and assure our customers that they are receiving quality products through Sportique.com.


Christopher Gathright, Founder & Owner, Sportique