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Beyond the pitch: Sporting teams score big with UGC, elevating the fan merchandising experience

The partnership between BSC Young Boys and Flowbox exemplifies the transformative power of UGC in creating an immersive online experience. By leveraging the passion of its fanbase, the football club not only enhanced its webshop but also embraced a new era of eCommerce, where authenticity and community engagement take centre stage. Read on to learn more.

Numbers

Average order value uplift

54.31%

Average order size uplift

25.97%

The story

BSC Young Boys is a professional Swiss football club based in Bern. BSC stands for Berner Sports Club Young Boys. If you’re a football fan you may have had the pleasure of seeing them in action in the 2023/24 season of the UEFA Champions League. Founded in 1898, BSC Young Boys is more than a football club; it’s a beacon of passionate and attractive sports committed to success.

Grounded in the principles of youth development, the club not only nurtures emerging stars but also serves as a communal space where diverse football cultures thrive. The club backs women’s football (and has done so for a long time) with BSC YB Frauen representing BSC Young Boys in the women’s league. The club takes pride in its rich history, embracing a familial ethos that is open to everyone, regardless of origin, appearance, gender, or sexual orientation. As the club continues to evolve, it remains dedicated to showcasing the beauty of the sport and the values that unite its community. The club’s enduring mantra, “YB FOREVER” encapsulates the spirit that defines its legacy – a legacy built on a love for the game, commitment to youth, and a welcoming embrace of diversity.

The challenge

Building up a community surrounding a brand or organisation is one of the well-recognised benefits of User Generated Content. When it comes to sporting clubs, especially those operating on the scale of BSC Young Boys, a sense of community already exists amongst a dedicated fanbase. For this club, the intention behind incorporating UGC into their marketing strategy was not to increase fan attendance at their matches but to promote their merchandise. 

“That’s the thing. We do have a strong community anyway because we are a sports club – we’ve got fans. I mean we are not a company who are trying to develop a community so we are not using UGC to create an audience. We have this fan base already, so forming a new community is not the main reason we use Flowbox. The community is connected to the players who are playing on the field in the stadium. That’s the big thing. It’s our core business, the football itself and it already brings the fans so it’s a bit different than a company who’s trying to build up more of a community around their brand.” Jan Borgmann, Head of Merchandising & Licensing

For BSC Young Boys, the challenge lay in transforming their webshop into a dynamic and attractive space that not only showcased their merchandise but also brought it to life. Whilst, they create and value professionally produced marketing materials too, when it came to their merchandise the traditional approach lacked the inspiration needed to convert casual browsers into devoted shoppers. By incorporating fans into the fanshop they can better see themselves reflected in it.

The Solution

User Generated Content has been integrated into the homepage of their fanshop where visitors are met with a dynamic blend of images of players and fans alike, sporting the official kit as well as hoodies, beanies, scarves and more. When users click on a specific piece of content the products featured in that content are linked – speeding up the purchasing process. Their fanshop also boasts a gorgeous devoted #YBFamily inspiration page. The inspiration page features buttons where visitors can filter the UGC by different categories like Men’s, Women’s, kids and accessories for example – allowing potential customer to filter their inspiration based on what they’re looking for. 

“Now, for us, we use UGC in the merchandising department of our shop system and it makes our webshop more attractive and brings it to life. The more content that comes from the fans, the more interesting it makes our webshop.”

Jan Borgmann, Head of Merchandising & Licensing

UGC strategy has made its way into the stadium with the club running competitions asking the fans to post pictures sporting their merchandise and adding the appropriate hashtag – with the creators of the best pictures winning tickets to games. 

The club has also adapted the packaging of its merchandise in line with its UGC strategy. The paper bags that the items come in have a code that customers can scan that sends them to the #YBFamily inspiration page encouraging them to get involved by sharing content of themselves proudly sporting their merchandise. 

The Flowbox experience

Average order value uplift

54.31%

Average order size uplift

25.97%

Whilst there are a plethora of UGC content solutions on the market it’s worth acknowledging that they are not all built equally. Although it’s vital that the implementation phase of integrating widgets into webpages runs smoothly and the best results possible results are achieved during that phase, the journey should not stop there. At Flowbox we pride ourselves on continuing to provide value to our customers post-implementation, we are a marketing-driven service. Our Customer Success Managers are not just there to provide technical or more traditional forms of customer service support but also to advise on strategy, suggest tweaks to implementations that will boost results, analyse performance and assist with advice on campaigns. 

“When it comes to customer service, we’ve always had a good person who was in charge of us. Our Customer Success Manager is a person who gives us new ideas, and new projects. We are really thankful for that.”
Jan Borgmann, Head of Merchandising & Licensing