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For Fanatics, the largest online retailer of licensed sports apparel and merchandise, emotional customer/fan engagement is sparked by the deeply-rooted loyalty customers have for a professional or collegiate team.
As a result, Doug Glazer, director of customer loyalty for Fanatics, told Loyalty360 that the Fanatics Rewards loyalty program provides cash back and other benefits including early access to new product, exclusive discounts, and the chance to be selected for unique fan experiences like throwing out the first pitch at an MLB game, or attending The ESPYs.
“I came in a little over a year ago to build out the loyalty program, and I took the job because it was clear that for Fanatics, loyalty to customers is much more than a CRM strategy,” Glazer explained. “‘By Fans, For Fans’ is an important part of the company’s culture. We take the fans’ perspective. We see ourselves sitting right there next to them. We make decisions based on what we’d want as fans. The loyalty program we’re building really speaks to that. I think the differentiator we’ll have - beyond great offers and access - will be the focus on unique experiences, which will drive home our message that we’re the brand for the fan.”
Fanatics Rewards supports and reinforces the parent brand.
“As such, our mission with the program is to strengthen bonds for fans of all kinds,” Glazer said. “And we say strengthen very specifically because we see the program to reinforce the connections the company aspires to create. Yes, of course, we expect our investment in the program to have a net positive impact on the business. But even if it doesn’t, we believe showing our fans that we’re devoted to them and by continually striving to earn their loyalty is important to creating emotional engagement.”
Fanatics celebrate fans by unlocking unforgettable experiences.
“We give fans the chance to live a dream – throw out the first pitch at a ball game, meet their hero, play catch with a rising star,” Glazer explained. “We invest in moments that bring fans closer. We create ways for our fans to win, regardless of the score.”
A major driving force of Fanatics is its corporate leadership.
“The executive team we have in place, almost all of whom Doug Mack, our CEO, hired in the last couple of years, has really jelled,” Glazer said. “They’ve aligned that the fan comes first, and they’re in agreement that to service the fan and meet aggressive growth goals, we need to work seamlessly across functions and business units. It’s refreshing to work together without worrying about departmental P&Ls. Fanatics is on a mission and it shows in the way the organization has come together.”
And Fanatics, which registered $1 billion in sales in 2015, the “attraction” is there for fans.
Earlier this month, Fanatics signed a deal with Under Armour whereby the two companies will replace Majestic and Nike as the official uniform partners for Major League Baseball.
The deal is scheduled to begin in 2020 and run for 10 years. Under the terms of the deal, Under Armour will make all on-field apparel, including jerseys and game-day and training outerwear, that is currently made by Majestic and base-layer gear that is made by Nike.
Fanatics will make the merchandise that will be sold to fans, serving as both the producer and the seller. Fanatics, which currently runs all four of the major North American sports leagues’ online sites plus NASCAR’s, will also be the distributor of the merchandise to retailers.
“It’s a huge deal for us,” Glazer said.
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