Movement not only has a positive effect on children’s health, it also has a long-term impact on physical, intellectual and psychological development. In an ever more digitalised world, it is especially important to motivate children and young people to engage in sport, as physical movement is often greatly neglected. André Navratil, Category Manager at SPORT 2000 International for Running, Training, Leisure, Team Sport, Fun Wheels in the areas of Footwear & Equipment, tells us in an interview how we can successfully motivate children to do more sport, what they actually look for in high-quality specialist sports outlets and how to best reach them.
Family, friends and role models motivate children to engage in sport
No matter whether smartphones, tablets or computers are involved – new media and technologies have in the meantime come to dominate the day-to-day life of many children and young people. The natural urge to move is suppressed and the youngest members of society do not get enough exercise. The Covid-19 measures over the past months are another factor that put further heavy restraints on the possibilities for sports activities. So it is high time to actively motivate children to engage in more sport and exercise again. In this respect, personal contact to friends and motivation by the children’s own parents are helpful factors. “Role models from the world of sport that children and young people know from social media, television, etc. are increasingly a source of motivation and increase the incentive to practise the same form of sport,” says André Navratil, who sees role models as an opportunity to reach children. He continues: “Children and young people need a sense of belonging. This is reflected not only in sports activities but also in the desire to possess specific sports products.”
Children want a wide range of products to choose from
In addition to the incentive from family, friends or role models, children and young people often find motivation in stylish and ultra-modern sports equipment. “If permitted by the capacities of a sports shop, it is important for specialist sports retailers not only to offer basic products for children but to provide an extensive product landscape. The more diverse the range of products, the more children and parents alike feel at home and purchase from brick-and-mortar specialist sports outlets,” says Navratil, adding: “Children’s sports shoes are, however, currently mainly purchased from specialist shoe retailers or online. Only a small share of such sports shoes are bought from specialist sports retailers. In this context, it is particularly important to choose suitable footwear for children’s feet”. In this way, Navratil is raising parents’ awareness of the possibility of obtaining good advice from specialist sports retailers specifically with regards to purchasing sports shoes for children.
Reaching children through their mothers
It is not only the children that have to be convinced of the sports items but most of all the parents, too. “While parents place great value on the functionality and the product design, children’s attention is more likely to be attracted to a product by the way it is presented or staged,” says the Category Manager at SPORT 2000 International for Running, Training, Leisure, Team Sport, Fun Wheels in the areas of Footwear & Equipment.
This means that the task of specialist sports retailers is to fulfil the wishes not only of children but also their parents, specifically their mothers. “We see that parents and specifically mothers are the ones that equip children with sports clothing,” says Navratil. He sees great potential for specialist sports retailers in attracting mothers’ attention as soon as they enter the sports shop. Individual markets have already recognised this potential and have taken the first steps in the right direction. Hummel, for example, provides a very good example with its Concept Store of how both children and mothers can be addressed in the right manner inside specialist sports retail outlets. “In selected stores, Hummel offers an extensive range of products for children that is complemented in a perfect manner by yoga, fitness and lifestyle products for women,” Navratil explains and points out that such concepts are the perfect combination to address both target groups.
Children are tomorrow’s customers. For this reason, they should feel they are being personally spoken to by high-quality specialist sports retailers while they are still young. To this end, SPORT 2000 has international top brands such as PUMA, Hummel and Under Armour at their side as strategic partners that reflect intensely on how children and parents alike can be addressed by specialist sports retailers.