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How We Would Improve Wrexham AFC’s Ecommerce Site

Published on Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Welcome to Wrexham gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Welsh soccer team, Wrexham AFC, following their purchase by celebrities Ryan Reynolds and Ryan McElhenney. The show is a fascinating look into how the club operates. When the two took over the club, it was floundering in the lowest Division of English Soccer. 14 years in the English National League has taken a toll on the club, from poor gameday attendance to crumbling infrastructure, and laughable sponsorships (no offense Ifor Williams Trailers).

Rob and Ryan spend considerable time and effort improving the way the club functions. Along the way, they improve the field, secure larger sponsorships, and grow the average game attendance. With the community excited about their club again, the team also starts to perform better and (spoilers) nearly gets promoted.

The series shows Rob and Ryan focusing on traditional means for growing revenue like sponsorships, game day attendance, and (somewhat controversially) television revenue, but they’re leaving money on the table through their ecommerce site.

With the two in charge and the release of the docuseries, there’s been a significant increase in interest in the club. Searches for the club have grown substantially and its social accounts have ballooned to more than 850,000 followers across Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

wrexham afc google trends interest spikes
Google Trends search for “Wrexham AFC”


But are they maximizing their website revenue from the growth in searches? From looking at their team shop, no. If we partnered with Wrexham AFC ownership (looking at you Rob and Ryan!) to grow ecommerce revenue, here’s what we would do:


Acquire more traffic

Searches for “Wrexham AFC” have skyrocketed over the last 6 months. Unsurprisingly, so have purchase-intent searches like “Wrexham Jersey.”

google trends wrexham jersey
Google Trends search for “Wrexham Jersey”


But where is that traffic going? All. Over. The. Place.

Everyone from Etsy shop owners to major retailers like Fanatics and Adidas are getting a piece of the pie. And every slice that goes somewhere else is a slice taken away from Wrexham. So, how do you get the traffic that should be yours to begin with? We recommend Google Shopping and Search Campaigns.


Google Shopping

Maybe after watching the show, you’ve decided to buy a Wrexham jersey. You open your web browser and search for something like “Wrexham Jersey.” What you see will be based on what Google thinks you want to do. In this case, the first thing you see is likely something like this:

wrexham afc google ads


As a consumer, this is great. We see a variety of different style options for Wrexham Jerseys and price points from multiple stores.

If you’re Wrexham AFC, this is bad. Someone just searched for a Wrexham Jersey and your team store isn’t one of the first purchasing options through Google Shopping. Yes, the team store shows up #1 in organic results. But that listing doesn’t have the jersey image, price, return information, or shipping details. And it’s not where most people are doing their shopping.

Getting Google Shopping set up and launching shopping campaigns to acquire the traffic looking for their jerseys is low-hanging fruit with immediate ROI for Wrexham. Speaking of paid media…


Google Ads

Shouldn’t Wrexham get the traffic that searches for their name? Yeah, probably. But the reality is that Wrexham is a valuable search term right now and Google is willing to give that traffic to the highest bidder. No one likes buying the traffic that’s looking for them. But sometimes, that’s necessary.

The solution: run branded search campaigns.

We see branded search campaigns as a perfect fit for Wrexham, a brand with high visibility and branded search traffic that’s losing clicks to other sites. What can branded search do? Put simply, it can activate a brand’s direct-to-consumer business line, substantially grow revenue, and give a brand a chance to launch retention marketing efforts like email marketing.

Are you going to pay for traffic that would have been yours in the first place? Probably. Are you also going to acquire traffic that would have shopped through another site? Absolutely.

Beyond acquiring more traffic to the site, there’s a real opportunity for Wrexham to convert more of its existing traffic into becoming supporters of the club.


Convert more traffic

When I navigated to the Wrexham shop site, I paused for 5 seconds waiting for a pop-up. I was expecting free shipping, 10% off my first purchase, an exclusive gift with purchase, or another offer to capture my email address and entice me into a first purchase. Why? Because capturing an email address means you can market to me forever (unless I request to delete my data). Yes, Wrexham needs to comply with GDPR. But there’s effective marketing to be done within the bounds of the regulation. And when done right, email marketing doesn’t feel spammy or even annoying. It feels nice.

I didn’t get a pop up. I joined the email list and didn’t get a welcome email. I added an item to my cart and didn’t get an abandoned cart email. All signs point to Wrexham not using email marketing. What does that mean for them? Klaviyo, a leading email marketing platform for ecommerce, and our recommended platform for ecommerce brands estimates that email marketing should make up 20% – 30% of your total ecommerce revenue. Ouch.

Capturing an email means you can send new product releases, ticket sales, and club news to more people. It also means you can target people on other platforms like Meta and Google for effective retargeting and retention campaigns. And in the era of data privacy, first-party data is critical to effective marketing programs.

If we were to elevate the Wrexham ecommerce site, we would ensure there was an email capture strategy in place. And then we would build out a comprehensive email marketing strategy.


Email marketing

Email Marketing is one of the most effective forms of retention marketing available to ecommerce stores. Beyond representing 20–30% of revenue, having an effective email marketing strategy means Wrexham could sacrifice more on first-time customer acquisition costs due to the gains in lifetime value per customer through the email program. There are 7 basic flows that every ecommerce store should have, including Wrexham’s team store:

  1. Welcome Series: When people join your email list, they’re expressing a desire to hear from your brand. And when they don’t hear from you, you don’t meet their expectations. Use the welcome series to make people feel at home with Wrexham. Deliver any offers from the email capture and introduce them to aspects of the club that they might not be aware of.
  2. Browse Abandonment: I joined the Wrexham email list and viewed A LOT of products. I didn’t receive a single email from Wrexham to see if I had questions about anything I looked at. A browse abandonment flow can not only convert more sales but also provide valuable customer feedback as to what it’s like shopping on your store.
  3. Abandoned Cart: People add items to their carts all the time, get distracted, and fail to complete their checkout all the time. Maybe they were mid-episode and added a jersey to their cart during a commercial and then were distracted from completing their purchase when Rob and Ryan popped back on the screen. Oftentimes, people intend to purchase an item and just lose track of what they are doing. Use abandoned cart emails to help people buy the items they want to buy and grow club supporters.
  4. Thank You Flow: After someone purchases from Wrexham, a thank you flow is a nice touch to run in parallel to shipping/fulfillment notifications. You can use this flow to build a deeper relationship by inviting users to join an SMS list or community group. You can also use this flow to proactively provide customer service. The most important piece of the thank you flow is to make it people-centric and help them do the things they want to do.
  5. Post Purchase/Cross Sell: Your relationship doesn’t end when someone buys a jersey, it ends when a person no longer wants to hear from your club. If I buy a jersey from Wrexham, there’s a chance I want another Wrexham item as well. Maybe a scarf or a beanie/toboggan. Our recommendation: don’t offer the full kit in your post-purchase/cross-flow. We don’t need more Sunday League players gallivanting in their favorite team’s kit. Let’s be better than that.
  6. Review Request: Reviews are more than good or bad. They help people find the right size/fit. But people don’t just leave reviews when they get their Jersey. They need to be reminded and asked to leave a review. Make it easy for supporters to tell other supporters why they should support Wrexham by setting up a review request flow to automatically send reminders after a purchase.
  7. Winback: A lot of people will buy once from the team. Not everyone will buy a second time. But you want to have the opportunity to win them back as a customer and incentivize them to buy again from the club.

Bonus Tip: Create an out of stock flow. Many email marketing platforms allow you to capture email addresses when a specific SKU is out of stock. A person can submit their email address and then receive an email notification when new stock is added to the team store. Nothing like capturing high-purchase intent email addresses to support merchandise ordering.

wrexham checkout

So, email is an obvious and impactful opportunity for Wrexham to drive additional revenue from traffic that is already landing on the site. But wait, there’s more!


Optimize for calls to action

When you want to improve site conversions, it’s helpful to look at what type of traffic is visiting the site. I’m willing to bet that a large portion of traffic that ends up on the Wrexham team store is looking at the page on a mobile device. This means they see something like this when they land on the home page:

wrexham afc mobile home page


For now, we’ll ignore the lack of mobile responsive design in the header and we’ll focus on another thing that is missing: a call to action. One could assume that the header image is clickable (it is). On desktop, there’s a hover interaction that indicates that the header is clickable. But that doesn’t show up on mobile.

People shouldn’t have to assume whether an item is clickable or not. A simple update to the header to include a clear call to action could excite people about the new 22/23 Red Kit and improve click-through rates to the product details pages.


Optimize for user experience

As website traffic continues to trend to mobile devices, it’s important to update the home page to focus on mobile visitors. The website currently has header images that get cut off on mobile devices. Making updates to the home page so everyone, despite the device, has the best experience will help improve conversion rates and grow revenue.

Wrexham can also make updates to the website to leverage buyer psychology and improve conversion rates. We see opportunities in two areas specifically:

  • Price Anchoring: We all make purchasing decisions based on psychological triggers. The more information that we can perceive to justify a purchase, the easier it is for us to feel good about spending money. Moving price anchoring from the product details page to the product listings page will improve the click-through rate to specific product pages and ultimately lift conversion rates.
  • Free Delivery: We live in the world of Amazon. People have now come to expect free shipping. Wrexham can tap into the free shipping game by establishing a minimum threshold for free delivery. How do they decide what threshold to offer free shipping? We recommend a free shipping threshold higher than their current Average Order Value. This incentivizes adding items to hit free shipping and increases the AOV for the team.

Some website updates have impacts on conversion rates. Other updates improve the shopping experience. There are 3 areas that we think will make it more enjoyable to shop on the Wrexham team store.


Improve the shopping experience


Add payment options

Ever order a pizza using Apple Pay? You’ll never cook again. Wrexham accepts major credit cards and PayPal. But accepting additional payment options could increase conversion rates and grow AOV. Specifically, we recommend adding Digital Wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. If the majority of site traffic is mobile, we recommend looking at the device types most commonly used by people and setting up the corresponding digital wallet as a payment method. This will give people an option native to their device to complete their checkout.

Additionally, since Wrexham already accepts PayPal, we recommend adding PayPal’s Buy Now Pay Later option for people ready to buy a jersey now.

Other checkout options to consider include Meta Pay for checkout through Facebook and Instagram, Amazon Pay, or another Buy Now Pay Later option like Affirm, AfterPay, or Sezzle.


Returns & exchanges

People want to know, “If I don’t like the way this looks on me or the way it feels or the fit isn’t right, can I return it?” before they make a purchase. The current Wrexham return policy reads as a legal document rather than helping people make a purchasing decision. It communicates that “returning this item will be difficult so think long and hard about buying it.” There’s no better way to push sales from your store to Amazon than having a bad return experience.

Rather than making people feel uneasy about buying from Wrexham, they should communicate the return policy in a way that gives people the information they need and eases their concerns.

Questions like “How long do I have to return my item?” should be easy to find, not buried as a reference in 5.1(b) of the policy. One option that could drastically improve their return experience and give people a better experience shopping with the team would be to install a solution like HappyReturns by PayPal. Because Wrexham offers PayPal as a payment option, they would not incur any software fees and could leverage the platform to give a better return experience and encourage exchanges rather than item returns.

HappyReturns claims that they help ecommerce stores retain 30% of revenue lost to returns by giving people an option to one-click exchange their item for a different size or SKU. For most brands, the retained revenue more than justifies any expenses related to using the platform.


On model photography

“I wonder what that jersey looks like on a person.” – Everyone.

Photos of a shirt on a white background look great. But they don’t give context about the fit of the item. And what’s the number one reason items are returned for apparel? Fit.

When it comes to apparel, On Model Photography is necessary. Noting the model’s size and what size apparel they are wearing helps people connect the fit of the product with the type of fit that they want and helps them find the right size the first time.


In summary

When Rob and Ryan took over Wrexham, they had a lot of work to do to bring the club back to life from previous ownership. They have a clear vision for where they want to take the club, they have the support of the community to get there, and the notoriety to grow revenue to support their ambitions. We hope they take some of these recommendations for their team store so that supporters get to have an excellent shopping experience and Wrexham can capitalize on their newfound popularity.

Interested in learning more about LimeLight’s ecommerce strategy? Check out our Guide to Ecommerce Marketing Strategy.

LimeLight Marketing - Kyle Tapper
Kyle Tapper
Account Supervisor