The Internet offers all kinds of services and products in all areas. The sports market is highly saturated: there are plenty of competitors for every sport, so that online stores must seek differentiation with respect to their competitors. There are some tools which you might find more useful than an affiliation system or customer advice.
What does affiliation consist in? It is the generation of some kind of linkage to a company by means of a tool – in this case, linkage to a sports store.
Online sports stores have two kinds of potential customers: expert customers who usually require no help or advice, and customers who are exploring a new sport or hobby. The latter is unfamiliar with the suitable materials and qualities, and is usually grateful for advice when it comes to making a purchase. A good example of this in the market is Ricafranca.
First there is the affiliation tool, which starts in the activity itself and then extends to the store or recommended product. Then there is the advice, which would take place in the store itself and guide customers through the available products.
Ricafranca can also serve as an example of the first case, as it has a training method called SIX PACK ABS. This method requires materials, and Ricafranca provides links to these materials in a specific store in its website.
Then there is the advice service, which would be given in the store itself. For example, Decathlon has a chat service, which provides real-time communication with customers. It also has thematic blogs for every sport, where customers can find advice about the various possibilities provided by the store for their hobbies. For example, the Decathlon running blog talks about products but also provides advice about this sport. Santa Fixie is another example of a blog which offers this kind of advice.