A Perfect Example of Why Hibbett Sports (Insert Retail Outlet) Is Struggling

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It’s Saturday morning September 2nd and I’m browsing the web for stories on the sneaker industry. I’m also driving Lyft so my time is fractured. When a client pops up on the app, I jump in the car and go pick them up. What tends to happen is I find some great source information to discuss, but the article ends up taking an entire day to write.  This time around the story that has taken an entire day is this Hibbett Sports story.

I was recently very excited to see that Hibbett Sports had finally launched their online store. I even wrote this post:

Hibbett Sports Corrects a Big Mistake

Now… my excitement should have been tempered because I know how difficult it is to drive traffic to a website. It doesn’t matter that a company is a multimillion dollar business that company still has the same issues as a startup when it comes to moving people from social media to their platform. It’s even worse when Hibbett Sports has taken so long to launch that they basically fixed a major issue at the same time that Nike opened a brand registry on Amazon. The main reason I needed to temper my excitement is because this time last year Hibbett Sports Stock was at 39.12/share. It now sits at 12.75/share.  The final reason I needed to temper my response (this is getting ridiculous isn’t it?), was that I took the time to do an analysis of Hibbett Sports. I even read that they had invited Matt Powell the analyst from NPD Group to talk with the company… What I’ve come to realize is that a company speaking to an analyst who looks at data, when that company has their own data, is doing what all companies do in sportswear and that’s relying on old school information for a very new school approach to repairing the issues of a business. Hibbett Sports has an issue that has more to do with marketing than it does data on footwear sales.

Okay I’m off topic…

Above is a picture of the latest release from Under Armour the Cam Newton C1N which is releasing in 5 days. The picture is a part of a tweet from the company. They made the tweet on September 1st at 8pm. I’m writing this at 6:50pm on September 2nd.


  • The interaction on the tweet is at 5 hearts and 2 retweets. A publicly traded, multi-million dollar company is at 5 interactions on a shoe release featuring an NFL athlete with a 5 billion dollar a year company behind him.  5 hearts in 24 hours.
  • When you click the link it drives you to a splash page for the shoe. There isn’t a picture of the shoe. There isn’t any story telling. The description of the shoe doesn’t matter because there isn’t a picture. Did I say there isn’t any storytelling? I’ve long complained about the poor merchandising by Under Armour with the Steph Curry line. Here is another example. Under Armour should be supplying Hibbett Sports with a ton of imagery and video for this release. There isn’t anything. As a matter of fact when you go to Under Armour’s site, there isn’t anything on the C1N. This is about Hibbett Sports though; I can’t blame the merchandising on Hibbett Sports… well I can because the splash page with the countdown should display the image above.
  • One more issue is the hashtag. Whoever is operating the twitter feed for Hibbett Sports used #WEWIL. The actual hashtag is part of a solid campaign by Under Armour called #WEWILL. Note the two L’s. The post could be getting more interaction, but maybe the hashtag is the culprit.

Honestly, this isn’t a “bash” Hibbett Sports post. I could literally replace Hibbett Sports with almost any retail outlet and the post would be exactly the same. There is a serious disconnect in the marketing plans of most of the retail outlets. It’s a problem that can be repaired, but there is going to have to be an adjustment in the type of consulting that is happening. I love data. Data creates fantastic power points and will keep people tuned in to what is happening because we all love numbers. The problem is if those numbers aren’t supported with consulting on how interaction and experiences shape the new consumer market, then the data simply tells the same story, “what is selling and what should sell.” It doesn’t answer the question “why is this selling?” That is ultimately the point right?