Arsenal FC kicks off eCommerce start-up investment

The big kick off has arrived for Arsenal and a new investment partnership with eCommerce company I Like That, where the fans worldwide will be able to purchase products from the Premier League club’s website pages.

Any ‘Gooner’ while clicking onto the latest match report or looking at an image of their favourite player, is now able to buy a new home kit shirt without having to move onto a different page.

This innovative approach was created over a ten-week programme and the aim is to improve the experience for Arsenal fans when buying a product such as a replica strip. The technology reduces the steps to purchase for the buyer, compared the Arsenal Direct retail outlet. It also improves the buyer flow in contrast to any secondary sites, where a club shirt is on offer.

Arsenal Innovation Lab

The project is being delivered via the Arsenal Innovation Lab, which was launched in September 2017, in a venture to allow the North London club to work with entrepreneurs. Back in January, the club announced its investment in I Like That after the start-up’s involvement in the Innovation Lab during 2018.

Overall, the vision for the laboratory is to improve the match day experience for supporters and extend the opportunities to engage with fans. Meanwhile, transforming what is offered to any potential commercial partner, while building a more expansive retail operation, in an era when football clubs as famous as Arsenal have a global footprint.

I Like That is a London based start-up founded by Sam Mohammadi, and was one of six organisations that edged out the other 250 applicants to join the Arsenal Innovation Lab.

Simon Lilley, Arsenal’s retail director, explains: “We like that it was an innovative yet implementable solution. Arsenal generates significant media coverage, so the ability to purchase directly from a piece of content was hugely attractive to the club.”

He continues: “It was clear we could develop, test and scale this concept, turning content into commerce, which will provide a solution for other publishers across the retail landscape.”

What’s next?

The collaboration is still in its early stages, and the focus is on developing the technology.

However Arsenal’s retail department are open to the idea of designing more ground breaking ideas with I Like That, who are themselves seeking more sports content partnerships.

“Let’s make stage one a success and we’ll take it from there. If I Like That are able to expand to third-party publishers, Arsenal fans will be able to directly purchase kit from a greater range of sites.” Lilley adds.

It remains to be seen how this development can hand the football club an advantage over their rivals such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, in terms of retail revenue and fan engagement technology. But Lilley believes it will provide a clear differentiator versus high street competitors.

“Football fans love the emotion of the game, and connecting compelling content with straightforward eCommerce is an advantage,” he explains.

“Arsenal is always looking to innovate and make our fans and customers’ experience better.”