With Magento, Celtic Football Club Found the Perfect Match
Big plans for merchandising
Celtic Football Club is a professional soccer team based in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1887, Celtic FC are one of the most successful teams in Scottish soccer history. They have won the Scottish league championship 49 times, most recently in 2018, which was their seventh consecutive victory. The name Celtic is synonymous with the team’s famous green and white hooped uniforms, and their shirt is the cornerstone of the club’s thriving merchandising operation. Celtic FC fans like to print their names, and the names of the club’s star players, on their shirts, and they also buy authentic memorabilia, apparel, toys, and even hoodies for dogs.
Previously, Celtic FC’s web store was run on a third-party eCommerce platform, who had full control over the store’s content and order management. Functionality on the site was basic and there was little room for innovation. Celtic FC harbored ambitions to make their sporting eCommerce store as successful as the team’s on-field performance, and they had big plans for merchandising the team’s home and away shirts. Mainly, they wanted to allow fans to visualize what their name looks like on a Celtic FC shirt before buying.
Celtic FC also needed to get closer to their loyal fans and regain control over their store with an in-house operation to manage customer enquiries, printing, and order fulfilment. Their goals were to increase revenue, conversion rate across all devices, and Average Order Value. Most importantly they needed to be more agile around the outcome of Celtic FC matches, and the successes of the club. After a period of intense research, they decided to upgrade to Magento Commerce hosted in the cloud.
They chose Magento as their eCommerce platform because the software allows for frontend and backend customization. This included the ability to sell highly personalized products. They also chose Magento Commerce for its stability under pressure. Cloud hosting would allow Celtic FC to quickly scale up to cope with increases in traffic during peak times – like after match wins, or when a new kit launches.
Magento has continued to support us within the cloud infrastructure, through busy kit launches and the even busier Christmas trading period, including Black Friday. We are very happy with the Magento platform.John Bruce
eCommerce Manager at Celtic FC
Achieving their goals
Together with their solution partner, Digital Six, Celtic FC easily integrated their store with the bespoke ERP solution, Retail3. The transition to Magento Commerce was easy, and the team relished the opportunity to create an engaging customer experience with new, innovative features. First they created a ‘shop by player’ feature. Visitors can now select their favorite player, like captain Scott Brown aka “Captain Broony,” and buy his number eight shirt, autobiography, or even a coffee mug bearing his signature. Together with intuitive navigation and a cleaner design, Celtic FC designed the site with a mobile-first approach – the most popular device used by Celtic FC’s audience. Improvements to the search functionality and layout also made it easier for mobile customers to find the perfect gift.
The most important technology for the launch was Magento Commerce itself. The cloud platform streamlined the launch process, giving Celtic FC access to multiple environments so they could test the website and its functionality thoroughly. This was vital to ensuring everything was in full working order before launch. “Without Magento as the core platform, we would never have been able to build the tailored customer experience that Celtic required,” said Kate Little, Managing Director at Digital Six.
Celtic FC also employed a number of hard-working third-party extensions created by the thriving Magento community. Yotpo powers their reviews system, providing shoppers with social proof and helping to boost sales. MailChimp offers excellent marketing capabilities including email automation and customer segmentation, powering Celtic FC to target the right people at the right time. They use Apache Solr for advanced search, and GEOIP to detect where users are located, so they can display the relevant currency and shipping rates. The result is a completely tailor-made shopping experience.
An important aspect of the project was to streamline Celtic FC’s order system. Their retail technology solutions partner, Three Software, integrated Retail3, an EPOS system for stock control and customer management. As part of the project, Three Software adapted the software so the Celtic FC warehouse team can control stock and handle order fulfilment. This system also handles the complexities of the customizable products and holds all the product data.
That winning feeling
The new site launched on June 18, 2018 – earlier than expected. The move to the new domain was seamless, with traffic and visibility maintained at all times. The launch also coincided with the release of the new Celtic away kit, a handsome white shirt with a contrasting green tipped collar. Kit launches are the busiest time for Celtic FC, and a major test for Magento Commerce. The new site coped extremely well with the significant traffic spike, as thousands of Celtic fans clamored to buy the latest away shirt. In fact, Celtic FC sold more away shirts than ever before.
Celtic FC met all their launch KPIs and exceeded expectations. Their Average Order Value rose 25 percent higher than their target, and soon after launch revenue increased by four percent. The new website made a huge impact on shirt sales, with sales of the team’s yellow and black ‘lightning bolt’ shirt increasing by 58 percent. Finally, by taking over the management of their online shop, Celtic FC now has full control over their operations and a direct connection to fans. They can react faster and smarter to the outcome of their matches, and online revenue is pumped straight back into the club, adding to the club’s successes. At the time of writing, Celtic FC are top of the Scottish Premier League.