German Bundesliga football team FC Schalke 04 has taken the next step in its long term process of internationalisation, opening three online stores for fans in Asia.
The Royal Blues (as the team is nicknamed) has launched online shops to sell fans club merchandise quickly and easily online. This applies to every country in the Asia-Pacific region. For China and Japan there are separate online shops in the respective languages, while the English site reaches out to supporters in all the other countries.
S04’s marketing director Alexander Jobst said Asia is an important target market for the team, as it has already gained a lot of support.
“So we’re very pleased that the online shops are bringing us closer to our fans out there.”
FC Schalke 04 is currently communicating with more than 1.2 million people in China through the club’s Chinese media channels. Schalke’s Japanese Twitter account has over 90,000 followers making S04 one of the best supported European clubs in Japan. The language-specific Facebook page is also liked by almost 40,000 Japanese fans.
Jobst says the stores will enable faster delivery, market-specific products and country-specific payment methods.
To begin with, the online shops will be available in four different languages: Chinese, with both traditional and simplified writing, Japanese and English. Further language options are planned to follow soon.
FC Schalke 04 is offering a ‘welcome discount’ of 15 per cent off all products to celebrate the launch online.
Hong Kong based company EZshopnet International is the club’s official partner in the eCommerce project and help run the online shops of several other clubs including Chelsea, Juventus and AC Milan.
Perhson Wong, chairman of EZshopnet said FC Schalke 04 is the company’s first partner from the German Bundesliga.
“Most notable of all it is the first time that three parties from three different countries have collaborated to develop the online shops – a German football club, an eCommerce firm from Hong Kong and a creative web-design agency from the UK,” he said.
As part of their internationalisation strategy, FC Schalke 04 has long been putting most of its focus on the Asia-Pacific region, and has been able to strike two partnership deals with multi-billion Chinese companies Hisense and Huawei, as well as South Korean tyre manufacturers Kumho Tyre.