Shopping at the Team Stores

Over the years we have continually maintained the value of a good shopping experience at both the league stores and individual team stores online.  These stores represent an ongoing point of contact between the teams and their fans, and the goods they sell become walking advertisements for the franchises they signify.  Over the last couple of days we have shopped at a couple of those stores and have found the experience wanting.

We have been on the Philadelphia Union and DC United sites to purchase baby clothes for friends with newborns in those two cities.  Neither couple is a big soccer fan, but what better way to join the world than sporting the newest United and Union “onesie”!!!  Both sites had an adequate supply of goods for kids and the shopping experience was fairly painless.  It was on check-out that the experience was lacking.

Neither Union nor United had a mechanism by which a purchase could be termed a “gift”.  There was no way to wrap the items, no way to send a card and not even a way to send a note of congratulations.  Given the amount of purchases made on these sites for gift giving purposes, the omission seemed remarkable. This is especially so, because similar purchase two weeks ago from the Baltimore team store offered a wide array of gift options.

We contacted both shops to ask about options.  The United store simply indicated that there was no gift options and no plans to add one.  The Union store indicated that the area reserved for shipping comments (e.g. “use the back porch”) could serve as a spot for a gift note, but this is a half measure at best.  Merchandise sales are an enormous component of revenue for professional sports leagues and gift giving is an enormous component of those sales.  This seems like bad business to us.  Tell us about your experiences with these shops?  Positive? Negative?  Here is our story from January, 2010 about shopping online for soccer gear.