LA JOLLA, Calif - July 25, 2002 - Online registration not only simplifies the registration process but the service can be used as an effective tool for promoting and selling official race merchandise, according to Active.com. After solid testing with several popular events, the Web registration leader has introduced an easy-to-use feature, 'ActiveMerchandiser,' that lets event directors incorporate merchandise offers and pricing into their online registration forms. An enhancement to Active.com's online registration service, ActiveMerchandiser is simple to set up, easy to manage and offers multiple customization options.
Several events, including The Hilly Hundred, a three-day October cycling event in Indiana that attracts more than 5,000 participants, have increased merchandise revenue and efficiency using ActiveMerchandiser. Registration Director Greg Mauer, who has worked with The Hilly Hundred since 1981, has used Active.com online registration for the past three years and was among the first to emphasize merchandise sales through the online registration process. According to Mauer, the management process has improved dramatically and online merchandise sales have increased more than 50% this year.
"We used to sell all of our merchandise on paper-based registration forms using a grid that listed all of our items on paper. It was a real challenge tallying everything and dealing with wrong entries and miscalculations," explained Mauer. "Participants would often get the math wrong and send us checks for a dollar or two short. We always tried to absorb the cost but where do you draw the line' Participants would place an 'x' in the quantity box and that can't always be interpreted. Doing all of this online makes the process very cut and dry. It's very clear how much a participant is going to be charged and the math is done automatically prior to payment so there's no question about charges. The fact that we see online sales increase each year shows participants are pretty comfortable with this process."
Using ActiveMerchandiser, event directors can now add any type of apparel or merchandise offer - t-shirts, jerseys, caps, water bottles or anything else - right into their registration forms. Items can be listed with specific sizes, colors and pricing. Images of items can also be added for easy viewing prior to purchase. All of this information can be accessed right from the online registration form, at the time participants are completing registration.
ActiveMerchandiser also gives event directors more opportunities to promote specific merchandise and encourage purchases. Items can be highlighted in the list, for example, indicating if something is new or only in stock for a certain time period. Images of the items can also be featured to the side of the registration form, in the right navigation bar of the registration forms, so participants can quickly see 'hot' items. Items or images can be changed at any time, easily.
"Online registration opens so many avenues to effectively promote and raise money for events. What better time is there to sell race apparel than when participants are online completing the registration form with credit cards in hand," said Jon Belmonte, chief operating officer for The Active Network, parent of Active.com. "For participants, buying a race t-shirt or cap is a great way to get pumped up for the event. We've seen participants make multiple purchases for other friends in the race and even family on the sidelines."
Pacific Sports, a sports consultation firm that produces several Los Angeles-area and Cleveland events, also used the tool for merchandise sales this year. The firm's big merchandise events include the Catalina Marathon, held on Catalina Island on March 16, and the City of Los Angeles Triathlon, scheduled for September 8. "It's much easier for participants to purchase items online. They have their credit card out already and can register and purchase merchandise with one transaction. If they wait to do it later, sometimes they never do it," added Katie Caress, director of information services. "We can better forecast how much merchandise to purchase and don't end up with a lot of left over items or not enough items. It also adds a bit of prestige to the race. We have high quality items that can be pre-purchased and can be picked up at the expo or after the race. No hassles. I don't think many races offer this type of thing and it sets us apart somewhat."
To take advantage of ActiveMerchandiser, event directors can go right to their Active.com registration center, customize their merchandise offerings, and get started. Event directors can also contact their account representatives directly.