“A Strong Digital Retail Structure Is Key To Success In These Challenging Times”
By Taruka Srivastav | February 9, 2021
iSportConnect spoke with Matthias Christian Zerber, Retail ＆ Licensing Director, F.C. Internazionale Milano to get an insight into how the impact retail has on the club’s overall business.
What are your global ambitions for Inter Milan’s retail side, how are you going to continue to grow internationally?
First of all I’d like to say that I have found a very solid retail business when I first started my job with Inter. The team here in Milano has built a very good base over the last couple years that can be perfectly used to further build the business upon.
Since I have only started my new role as Retail and Licensing Director mid January I am still in an evaluation phase of the business and the opportunities on hand. Our joint ambition is to make the Inter brand more accessible to the already existing Inter fans worldwide while simultaneously trying to engage new fans with our brand. I strongly believe in the triangle of awareness, sympathy and utilization.
There have been many challenges in the Covid period but how has tech been able to benefit the retail side?
With the pandemic still having a tight grip on the world and on the business we need to assess risks and opportunities even more cautiously than we would do it in a normal situation. What we see is that the trend of changing consumer behaviour towards digital channels has been accelerated by the pandemic. This conclusion has to be an integral part of our growth strategy domestically and internationally. We are currently in discussions with our preferred partners for our e-commerce and marketplace operations in order to understand which actions we can undertake in order to grow our business together in the light of the challenges related to the pandemic.
In my opinion a strong digital retail structure together with a product offering which is designed to the needs and expectations of the consumers is key to success in these challenging times.
What is tech offering in terms of new licensing revenue streams?
First of all tech is offering a lot of help in monitoring and managing licensor-licensee relationships. This allows the license managers to focus on planning their strategy and acquiring new as well as keeping a benefitial relationship with existing licensees.
In addition to that the progress of tech opens a new business field when it comes to individualising / customising products as well as creating license opportunities related to AR/VR just to name an example. Overall tech will help to reshape the license industry related to the products and services offered and will create new business opportunities.
Do you have any plans to expand to more global stores, something other major clubs also do?
As already mentioned before our joint ambition as a club is to engage as many people as possible with the Inter brand on a global scale. Related to that we will evaluate our opportunities to expose the brand on a market-by-market approach.
Are imitation of jerseys a potent problem? How can it be combated?
If you have a strong brand like Inter, counterfeiting is always a problem. In the domestic market as well as in international markets. In order to minimize the damage that the brand automatically suffers from the sale of any counterfeited product we work closely with a team of legal advisors, authorities and a designated third party provider to monitor and take action against unauthorized activities as effectively as possible.