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WWE recently partnered with Fanatics in a wide-ranging deal that includes e-commerce, trading cards, and NFTs. This summer, Fanatics will launch the WWE Shop e-commerce platform for merchandise, accessories and apparel from the sports entertainment brand.

Fanatics will be the exclusive provider of NFTs/digital collectibles as well as trading cards. Michael Rubin – who owns Fanatics – recently acquired trading card company Topps for $500 million. An acquisition that was a key component in this deal.

“We believe this multi-platform partnership will set a new standard for WWE e-commerce, apparel and merchandise while providing our fans globally with more ways than ever to engage with WWE and our superstars,” said Vince McMahon, chairman and chief executive of WWE.

Rubin added: “WWE is one of the most widely admired sports and entertainment properties worldwide, and it made perfect sense to activate many parts of our Fanatics global platform to create a first-of-its-kind, all-in fan experience.

“From e-commerce and licensed merchandise to trading cards and more, we’re going to offer up an incredible set of capabilities to help WWE’s passionate fans worldwide celebrate their favourite Superstars, marquee events and the WWE brand overall.”

The long term deal will also have a reactive element where Fanatics can immediately commercialize big moments in the WWE universe.

What to look out for in e-commerce

It’s projected that in 2023, eCommerce retail purchases are expected to rise from 14.1% to 22%. A substantial increase in the size of the sector. In 2022, eCommerce is expected to generate $5.5 trillion in sales.

Activ8 Automation explained the “noisiness and clutter” of the e-commerce space, how they’ve cut through, and what to expect from Fanatics.

CEO of Activ8 Automation, Taylor Andrews, said about the sector: “The e-commerce space is fascinating as well as complex – it’s ripe with opportunity and a blue ocean that anyone can take part in, given they partner with the right consultant partner.”

“We have become that partner for many and our goal is to make it widely known that we are the right partner to help make others’ e-commerce journey a very prosperous one. Fanatics can certainly do that for WWE. They have a strong history and foundation, and even better they’re building bespoke platforms to enhance the viability of the partnership and its subsequent success.”

Andrews described how any major partnership has initial growing pains and it wasn’t easy for them when they first started. That transitioned into the firm being one of the top e-commerce consultancies.

“We quickly realized that providing white-gloved client service is critical in maintaining client satisfaction and driving organic growth.”

“Now that we’re a larger operation we can pinpoint learning early on from our mistakes and that we needed to focus on building our internal teams and processes to create best-in-class client service and support.” He added.

Andrews also pointed out the need for data to drive your direction and decision-making. Working with WWE he mentioned it was important that Fanatics kept track of the top wrestlers, events, moments, and buying data to always stay a step ahead.

Andrews continued: “We didn’t always start with a data-centric approach to building and maintaining our business, but that has changed over time. At first, we weren’t capturing and leveraging data to our advantage, which affected our overall business strategy or lack thereof.”

“Once we realized that data is power we began to shift our focus, incorporating it into our ways of working and developing our core value proposition. Since that shift happened, we’ve been able to offer our clients an even higher level of premium service in this industry – with more accurate projections, better metrics and analytics, as well as increased client retention.”

Andrews concluded by saying adaptability is key and to not be stuck to any one plan for e-commerce success, mentioning the best firms can quickly pivot for maximum reach and effect.

“The reason why we were able to overcome all these challenges is that we are nimble and adaptable with whatever comes our way. It’s important that in this opening relationship element Fanatics stays the same with its new partner to generate the strongest results.”