Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 (S04) has taken the next step in its long term process of internationalisation. On Thursday, the Royal Blues launched a total of three online shops for fans in Asia. As of now, all S04 members in the Far East can purchase club merchandise quickly and easily online through schalke04storeasia.com. 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 explained: “This is another step forward in the development of our e-commerce-projects. Asia is an important target market for us, where we have 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 talked about the advantages of the new online shop: “We will not only be able to speed up the delivery process, but we can also develop market-specific products and offer 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% off all products to celebrate the launch of the online shops. In addition, all users who register for the shop will be entered into a draw to win a Schalke jersey signed by all the players.
Hong Kong based company EZshopnet International Limited are the club’s official partner in the e-commerce project and help run the online shops of several other clubs including Chelsea, Juventus and AC Milan. Perhson Wong, chairman of EZshopnet International Limited said: “We are happy to be working with FC Schalke 04 – our 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 e-commerce firm from Hong Kong and a creative web-design agency from the UK.”
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.