What Online Retailers Can Learn From Nick Kyrgios! Yes, Really!

What Online Retailers Can Learn From Nick Kyrgios! Yes, Really!

In this opinion piece, the creative director of GMG Digital, John Isaac (pictured below), argues that rather than diss Aussie tennis brat Nick Kyrgios, online retailers and marketers could actually learn a thing or two from him…

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Before I start, I should warn you that this article may contain quite a large number of puns. I just can’t help myself.


If you haven’t heard of Nick Kyrgios by now or fallen victim to numerous global headlines, then you must be living under a rock or spending too much time at work. Parts of the Tennis fraternity and media outlets worldwide seem to be struggling to make sense of a sporting personality who has, let’s be honest, personality. Describing Kyrgios is difficult.

He is young, brash, talented, genuine, demands respect, unique, controversial, stubborn, loves attention, emotional…you get the point. He’s been described as ‘disrupting’ the Tennis world, delivering fresh, new blood to the sport and after his display at Wimbledon, traditionally a rule-loving competition, bending the rules of engagement.

So how is this any different within the world of online shopping?

Many markets seem saturated these days with players seeming to offer similar products or services and claiming to be ‘different’ to the competition when in actual fact, they are all wearing white.

Embrace Social Media and Public Opinion

Nick quickly took to social media to voice his opinion after accusations of tanking and racist comments from an Australian Swimming personality. Nick made his voice heard. What many didn’t expect though was Nick thanking his fans and supporters for jumping to his defense. Giving your fans social media love can only strengthen your reputation and popularity especially when it’s personal. Listening to feedback, reviews and public opinion can go a long way to refining your character and improving your service.

Bend The Rules To Your Advantage

Remember, in Tennis, the WHOLE of the ball needs to be outside the line. This means that even if 90 per cent of the ball is outside the line and only 10 per cent is touching the line, it’s still OK. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and put a little extra oomph into your swing. If your grip is solid, you have little to worry about.

Sometimes bending the rules makes people get behind you, follow you and keep an eye on what you’re doing.

Learn From Failures

In Australia, we seem to have a fear of failure or breaking things. We follow the norm in order to play it safe and seldom do we sit down and test new ideas. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why companies like GM Holden and Ford shut down so many manufacturing plants or why companies like Cadbury, Kraft and Smiths reduced serving sizes but maintained the same prices. It’s because they have no system in place to measure failure and search for improvements. Instead of innovating, they blame rising costs, shut shop and expect customers to pay the same amount for an inferior product.

Studying Japanese companies, such as Fujitsu, Toshiba, Honda and even the old Motorola, we can see their process improvement systems work a treat. Even though they are placed in tough markets, they stay alive. Kaizen!

Be True To Yourself

Don’t try and be something you’re not. The internet is full of people chasing dreams and living fairytales. The one thing we can all agree on is Nick is genuine. What you see is what you get. Understand your true identity and stick to it because by forging and maintain your true identity.

Think Apple. They make phones and computers like so many other companies but what is the real reason they are more successful than other brands? Sure their products look great but they do the exact same thing.

Keep Your Competition Guessing

One journalist claimed Nick had ‘disrupted’ the tennis world. For me, he has breathed new life into a sport which in my opinion has been suffering from do-gooders for so long. The colourful characters of the 80s and 90s have long gone. Here we have a fresh, 20-year-old lad with a bad haircut, gold chains and loads of talent, making noise.

Think Uber, Aldi and Tesla for example. These companies introduced innovative product offerings to existing markets and ruffled a few feathers along the way. Uber has forced traditional Taxi services to start thinking about their next move while inspiring others to come up with similar concepts such as Lyft and Luxe. Aldi shook up the Australian grocery market by offering competitively priced goods, forcing major players such as Coles and Woolworths to start thinking digital in order to gain an advantage. Tesla on the other hand, manufactured its own electric vehicles and has now moved into battery/power storage and created the need for vehicle charging stations.

By causing a shake-up within your industry, you force others to rethink their strategies which in turn creates healthier competition. Tesla and Virgin for example, are headed up by interesting, passionate and fearless leaders who are always exploring new ideas such as intergalactic expeditions.

People Expect Your Best – So Give It To Them

During Nick’s game against Richard Gasquet, he was booed during one particular game where the crowd believed he just wasn’t trying and could not give two hoots. Those watching thought Bernard Tomic had a car waiting out the back and Nick had called shotgun.

People pay good money to watch Tennis. People pay good money to purchase a product from your website and more importantly they spend time browsing for products, time which no amount of money can buy. So present your products to the customer as though you actually want to sell them. Time and time again I have seen sites hide their products or make customers search within the dark realms of inner pages in order to find what they are looking for. Show us you mean business and give us your best up front, don’t hide it, otherwise the booing won’t stop and then comes the social media backlash.

Don’t Get Complacent

Just because you are a big name brand or sell a big ticket item does not mean you should rest on your laurels. New players are entering the market every single day. By constantly testing your skills against opponents, you can easily learn where you sit in an ever-changing market at any given moment. Nick learned that a single Tennis game can last as short as 55 seconds and if he doesn’t adapt or change tactics quickly, it’s game, set and match.

Tennis players watch match videos to review their errors and areas of improvement. We have in-depth analytics and data to learn more about user behaviour, goals and pain-points.

Advantage Customer

Nick Kyrgios may not have won any major tournaments or grand slams yet, but being true to himself has scored him a global following, new fans and more and more people are willing to watch him play. Nick Kyrgios is the ‘product’ and the ‘customers’ are loving it while the global Tennis suits are laughing all the way to the bank.


John Isaac is the Creative Director at GMG Digital. You can connect with John at LinkedIn.