Article

Sakina Najmi
Sakina Najmi 2 August 2016

A Summer of Sport

How smaller retailers can make the most of the summertime opportunity.

During the summer, millions of people from all walks of life tune in or go out to watch big sporting events across the world. 2 million people turned out to watch the London Olympics in 2012 and more than 800,000 people watched the events on big screens across city parks. Summer sunshine and longer evenings also have a big impact on consumer behaviour, with people choosing to spend more of their time outside.

So, what does this bumper summer of sport mean for retailers with the Rio Olympics and the Euro tournament just around the corner? What are the changes in customer behaviour that retailers need to understand, and how can they refine their marketing strategies to make the most of the opportunity?  

Be mobile optimised

People are less likely to be sat in front of a desktop at home and more likely to be using their mobile on the go over the summer period, especially if they’re a sports fan. Make sure your channels are designed to suit your mobile audience, or better yet – make your channels responsive to each individual device or environment. A 2015 Criteo Mobile Commerce report found that mobile devices were used in 30% of online retail transactions in the US last year, and 54% of mobile purchases were made via a dedicated shopping app - so this isn’t something retailers can afford to ignore. Make it easier for consumers to close the deal by streamlining the number of clicks they have to take to checkout, providing a variety of payment options and having a dynamic mobile site displaying relevant products for each consumer.

Time it right

Customer-centric marketing isn’t just about targeting the right people, but targeting them at the right time. On the Sunday prior to Mother’s Day in 2015, sales of health and beauty products went up 51%[1].  Using data to build up a profile of customers is vital for any retailer to better understand how they shop, but is even more important during one off events when brands can capture their customers’ attention and offer relevant purchases in the moment.  An example of capturing the right moment happened in 2013 – the Super Bowl lights went out and Oreo’s almost-instantaneous tweet about it was shared more than 15,000 times. The tweet was only 22 characters long, with timing being the most important factor here. The more nimble structure of small businesses means they can often have the edge when it comes to ‘moment marketing’, as they have the freedom to action ideas and take advantage of opportunities much quicker than larger organisations.

Use data

Customer preferences can change drastically over the summer – they’re thinking, acting and shopping differently.  Make sure you’re using your customer data to understand how their behaviour is different during the season, and what makes them tick when the sun comes out. For some small companies, the sheer wealth of customer data can sometimes feel overwhelming. Partnering with a performance marketing expert can help companies make sense of what data they have, what data they need, and how to interpret it to gain invaluable consumer insight.  

Be creative

Cutting through all the noise surrounding big sporting events can be difficult, so brands need to be creative in order to stand out. Luckily for small businesses, creativity doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Digital marketing is beginning to level the playing field between big brands and small businesses, giving the latter the opportunity to run adverts side by side with some of the biggest names in the world. Small businesses shouldn’t be put off if they don’t have a huge marketing team or a big budget.  There is still a massive opportunity for them to showcase their business – and they should take advantage of their nimble structure and higher level of autonomy by being brave, creative and original with their online marketing. 

Everyone’s a winner

The summer of sport is a unique opportunity for smaller retailers to use the wide appeal of sporting events to link back to their products. Putting mobile first, making smart use of data and seizing the right moment for marketing will allow them to predict and capitalise on temporary consumer buying trends.

Brands shouldn’t be too prescriptive in their approach. Instead  they should view it as a way to showcase their most creative thinking to deliver the best results.  Getting it right can means businesses can expect to see a significant uplift to their bottom line over the sporting season, meaning everyone’s a winner!

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