The summer of sport is well under way, but are retailers doing enough with big data to ensure they are monopolising consumer spend?

With the Euros now well under way and not long until Wimbledon and the Olympics, retailers can look forward to a summer of – with a bit of luck – improved sales.

Sporting events like these have a huge impact on consumer confidence and behaviour and can offer a golden opportunity for retailers, but are they prepared?

Know the game

Different tournaments will see varying levels of demand, depending on their popularity. The broader, more popular tournaments with higher viewing figures, such as the Euros and the Olympics, will see an increase in demand across several categories, from electricals to garden furniture.

During the more niche tournaments, such as the Tour de France and the Ryder Cup, retailers will see an impact across relevant sporting categories like bikes and golf.

This might seem somewhat obvious, but the trick for retailers is being able to identify when demand changes and by how much.

The key is to choose tournaments that have similar traits such as duration, location and the success of the home nation, and compare the consumer behaviour for the duration (pre, during and post tournament).

By comparing similar tournaments and customers’ behaviour in the past, retailers can understand how and when customer behaviour might develop and change in the future.

This will then allow them to make recommendations to raise marketing above BAU at specific moments during tournaments that they can be confident will generate increased sales.

Peaks and troughs

Using the example of the Euros, demand for products such as TVs and garden furniture is pulled forward by up to 10% in the weeks before the tournament starts.

Customers will begin their research and purchase with the aim of having their TV up and running in time for the start of the tournament.

This means that those who may have wanted to buy a new TV in July, then decided to purchase one sooner, in May or June, so they could watch the football on their brand new TV.

Similarly, demand for garden furniture increases before the tournament starts so customers can be ready to entertain guests when the action is under way.

Some categories will receive more impact than others. Retailers can agree and set various hypotheses outlining the categories they expect to be impacted the most during the tournament.

By analysing in-store as well as online customer data, retailers can identify how this might impact their customers in the future.

Kick off

Interestingly, once the big tournaments start, customers change the timings of their shopping. Rather than shopping in the evenings, customers are bringing forward their shopping behaviour, so they can dedicate their leisure time after work to watching sport. However there is minimal difference across the weekend.

For shorter tournaments, such as the Tour de France, traffic for the cycling category increases during the tournament, as customers feel more inspired.

The performance and success of the home nation is also a key driver of demand. Non-sports categories such as food and drink will see a spike in advance of an individual game and will continue to be subject to extra demand for as long as they remain engaged, often depending on the success of the home nation.

It is important that retailers can recognise and react quickly to any changes in customer behaviour to capitalise on short-term peaks in demand. Retailers need to be on the ball, or they risk coming last.

Republished from Retail Week, 23rd June 2016.

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