Mobile in stadium

How retailers can take advantage of major sporting events to boost profits and footfall

Danielle Collard
10 Jun 2024

You might think your industry is too far removed from the world of sports for any of it to have much of an impact on your business. Maybe you run a flower shop, bookshop, or vape store? But don’t rule it out just yet! We’ve put together a selection of ideas retailers can use to entice sports fans to your store.

Let’s get started!

First steps: choosing the right sports to focus on

The first thing you need to consider when planning to market to sports fans is which sports and major events you want to talk about. For example, do you want fans of specific sports to think of you, or to market yourself generally as a sporty kind of store? If you’re only thinking about the season ahead, you might consider focusing on big events from one or two events, such as the Olympics or Euros. That way, fans of those events will know they can come to you to buy merchandise or for exciting events. This could offer recurring trade that gives you a boost beyond the season.

No matter which kinds of events you give your attention, here are some points to keep in mind when making your choices:

  • What are your objectives when making these adjustments and how will each decision help you achieve them?
  • Who are your target customers and why will this event get them through the door?
  • How will you create excitement and awareness about what you’re doing?

Retail-based ideas for capitalizing on the sport season

While the hospitality industry scores big with televised sports screenings (and if your store has the ability to screen events, it’s definitely worth doing), the retail sector can prepare to cash in on merchandise, but there’s much more to it than clearing a shelf for some Team USA foam gloves and hats. So here are a few things to try over the next few months as sport-fever grips the nation:

Sport-themed products

Although there’s more to it than a special product line, big sports events mean big sales for retailers in the form of branded clothing, accessories, posters, stickers, and plenty of food and drink with special packaging to show support for the sport, the teams, and the players alike.

Give some new product lines a try and put them on display, front and center, where they can catch your customers’ eyes!

Promotions

Having the products sport-loving customers want to see is one thing, but promoting them with BOGOF, 3-for-2 offers, discounts, or other deals will make their eyes light up and get customers coming back for more. When you put your new products on display, come up with a promotion you can shout about that will get people talking as well as spending.

Social media

Once you’ve got the products and the promos in place, take them online and tie your business and your best items to the excitement of the tournaments taking place. Post about upcoming events and mention the products, the promotions, and anything else going on in-store so your customers can come down and enjoy them.

Social media is an infinitely valuable source of marketing for your business, and grabbing people’s attention ahead of tournaments is a great way of winning new customers and getting regulars coming back for more!

Sponsorships and partnerships

If most of the buzz for sports tournaments is taking place outside of your store, there are other ways your business can get involved. Sponsoring and partnering with the hospitality industry, sports teams, sports centers, and charities is a fantastic way to get your business and brand visibly associated with events.

Partnerships can also lead to profits directly if you’re able to sell off-site through pop-ups, stands, or by supplying other businesses so you can sell to customers as they spectate or attend events. Start reaching out to other businesses and foster good relationships with them that can lead to mutual benefit.

Getting your business visible at these events also leads to fantastic brand exposure to many new audiences who might not know who you are, but could soon become valued, loyal customers!

Hosting charity events

Maybe the sporting buzz has reached you in a way that’s too strong to ignore? Why not get involved and host an event in-store, either by participating in a social media trend (remember the ice-bucket challenge?) or by finding ways to participate in sport if not in-store then nearby? Running an event for charity fosters a sense of community and goodwill and often gets interest from people looking to help the cause who then engage with your business.

Charity events also improve your brand reputation, showing that you’re about more than the bottom line, and can be a way of having fun as you create ties to your community! They’re usually good for everybody’s health and well-being, too!

Prepare for pre-game, halftime, and post-game rushes

One tricky aspect of big-game days is the changeable flows of the feet through the door. If you’re not paying attention to sport, you might not understand why you can go an hour without seeing anyone, and then dozens of people suddenly appear in-store.

Whether you’re looking to win big from the sport or not, being aware of when people will be staying in to watch (or next door in the sports bar). You should also know when they’ll be out riding the highs of victory or distracting themselves from losses can help you anticipate staffing requirements and avoid missing out on sales.

You can predict the sort of traffic variation you’ll see by using your handy Epos Now reports to look at the way sporting events have affected footfall in the past. For instance, your time-based reports, including Time Interval, Time Period, and Time Comparison reports, can tell you what happened in your business on previous sports days, breaking your sales reports down, comparing day by day, hour-by-hour, or even half-hourly so you can spot the changes that occurred when the games were on.

Adjust your staff numbers, stock up on inventory if you notice sales boosts, but don’t just look at overall sales. Which of your products sell more on game days? Is there an increased demand for food or drink? Are any of your other products favored by fans? Stock up accordingly, and maybe consider running a promotion on those products to boost sales still further!

Don’t forget to have fun!

Whether you’re a sports-fan or not, you can always embrace the atmosphere of these events! Wear your widest smile all summer long and infect your team and customers with a festival cheer that helps wipe away all negativity from the day. Sport is about fun and excitement! Remember that throughout this season, and you’ll be sure to succeed financially and have a great time while you’re at it!