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England may not have brought football home this year, but for many fine food independents, the team’s ascent to the final of the UEFA European Football Championship was a boon for sales.
From themed meal boxes based on the duelling nations to promotions on sharing cheese platters and barbecue supplies for those gathering to watch the matches at home, retailers proved there were plenty of ways to capture consumers’ imaginations with clever marketing and promotions.
Charlie Wells, director at The Farm Stratford believes sporting events offer retailers a big chance to maximise sales – especially when one of the home nation teams makes it all the way to the final. “For the likes of Wimbledon and especially the Euros, the excitement around the event gives customers a buzz,” she explains.
“I really believe that any time you see a ‘buzzword’ that links your thoughts back to the event or celebration, it gives off endorphins, making you more inclined to make a purchase. Customers enjoy feeling part of a community, and sport offers this, whether that’s through attending the event itself or buying sport-inspired products,” Charlie says.
Catering to these events can be as simple as offering sweet treats topped with a flag in your café or adding new products to your offering, as Colchester’s Blackwells Farm Shop did by bringing in Euro-themed BBQ meats.
For Charlie at The Farm Stratford, creative displays offer a simple way to pique the interest of shoppers. “Our front table always has a theme, so naturally when there are sports events on it’s centre stage! Wimbledon and the Euros have crossed over, so we’ve done a half-and-half table display,” Charlie explains.
Customers engage with the displays, which act as great conversation starters for staff members. “It’s interesting to hear customers’ comments. It generates positive chat and interest, which is always good news! We’ve got tennis rackets, tennis balls, the Euro fixtures, a giant football… and more,” Charlie says. “The theatre around the product captures customers’ attention, leading them to pick up products,” she continues.
Displays can also translate well to social media platforms, such as Instagram. By sharing photos of your shop’s themed displays online, there’s an opportunity to maximise engagement and sales even further.
One of The Farm Stratford’s secrets to making a success of a sporting event is by simply rebranding some best-selling products. “Our most recent popular products have been our Wimbledon Afternoon Tea Box and Euro Graze Box,” Charlie says. “To be honest, the products are not new, we’ve just slightly tweaked the title resulting in an increase in sales.”
The Euros and Wimbledon have now come to an end, but by taking the lessons learned through these events forward to the big tournaments on the horizon, like the Olympics this summer and the World Cup next year, retailers can continue to capitalise on the opportunity offered by sporting events.
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