Summer of Sport 

Charlotte Broadbent, General Manager for Faire UK, looks at how independent retailers can capitalise on this year’s summer of sport

Man running 'The Summer of Sport' is almost upon us – and what a summer it's set to be. The UEFA Euros, Wimbledon and of course, the Paris 2024 Olympics are all kicking off over the next few weeks.

And with them comes a golden opportunity for independent retailers across the UK. With the world's eyes on Europe, the UK is set to enjoy a substantial uptick in visitors and local celebrations. Consumer confidence and spending is also expected to rise as Brits engage in garden parties, community events and a fair few trips to the local pub. So how can independent retailers ensure they are prepped and ready to capitalise on this unique opportunity and festive mood?

What are the potential challenges they might come up against? And how can they ensure they triumph over the big chains during this crucial sales period?

Here are five ways independent retailers can make sure they're on top of their game and ready to go for gold this summer.

Swot up on the sporting calendar: The key to maximising sales during the Summer of Sport starts with a strong understanding of the sports calendar. This includes not only knowing the general dates big events span over, but also the specific days and times of key events, especially those likely to draw significant viewership. By identifying these peak moments, retailers can plan to create buying moments that inspire customers to reach for their wallets, and get ahead of their inventory management to ensure they are well stocked during these periods. Similarly, they can also plan targeted promotions, special events, and themed point-of-sale displays in the days leading up to those events that help draw in consumers, maintain steady footfall, and incentivise purchases. Finally, getting to grips with the calendar means retailers can also predict when footfall is likely to be quieter because consumers are engrossed in the latest match or 100 metre sprint. This will allow them to plan opening hours or staffing accordingly.

Curate themed collections: Stocking relevant and timely products is essential during a sports-filled summer when a sense of patriotism will be high – whether it's football accessories, Union Jack bunting for team GB or more British-made products. Independent retailers often have really strong relationships with their customer base so have a deep understanding of what they like and dislike. They can leverage this knowledge and stock up on a range of seasonal items that will resonate well with their shoppers. And to make life easier for retailers, during major cultural events and seasons, we curate lots of themed collections on the Faire website so it's incredibly easy for them to quickly seek out unique and timely products.

Engage with community events: Big sporting events often inspire local communities to host viewing parties and other sports-related gatherings. Retailers should consider how they can be part of these local festivities. This could mean offering special discounts for event organisers, creating custom packages for group celebrations, or even hosting themed events in-store to attract a family-friendly crowd. Engaging directly with these community activities not only boosts sales but also strengthens customer relationships and helps cement your position within the local community.

Optimise for last-minute shoppers: Spontaneous celebrations can lead to a surge in last-minute shopping. Retailers should anticipate this by stocking items that require little prior preparation and can be purchased on the go, such as snacks, drinks, party-themed tableware and other disposable items. It's also a good idea to have flexible inventory management practices in place, which allow for quick restocking of popular items to meet unexpected demand without overcommitting on less popular stock. Faire supports this strategy by allowing you to purchase items in small quantities and or quickly find products with short lead times to match real-time demand.

Capture the cultural moment in your marketing: Effective marketing during the Summer of Sport means tapping into the shared excitement and patriotism that these events foster. Tailor your marketing campaigns to reflect the spirit of the games through timely and engaging content across all platforms - from eye-catching in-store displays to dynamic social media posts and email campaigns. Highlighting how your products can enhance viewers' experiences or celebrating national achievements can create a strong emotional connection, driving both traffic and sales - and many of our retailers are leveraging AI tools to help them quickly create and test campaigns like this.

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