There has certainly been mixed feelings in the retail sector about the benefits versus the downfalls of the Olympics, however, experts at independent software retailer CTS Retail are reminding retailers that there is money to be made!
Research by Verdict in 2011 suggested that the London Olympics are set to be worth £100million in extra revenues to the UK retail sector and CTS Retail’s MD, Scott Storey, is confident that the Olympics will present many retailers with the opportunity to target a wider customer base than ever before.
Storey believes that utilising social media to drive products into the places where customers are searching for them, as well as delivering a seamless customer experience across all sales channels, is a ‘must-have’ strategy in the weeks leading up to the Olympics.
“The 2012 Olympics customer, is by far the most technologically advanced that they will have ever experienced. They will be comfortable with multi-channel sales and will expect and in fact, demand the same level of service online as offline. They are likely to be active on social networking sites, understanding and embracing marketing via this medium, as well as voicing their opinions and support for brands via Twitter and Facebook. They are likely to be comfortable with ‘M-Commerce’, using their iPhones, Blackberry’s etc to browse online stores and make purchases.”
To help retailers ensure they are ready for the Olympics, CTS Retail has developed a checklist of key points to consider.
CTS Retail’s ‘Olympic-Ready’ 5-Point Checklist:
1. Are You Looking Good? – The focus during the Olympic season must remain on promoting a good customer experience and merchandising is critical, from the second the customer walks through the door, through to the final stages of paying for their goods at the till
2. Can You Cope with Surges in Demand? Smaller retailers and independents may well find themselves struggling with the surges in demand during the Olympic season and expensive fixed fee license fees prevent many, from being able to simply open up additional tills. The rising popularity of Pay As You Go EPOS solutions such as Cervello, could help retailers to upscale their transactional capabilities during peak times without incurring heavy license fees
3. Is Your Website Working Effectively? With potential road closures impacting on footfall, it will be critical that a store website is working effectively to capture any sales or enquiries from customers who wish to avoid coming into store. There is still time to ensure products are uploaded, promotions put in place and any important details updated
4. Do You Need to Offer Contactless Payments? During busy sales periods, speed of transaction is vital to maximising sales potential. There are also statistics and research to show that consumers spend more, if not parting with cash, which is why contactless payments could help maximise sales
5. Have You Reviewed Your Security Measures? Reducing the amount of cash handling done, also reduces the risk of theft and internal collusion, which during busier periods and with temporary staff, can be harder to control
“Ultimately, there are many retailers set to benefit from the Olympics and it is worth remembering that any steps taken to improve the customer experience, will now continue to pay dividends long after the Olympics has ended,” adds Storey.