How retailers cope when World Cup Fever hits

Posted by Momentum Instore on 28 March 2018

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World Cup Fever will soon be upon us, a time when millions of fans are gripped by the excitement.

Like it or loathe it, there’s no escape once the games begin. There’s only one thing a retailer can do and that is to embrace the opportunity it brings.

The World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event, with vast numbers of fans travelling over 3,500 miles to support their country whilst the ones who stay home set about making plans with friends to watch the matches on the TV. And with all the influential sponsorship and advertising it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your customers’ shopping habits temporarily change. A trolley once full of meats, vegetables and cereals now proudly wheels around ready meals, beer, the latest kit and a football. If only we could predict the scores and how long each team will remain in the competition, we could predict when the shops are likely to be busy, but sadly we don’t have a crystal ball.

Pre-Match Nerves
Like the 11 men on the pitch you have to know your strategy, understand your competition, keep in great shape and deliver what your fans will expect of you.

Know Your Customer
Understanding your customers is key to putting a plan into place. You know them better than anyone – how will their lifestyle change – what will they want from you – how much will they want to spend? Let’s look at a couple of recent examples of how retailers have put this knowledge to great use but as the World Cup only comes around every four years, let’s take a look at other major sporting events.

Earlier this year Aldi started to sell a range of Six Nations clothing for adults and children starting from £4.99. Knowing that their customer base love and expect great value for money, this is a great way for them to show affinity and attract new customers into their stores.

Shopping habits during last year’s Wimbledon proved that the relationship between tennis, strawberries and champagne is stronger than ever. Sainsbury’s commissioned research to find the perfect sparkling wine to match the fruit and marketed this drink alongside the more expensive champagne. Sales of sparkling wine rose by 98% making the combination of strawberries and fizz more accessible to everyone.

Take Stock
Sport sponsorship not only increases brand awareness but heavily influences spending habits. Products with an affinity to the World Cup evoke an emotional attachment, as such your customers are likely to change from their regular brands to become fully immersed in World Cup Fever. To keep your loyal shoppers happy, it’s crucial you supply them with what they want. If you don’t, someone else will.

Coca-Cola has already started to spark emotions and partnered with Jason Derulo to release the FIFA 2018 World Cup Anthem ‘Colours’ to celebrate the vibrancy and excitement. This clever collaboration reaches out to more than football fans.

During the 2014 World Cup, Nike saw their sales and profits soar. The energy of their marketing campaign resulted in a net profit increase of 23% while revenue rose 15% over the same 3 months.

Lifestyle Changes
Watching sporting events inspires those watching to get out there and join in, but the flip side is the unhealthy food and drink choices fans make whilst sat on the sofa cheering on their team.

More than 14 million footballs with the Brazuca design were sold during the last World Cup – great for waistlines. In this same time period over £80 million was spent on Domino pizzas, witnessing the popular pizza company taking on 1,300 new drivers to cope with the demand – not so great for the waistline.

The Winning Score
There’s certainly a lot to consider to ensure your store or brand live up to the expectations of your customers. To retain your customers and attract new shoppers you must provide a great retail experience. Do your research, check out your competition, understand the influence of the sponsors and recognize the emotional ties your shoppers may have with product advertising.

Direct your customers to key points in your store using effective signage, showing that you too have an affinity with the products and sponsors. 

Whatever strategy works best for you it is key that you make it flexible. Imagine the team your customers are rooting for end up in the final - your stock, visual merchandise and staffing levels must meet the standards your shoppers expect from you. Asking staff to work on final day may be a more tricky situation – but that’s a whole different blog!

Good luck and embrace the opportunities!

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