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Olympics | Sales | Retail
January 2016

How to use the Olympic Games to

increase product sales

With 42 sporting codes taking centre stage at the 2016 Olympic Games, retailers could take advantage of interest in the event to generate more sales for products used in these sporting codes. RHIANAH RHODE asked suppliers for tips

During the month of August consumers will be keenly following the events taking place at the Olympic Games, which will be hosted 5-21 August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With their customers’ minds already focused on the sporting codes, retailers should employ means of converting this interest into sales.

There are a number of marketing-related tools that retailers can use for this purpose, say suppliers. Items such as Olympic Games displays, images, banners, etc. will attract customers’ attention in-store, as will displaying products that relate to the sports being played at the Olympic Games. For information on which games will be played when during the 2016 Olympic Games, see the table Below.


As a key way to attract customers he will use some kind of eye catching display in the window that will help draw customers into the store, says Brad Summers of The Golf Racket (local distributors of Wilson), who has years’ of experience in highlighting products by working in his company’s showroom and booths at sporting events.

Once a customer has entered your store, you should have some kind of back-up display that inspires him to buy. “These can be displays or interactive tools relating to the sports and brands.”

A lot of what retailers can do, will obviously depend on the available space in their stores, he adds.

Another form of media — and one of the most successful tools he has seen — are in-store televisions, advises Summers. But the key with this “is to show inspirational videos that show great or winning moments in the sport you are trying to highlight,” he explains.

For their own campaigns, they always use a television that is constantly showing footage of Wilson’s greatest winning moments and shots in sports, because it inspires people — and he believes that once the customer is inspired, he is more likely to purchase something.

Point of sale

Most of the top brands will be able to provide stores with images and point of sale material to use, says James Mullen of PUMA. If you purchased product from top brands, then they will provide you with point of sale material to communicate the benefits of the product, as well as the link to the Olympics, to your clientele, he says.

“Point of sale materials could include promotional items as well as give-aways, and the retailer could also advertise sports associated with the Games by putting up posters and advertising material in the store to complement the displays,” says Nick Wiltshire of Pat Wiltshire Sports, local distributor of Mikasa.

Make the most of high traffic areas

One of the ways in which retailers could leverage the Olympic Games and create hype in their stores could be to dress up mannequins to represent the different sporting codes that are being screened at the time, suggests Mullen.

He also suggests using point of sale displays in high traffic areas to attract attention to products. Retailers should also make sure that the high traffic areas focus on product that ties back to the Olympics and the store layout should force customers to walk past “planned so-called Olympic themed areas,” thereby ensuring that customers have more contact time with the products that you are selling.

Your store’s layout should scream Olympics from the minute customers see it, say suppliers.

Make sure that your customers’ first point of contact is with an Olympics campaign, says Evert Ferreira of Brand ID, local distributor of brands like Canterbury, Dunlop, Mizuno, Skins, Slazenger and Speedo.

As customers walk into the store, they should see Olympic Games-based branding, agrees Peter Wright from K&T Sports, local distributor of Malik.

Show athletes

Retailers should use season-related displays and could use the local heroes that consumers can relate to with a clear message as part of their point of sale items, adds Ferreira.

Any imagery or displays that indicate an association or partnerships with the event, team or individual athletes, can be used as an asset to help improve sales in store. Retailers who have this type of leverage should use it to attract customers, advises Sarah Mundy of ASICS SA.

Salesmen should, for example, use images and displays of players who are competing at the Olympic Games to create awareness of the different sports products in their store, agrees Wright.

Retailers should also remember to keep displays relevant to their customers. Stockists can ensure that their stores maximizes the timing of the Games by having bold and exciting window displays, and free-standing displays at strategic positions in the store that focus on certain codes that are relevant to their geographic location, says Wiltshire.

Encourage interaction

Another way of attracting customers is through banners, which can have regular designs or encourage customers to be more interactive.

“When we do promotional events at tournaments the best banners are the athlete pop-up banners,” says Summers. They had a Roger Federer pop-up at The SA Open Tennis Tournament a few years ago and everyone wanted to have their picture taken while standing next to him, he says. Some fans even wanted to buy it. The key was, however, that it got people on their stand and interacting with them. “I think the key with all pop-ups is that they are unique and eye catching,” he adds.

Banners with images of players attending the games will also attract customers, says Wright.

Retailers should hang banners in relation to hotspots in a store where customers will be able to see them and where possible drive a 360 degree approach to the full brand/production communication, suggests Mundy.

Unique in-store features that relate to a particular sport can also attract customers’ attention and get them to interact with you, says Summers.

They have a chair in their showroom that is in the design of a tennis ball, and he finds that everyone wants to sit on, and look, at it.

Fun games and competitions also encourage customers to connect with your store, like having customers “come in and predict who will win the most medals at this year’s Olympics and win a prize,” says Summers.

These types of competitions can be run in conjunction with, or in the lead up, to the games, says Wright, which can help attract customers before and during the games. The competitions can include things like identifying selected athletes or other Olympic Games trivia, he explains.

Another way to generate interest is via social media, says Mullen. Applications can be used to drive traffic and hype towards your store, and it “can be as simple and planning a bunch of tweets, Facebook posts, or images of the store posted onto Instagram,” he says.

When retailers use images, banners and other point of sale items, it is important to strike a fine balance as you don’t want to have too much clutter or so much promotion that customers can’t see normal merchandise or are unable to walk down your aisles, reminds Summers.

2016 Olympic Games dates

  Week 1 (5-11 Aug) Week 2 (12-18 Aug) Week 3 (19-21 Aug)
Athletics   x x
Badminton x x x
Basketball x x x
Beach volleyball x x  
Boxing x x x
Canoe x x x
Cycling x x x
Golf x x x
Gymnastics   x  
Hockey x x x
Judo x x  
Rugby (sevens) x    
Shooting x x x
Soccer x x x
Swimming x x  
Taekwondo   x x
Table tennis x x  
Tennis x x  
Triathlon   x x
Volleyball x x x
Water polo x x x

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