Starting on 20 September, Rugby’s biggest international tournament will be arriving in Japan and providing fans with the perfect excuse for get-togethers.
And with retailers such as Kam Singh Nijjer of Budgens Meriden (previously Spar) reporting that the very biggest sporting events provide a significant sales boost, those preparing now can reap rewards.
“During the football World Cup we can see up to a 20% increase in sales,” Nijjer says. His Coventry store embraces major sporting events by creating in-store theatre, bringing products together with footballs or other elements.
A good run by one of the home nations in Japan could mean a similar opportunity for stores, suppliers hope.
Toby Lancaster, category and shopper marketing manager at Heineken, says stores need to follow Nijjer’s example and meet suppliers half way to ensure that they fully benefit.
“Retailers should ensure that the Rugby World Cup is promoted in store, as well as online, to remind customers of the key moments they should purchase for,” Lancaster says. “Using creative PoS and having clear signs directing customers to the beer and cider fixture means that independents will not lose out to competitors. What’s more, ensuring that the chiller is fully stocked and easy to navigate, by ranging categories and pack formats together, will improve the shopper experience, driving repeat sales.”
While in-store activity can add a wow factor for shoppers, stores’ online profiles can also help build momentum. “Posting regularly on social media to remind and educate customers about upcoming events and must-stocks is key to maximising sales,” Lancaster adds.
Heineken is an official supporter of the Rugby World Cup, but many other food and drink brands associate themselves with sport and healthier living. With events occurring throughout summer, this investment can help stores inspire customers and boost sales.
Britvic’s Robinsons brand has a longstanding link with the Lawn Tennis Association and the Wimbledon Championships, while Lucozade’s Made to Move App encouraged shoppers to cycle 1.2 billion metres and make more than 62 billion steps between May and December last year.
Red Bull Project Pro, meanwhile, encourages consumers to learn from top British athletes including cricketer Ben Stokes and live more active lifestyles.
On-pack promotion of the programme runs until the end of August.
Heineken is investing in more non-sport-related summer events across its brand portfolio.
This includes Strongbow and Old Mout, which will be at several major festivals this summer to promote the brands, and Birra Moretti, which will once again have a presence during the British Summer Time series of concerts in London’s Hyde Park.
Tournament briefing: A retailer’s guide
The Rugby World Cup is a country-wide opportunity
With every home country involved, rugby fans from all of over the UK and Ireland will be sitting down to watch their team play. Scotland and Ireland play each other on 22 September, with England kicking off against Tonga later the same day. Wales play Georgia one day later. So, the good news is you’ve still got time to prepare as the first games are still nearly two months away and any promotional activity or PoS has time to have an effect.
The time difference won’t dampen the passion
The earliest matches will begin just after 5am and the latest at 11.15am, which may make it worth staff reminding shoppers about big games the day before. Don’t expect these time differences to affect sales too much – when England won the World Cup in 2003 (in Australia, in a similar time zone), the final was watched by 15 million people in the UK and was the most-watched sports event of that year.
The Rugby World Cup comes at a great time for stores
With the Women’s World Cup almost over and Wimbledon nearly done, we face a relatively quiet sporting summer in 2019 without, say, an Olympics in August to get the country excited. With the Rugby World Cup stretching from late summer into early autumn, the opportunity to sell drinks, snacks and confectionery will be welcome as independents wait for Halloween and Christmas.
We’ve only got a small store, so there isn’t a big space for promotions and displays. When big sporting events come along, it’s about making sure we’re stocking the promotions our symbol group puts on. Every customer wants to come in store and be inspired, so we also make sure we stock the big new products such as Walkers MixUps.
Creating a display with packs of beer and rugby balls can make a real difference for events like this. Theatre really works. We’re focusing on meals for tonight and chilled in store this year, and stock curries and sausages – all locally made produce. These can add to the snacks and alcohol in a basket for big events.
Five major sporting events coming up
Other big summer sport events between now and the Rugby World Cup:
After the Cricket World Cup, the England team go straight into test cricket’s most historic battle: a five-test series against old foe Australia from 1 August to mid-September.
British Grand Prix
Held on 14 July, the Grand Prix in Silverstone will be the most-watched Formula One race in the UK and will feature current world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Premier League season
The new season starts on 9 August, and early crunch games include Manchester United vs Chelsea (11 August) and Manchester City vs Tottenham (17 August).
Due to be held in Northern Ireland (18-21 July) for the first time in 68 years. 2018’s climax drew the biggest viewing figures since Tiger Woods’ heyday in 2000.
Athletics World Championships
A few days after the Rugby World Cup comes the biggest athletics tournament other than the Olympics. The sport’s biggest stars will gather on the track and field.
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