Commerce Trends

by Manhattan Associates

How retailers can survive a summer of sport

Whether it’s Wimbledon, the upcoming Olympics or the hugely talked about UEFA European Championship, 2016’s summer months will be jam-packed with sporting activities captivating the globe.

So what does this mean for the retailers targeting one or more of these iconic events? More sales, an increase in demand, high consumer expectation and next day, if not, same day delivery will be the reality for retailers trying to keep up with sporting fans this summer, and could result in disaster if not managed appropriately.

With this in mind we have put together our top tips to help retailers make it over the finish line this summer.

tennis seriesLearn from the past

An important first step is to make sure you have looked at what happened during the last sporting season. Think back to the London 2012 Olympics, how much did volume spike? Which items were most popular? Where did issues arise? Having this baseline will help to project anticipated volume in the months to come and will provide a better idea of potential problem areas in the system that should receive extra attention and testing.

Plan ahead

If your distribution system includes software from various vendors, engage with those concerned and set up a test (or a series of tests) that simulates peak shopping times. If possible, plan to test the system several times. In an ideal world you would have started this process a while back but testing now can also be a great start for Christmas preparations. Simply put, it’s never too early to test.

Get flexible with fulfilment

Moving forward, the pressures of omnichannel demand will be a call to action for retailers to implement flexible fulfilment strategies that allow them to easily address inventory supply and demand issues. Flexibility is the new “must have” for retailers as they seek to conquer the unpredictability of omnichannel shopping, and poor planning will no longer be an acceptable scapegoat for inventory shortages. And remember, initiatives like ship from store are your new best friend!

Make your products available, the same day!

Same-day delivery is the latest aspiration when it comes to retail trends. And as same-day shipping becomes more ubiquitous, the stigma associated with its expense is fading and consumers are expecting this as a realistic delivery approach. So how do you get it right? Inventory visibility is fundamental to same-day delivery success, but for some retailers this presents a technology gap. An accurate record of which inventory is available to consumers for same-day delivery is crucial. Without appropriate inventory management technology in place, a retailer can’t even think about an on-demand program.

Think beyond the website

Despite the rise in online purchasing, brick-and-mortars remain the biggest revenue driver for retailers. Technology that encourages customers to visit stores during the sporting season will prove invaluable during the next few months. In-store returns of online purchases, for example, will prove its worth by getting bodies into stores, which means opportunities for ‘upselling’ and impulse buying on the day of the match that just don’t exist online. Those who have will show it off during the big events, and those who haven’t will come in a slow second.

And don’t forget that this is not a new experience, all retailers would have experienced peaks like this at other times of the year, such as Black Friday, and the learning’s that are taken from these events are the ones that will really make a difference during the next few months.