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Retailers urged to make final checks to maximise Olympic trade

With the Olympics less than a month away, retailers are being urged to review their in-store and online offering to ensure they are ready to maximise the potential sales brought by Olympic visitors.

Despite mixed feelings within the sector about the impact of the Games, research by Verdict in 2011 suggested that this summer’s London Olympics could bring in £100 million in extra revenues to the UK’s retail sector.

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Scott Storey, managing director of CTS Retail, believes the Olympics present many retailers with the opportunity to target a bigger customer base than ever before.

“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,” remarked Storey.

“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, Blackberrys etc to browse online stores and make purchases.

“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 have ended.”

With that in mind, CTS Retail has published an ‘Olympic-ready five-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 licence 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 licence 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 also reduces the risk of theft and internal collusion, which during busier periods and with temporary staff can be harder to control.

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