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The Retail Olympics 2021! Let the Games Begin!

by Jennifer Barham

The competition. The branding. The packaging. The revenue. With the Olympics in Tokyo well under way, I’m noticing a lot of similarities between this major sporting event and the everyday grind of the retail world.

Besides the obvious parallels between the two – the talent, the work ethic, the knowledge, and the individual drive – here are some more fun comparisons between retail marketing and the Olympic Games.

OPENING CEREMONIES. Yeah, I know. It’s not like retailers march in with flags and music to the cheers of the crowd. However, first impressions still matter.  Are you representing well? Is your branding communicating what you want it to? When consumers check out your displays, are they impressed and excited – or are you not making that much of a statement? Perhaps your graphics need freshening up or revamping.

LIGHTING THE TORCH. More than any other single factor, your lighting situation affects your buyers’ opinion of your product and, thus, your revenue. Whether it’s backlighting, spotlighting, overhead lighting, or something else, your services and products shine best in the right atmosphere. Lighting is the best investment because it’s the least buy-in with the greatest return.

THE PODIUM. Within any store, any category, any product line, there will be the front-and-center merchandise – the gold medalists! And there will be the second and third place (and so on) sellers. Make sure your first-place winners are standing tall and standing forward. Let them be seen and noticed and on display. They deserve to be applauded. And they just might be award-winning, after all!

SWIMMING EVENTS. Every Olympic swimming hopeful knows three things: pick the right stroke for the right race, pick the race you’re strongest in, and stay in your lane.  The same is true in retail marketing. Do what you do best and don’t get distracted by what others are doing.

ARCHERY. Have a goal you’re trying to hit. Spot your target and aim sharp. (And always have more arrows in your quiver!)

GYMNASTIC EVENTS. Floor routine, balance beam, parallel bars, vault. No matter the Olympic routine or the retail routine you’re involved in, one thing is for sure: you need stability and balance and strength and stamina. If you want to be the Simone Biles of retail, the top-notch professionals at Facility Source can help you get there.

TRACK AND FIELD. Sometimes retailing looks like jumping hurdles, one after the other. Sometimes it looks like the lightning fast 100 meter dash. Or the long, slogging marathon. Sometimes it’s the relay race, where you’re doing your part and depending on your team to do theirs, and carry the baton to the finish. Sometimes it’s the pole vault – a high mark you’re trying to clear. And sometimes it’s the steeplechase – barriers, pits, and everything in between – and you’re a complete mess at the end of it.

The 2021 Olympics are a great sign that things are returning to normal and we are able to enjoy large scale events again. In the same way, the retail game is on. Consumers are ready to shop and buy and they’re ready for the best of what retailers have to offer. Let the games begin!

Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno