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GUEST COMMENT Retailers can capitalise on the Olympics – if they do things right

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by Jean-Marc Noel

The build-up to the Olympics saw a small rise in the July UK retail figures – rising 0.3% from June and 2.8% from the same time last year. Even though there was not a strong build-up, the success of the games themselves creates a whole range of new opportunities.

Sports clubs are the most talked about benefactor for the ‘Olympic Spirit’, as thousands upon thousands of people decide to try something new. The impact on sports retailers is that they will see more and more first-timers looking to buy anything from running shoes to racing bikes. The concern for the customer is that, because they’re new to the sport and to the shops that sell the products, they often don’t know who they can trust.

External endorsements such as a trustmark can help to guide these new consumers. Once they see that a third party has verified the security and best practices of an online retailer, they’re given the peace of mind to shop with confidence.

The same is true of spectators that have been so enamoured with the British spirit and culture either from their time in the UK or from seeing the spectacle on television.

An ambition of the games was to boost the British economy and the amount of merchandise that accompanied the games leads us to believe that there will be an international demand for clothes, collectables and memorabilia. However, with any big event like this – and we saw it with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as well – there is a risk that vendors of poor reputation will enter the market.

The only way that retailers will be able to capitalise on the surge of interest in the UK will be by proving to the domestic and international consumer communities that they are a safe buying environment.

Trustmark schemes can help to achieve that safe environment by measuring retailers against criteria such as being a financially sound retailer, providing buyer protection and guaranteeing price transparency.

The Olympics is the largest global sporting event and brings with it a world of opportunity for many different people and businesses. For retailers, the task is to connect with a global audience – which they need to do through trust.

Jean-Marc Noel is the founder and managing director of Trusted Shops

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