The greatest show on earth came to Great Britain; London welcomed thousands of the world's best athletes, and millions of visitors, from all over the World.
London's retailers rubbed their hands in glee in anticipation; this would no doubt be another massive windfall for an industry that prospers from patriotic events. Remember Great Britain recently celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, another fantastic and patriotic occasion.
I was privileged to be at Eton Dorney, home for London 2012 rowing, the day Team GB won their first Gold Medal, and can confirm that retail sales were prolific inside the rowing complex. Everything from face paint to sweatshirts, lapel pins to packs of cards were evaporating in front of the hordes of people lining up to make purchases. I would imagine that the same occurred at other Olympic venues; certainly that was the case in and around Weymouth, home of the sailing team.
But what of those retailers around the country and outside these shrines to the 30th Olympiad?
This was certainly a tale of two extremes, with some retailers doing extremely well and others really struggling. We had three years to plan this major event, surely the Holy Grail for retailers; however knowledge of an event is one thing and planning another! How can you plan when the last time the Olympics came to town was 1948? It is indeed hard to plan for an event that last occurred before many of us were even born!
Todays' retailer is equipped with mountains of data, efficient point of sale systems and data warehouse systems that all help inform business decisions and drive operational efficiencies. So why are we seeing different outcomes for retailers in this Olympic season?
It comes down to trust and loyalty in the brand. Retailers who are able to command the unquestionable consumer passion in a world of almost unlimited consumer choices have gone beyond the old rules of marketing of product, package, position, price and promotion. Retailers are better prepared to predict and react to consumers in real time thus encouraging brand enthusiasm.