Football Retail: Still Living In The Dark Ages

Football Retail: Still Living In The Dark Ages

I'm… long pause… shuffle of feet… awkward silence… a Spurs fan. There I said it. But don't worry if you're a fan of any of the other 18 perfectly-respectable premiership clubs (or even Arsenal), this is a friendly, well-meaning blog post. I mean you no harm. Besides, we're all in the same boat when it comes to being fans. We're all walking wallets. Cash cows. Client reference numbers. We're consumers of the official beer, the official ticket provider, the official online betting companies. But we're never, ever, customers.

The word 'customer' suggests that we own our custom and that we have any choice where to bestow it. But, like a failed safe-cracker doing a duckfoot, we're locked in for life. There is only one shirt we can buy (which, incidentally, is why us Spurs fans are a wee bit disgruntled that this oneis besmirched with evil red). We don't have the option of buying a Fulham shirt instead (we don't want to be laughed at in public) - what they offer we buy. Because we have no choice.

But this is, let's face it, a pretty ropy way to run a retail business. In fact, it's got icky echos

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Why product sampling is dead

The two dullest words in the world:

This morning on my journey into work, I was given a free little can of pop, a crappy plastic ticket wallet, an international SIM card and a voucher for a free dental checkup (not by the same people who gave me the fizzy drink, obviously). The drink tasted... kinda fruity? Maybe? A bit like bubblegum? Whatever it tasted like, I'm buggered if I can remember the brand. The ticket wallet will go unused; the SIM card went straight in the bin and I'm pretty sure the dental 'checkup' would just be an excuse to upsell me expensive treatments once I turned up. So, you know: thanks but no thanks.

Running the free crap gamut at a busy train station these days is a bit like walking through the 'entertainment district' of a cheap winter sun resort: "My friend! Come inside my restaurant! Sit! Sit! Very tasty, good price, free drink! Your wife, she very beautiful - I give you three camel!" It's annoying, it's a wee bit aggressive and, fundamentally, it's pointless. If something's such a good deal or such a great product, it probably doesn't require some guy grabbing my arm and dragging me towards it, or shoving a

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The one about anatomically correct dolls (and volume sales)

Volume sales the RIGHT way

Well done, you sold 50,000 Baby Wee Wee dolls (hey, we're just picking a product at random here). Now what? You've acquired 50,000 Baby Wee Wee fans, not 50,000 customers. They only bought from you because they're big fans of (all too) anatomically correct dolls and you happened to be around to feed their need.

Wouldn't it have been better if you'd sold a handful of Baby Wee Wees, plus maybe some Breast Milk Baby dolls, some Pole Dancing dolls and... um, maybe some products that weren't massively inappropriate? Remember: volume sales needn't only mean selling large quantities of one single product SKU - in fact, you're never going to grow your brand or acquire loyal new customers if that's all your marketing sets about to do.

That's one of the reasons daily deal promotions don't work: you blow your entire quarterly budget on promoting one product and, at best, acquiring a very limited type of customer. Far better to spend a much smaller amount of money over a longer time, and acquire a wide range of customers who actually care about your brand and your products.

That's why we tend not to charge per Co-buy. Instead,

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