Summer TV sales: keep your eye on the ball

James MacDonald, marketing manager at Freeview, on how retailers can maximise sales as the World Cup drives people to upgrade their sporting viewing experience


The 2014 World Cup drew in more than 20 million viewers and, with such a broad appeal, it is little wonder that the tournament provides fans with a real incentive to upgrade their TV sets. However, this does not mean that TV retailers should expect an easy sell this summer.

Rather than simply boosting overall sales figures for the year, previous World Cup years have instead seen TV sales become more concentrated on the months immediately before the tournament begins.

This means that the sales season leading up to the World Cup is crucial to retailers’ success this year. If a campaign does not hit the mark, or if they lose out to a competitor offer, retailers could potentially risk missing out on a substantial proportion of their projected sales for the year.

So how can retailers ensure they are prepped for success?

While the World Cup will rarely be the sole reason behind a purchase, it plays a key part in the decision itself – in May 2014 sales of big-screen TVs soared by 50 per cent, no doubt caused largely by football fans wanting to ensure they had the best view of the action.

Retailers, therefore, need to ensure that their marketing efforts reflect this balance. Instead of marketing collateral focusing mainly on the price, campaigns need to emphasise the features and benefits of key models, and how each of these features can enhance the viewing experience.

Screen size and functionalities, such as HD, are key features that consumers will certainly be looking out for. However, highlighting extra features, such as 4K, OLED, and on-demand services, can help provide customers with that additional incentive to buy.

James MacDonald

This summer is promising to be jam-packed with programming. The World Cup, Wimbledon, cricket and popular shows such as Love Island will all be vying for attention, and having the right on-demand capabilities is likely to be a priority for households across Britain.

Freeview Play means that not only do on-demand apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 come as standard, customers can also search and find recommendations for the best shows across the players, making it easier and quicker to find the content they want to watch.

Emphasising these extra features and how they work will be a key way of converting sales this summer and it is essential that retailers invest in training staff to do this effectively.

Sales teams need to understand exactly what each customer is looking for and what their viewing priorities are, so they can match them up with a model that has the right features for them. TVs are not cheap, and making that bit of extra effort to understand what each customer really wants will make a massive difference when trying to cut through in an extremely competitive marketplace.

At Freeview in particular, we will be working really closely with our retail and manufacturer partners to make sure staff are able to give clear demonstrations of the key benefits and features of Freeview Play to customers that are interested in making a purchase.

We undertook research with the retail research agency Shoppercentric to get an accurate picture of how our existing p-o-s materials were functioning, and what we needed to change. In what is an increasingly cluttered environment, especially ahead of sporting events such as the World Cup, we found that p-o-s materials now have to work much harder to have an effect. Brands need to focus in on what their key message and functionality is, to provide retailers with simple, streamlined p-o-s.

In line with this, we have reworked our p-o-s and developed impactful audiovisual pieces for retailers to use in-store, and we are already feeling the benefit. Retailers should encourage other brands to follow this approach in order to really maximise on sales this summer.

This year’s World Cup could well be key to retailers’ success across 2018 and beyond, creating a standout customer experience at such a busy time is a great way of building customer loyalty and sales even when the Summer of Sport is over.