The UK Christmas retail market contributed around £70bn of sales last year. The month countdown is on and so begins the most important period of trading for retail businesses across the country. It also gives football clubs the opportunity to fight head on against these retailers for their fans hard-earned money. Celtic have gone down the John Lewis route in producing their own advert, aside from featuring Scott Brown as a young Celtic fans imaginary friend (or ghost of Christmas present depending on your opinion of Brown and Celtics season so far!), it very cleverly showcases a vast range of Celtic merchandise. We take a look at a selection of clubs and investigate what they’re doing to capitalise on the Christmas retail rush. The three main things we’re looking out for here are:
- Christmas jumpers – sales of these previously embarrasing-to-wear jumpers started to rise in the early 2000s, and they’re now as much of a Christmas tradition as leaving carrots out for Rudolph. They’re also a piece of merchandise that can be easily customised with any clubs colours or crest. Instant profit is really a no brainer.
- a retro or vintage collection of merchandise – it was recommended in the October issue of FC Business magazine that introducing a vintage range near to Christmas would really drive sales and give fans the ideal thing to put on their Christmas list.
- all products can be easily purchased and delivered – improving fans experiences shouldn’t just be happening in the stadium on a matchday. If the online and ordering experience isn’t of the standard fans (/consumers) expect these days, they won’t buy.
We’ve mentioned them already so let’s continue with the current Scottish Premiership leaders. The production and release of the advert above is already a plus point in the battle for Christmas retail pounds. How does the online club store shape up?
A separate part of the store dedicated to Christmas, and an image within the carousel advertising their Christmas jumpers, I’ll be surprised if Celtic fans were unable to find their Christmas retail offering if they’re browsing the website. From Celtic chocolate stocking fillers, to home and away onesies, and a money-off deal on all three of this seasons kits, Celtic really have Christmas covered this year. However, with it being run through popular football retail site, kitbag.com, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
Ticking another item off of the Christmas checklist, Celtic also offers fans the opportunity to buy replica shirts from down the years, including the 1967 European Cup winning shirt. They also have framed prints featuring past players, managers and famous moments from the clubs history. Perfect for that Celtic shrine in your spare room.
It’s the offer of same day dispatch, next day delivery and the ease of being able to order online that will really enhance Celtic’s online store experience for fans. The easy-to-navigate site is coupled with Celtic having actual bricks and mortar presences across Scotland and Ireland, with extended Christmas hours in operation.
They dominated the Scottish Championship last season, but are they dominating off the pitch in their Christmas retail efforts?
On Hearts’ homepage at the moment they’ve got their Christmas section included right at the top banner alongside all the main pages on site. However, while the other drop-downs give more options to click on, the Christmas one is as bare as a depressing Christmas tree and doesn’t look great when it covers the homepage content of the website. Do Hearts tick off anything we’re looking for?
There we are. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a Hearts Christmas jumper. The big plus point over Celtic on this one is that they’re being modelled by current players, rather than stock models in Celtic’s case. As a fan, you’d much rather laugh at a player posing in the jumper, plus, it’d more than likely increase the potential for you to actually buy it. In regards to other ‘Christmassy’ products, there’s a Hearts snowglobe and a vast array of Hearts socks. Ideal stocking fillers.
Compared to Celtic, the overall experience on Hearts’ online store feels ‘clunkier’. It took some searching around to find certain sections of the store which you feel should have easier links to, try and find ‘Books, CDs and DVDs’ or ‘Commemorative’ from the homepage for yourself.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
We’ve gone through a couple of good examples, now it’s time for something not so good and it comes from the reigning Scottish Cup champions.
While obviously there isn’t too much scope for a retro or vintage range here (although surely a replica of the first ever ICT kit would be a good seller amongst fans), we do have commemorative Scottish Cup merchandise so we’ll give points for that. That is, however, where the positives pretty much end. Inverness’ official club shop is well signposted from the main homepage of their website, but the number of products for sale are minimal.
For starters, the official kit can only be purchased by clicking away from the club website and on to an Inverness landing page on JD Sports’ site. Presumably this is very similar to the national teams deal with JD Sports, where the official kit can only be purchased from them. While presumably benefiting from JD Sports’ better online shopping experience and enhanced systems for dealing with orders and deliveries, it’d be interesting to hear from any Inverness fans on what they think about the club going down this avenue, making it so obviously run through JD Sports as opposed to running it ‘in-house’.
It’s safe to say that Inverness won’t be benefiting from any sales of Christmas products this year, there aren’t any for sale online.