By Guilio Montemagno, Senior Vice President, RetailMeNot

With reports suggesting that England’s early exit from the World Cup may have cost the UK economy as much as £1.3 billion in sales* , it isn’t just the England squad that is trying to piece together what went wrong. Retailers have lessons to learn if they are to make the most of future sporting events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Euro 2016.

Don’t overlook the web: Research conducted by the Centre for Retail Research for the RetailMeNot brand VoucherCodes.co.uk, suggests that consumers are more likely to shop online during major sporting events. The study estimated that online retailers’ share of all retail spend could have risen to 15.1% of all sales had England made it through the first round*, from the 13.5% market share expected this year**. Retailers must take an omnichannel approach when targeting sporting fans, with promotions that appeal to consumers shopping through both online and offline channels.

Make sure you’re mobile-ready: the World Cup delivered a boost to retailers with a mobile presence, with estimates suggesting that mobile commerce could account for as much as a fifth (21.5%) of online sales during the World Cup. This is significantly greater than the 17.6% share expected during 2014. Today, 55% of the UK population uses a smartphone and 41% a tablet*** and these devices are increasingly used throughout the shopping journey. Retailers must ensure that their online retail offering is fully optimised for mobile and tablet users.

Be ready for changing shopping habits: the effects of the World Cup on the High Street were mixed. On match days, the football is estimated to have hit footfall by between 1% and 3.7%, however the volume of shoppers coming through the door is expected to have grown by between 3.3% and 8.8% on pre-match days, as shoppers ‘stocked up’ on vital supplies. Retailers should consider how consumer shopping habits may differ from normal during major sporting events and tailor their promotional activities accordingly.

*Report “Shopping for the World Cup 2014: How the Fifa world cup will affect retail spending”, Centre for Retail Research, May 2014
** Report “Online Retailing in Europe and the U.S. 2014-2015 “, Centre for Retail Research, Febuary 2014
***eMarkter, March 2014