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40 days to go! How online retail is like the Olympics…

Submitted by on June 18, 2012 – 3:14 pmNo Comment

40 days to go! How online retail is like the Olympics…

This year sees London host the 2012 Olympic games. Athletes from 189 countries will test their strength and endurance across 26 sports in the hunt for that elusive gold medal. Many have trained for years, and as London gears up for hosting the world’s greatest contest we’re more than a little excited.

Here at Sunsquare we thought we’d get into the Olympic spirit, so with that in mind here’s a light-hearted look at how selling online is like the Olympics. Enjoy!

#1 – The competition is fierce

The Olympics is a stage where competition is fierce. Thousands of athletes are involved from across the world. Rivalries are re-ignited as they try and get their country up the medal table.

If you think about it, competition in online retail is just as fierce. Although it’s not a competition for medals, marketing departments compete with other businesses in their industry and from across the world. We’re competing for attention in ever-filling inboxes. We’re competing for custom – with the winners getting their emails seen, their websites visited and the losers falling by the wayside.

Who has the better offer? Who values me most? Who shall I spend money with? While the online retail competition may not be physical, the mental competition is certainly there!

#2 – Only the skillful triumph

The Olympic medal winners are those who have the best skill, the greatest strength and physical prowess. When they stand on the podium you know it’s the culmination of years of training – and when they receive their medals you can bet they’ll savour that moment for the rest of their lives.

Successful selling online is where only the skilful triumph too. Think about it, if you’re looking at a poorly designed email marketing newsletter you’ll be more likely to complain about spam or hit the unsubscribe button. Those email marketing newsletters which are well-designed, using the right font, logo and colours are pleasing on the eye triumph – even better if they’re written well and offer something no other competitor does.

Winning a medal takes a whole lot of skill. Well-done email marketing does too.

#3 – It’s a marathon, not a sprint

While the most popular contest is probably the 100m sprint final (it was the event everyone applied for!), selling online is more than a 10 second spectacle. The overwhelming majority of events at the Olympics last for hours, while some can take days, with round-after-round of grueling competition before the final takes place.

Just like the Olympics, online retail is a marathon and not a sprint. Poorly designed and confusing website not only look unprofessional, they are closed quicker than you can say “on your marks…” After all, you don’t want to anger your visitors by having a scruffy, messy, confusing site, so take your time, plan ahead and craft a beautifully-easy site to use.

#4 – It’s social

The Olympics are a global spectacle which brings countries together. The eyes of the world will be on London this year – as medals are won they’ll be simultaneous cheers from Shanghai to San Francisco. You’ll find coverage on the TV, on the internet – you may even get text alerts! We live in a digital age, where information passes faster than Usain Bolt in full flow.

Like the Olympics, if you plan on selling your products online it’s just as rapid. Take your email shots, for example. The moment you click “send” to your subscriber base, it’ll hit inboxes throughout the world. Your message can be seen by thousands of people – on computers, on laptops, on mobiles….and if you use social media you’ll extend your potential audience base by millions. The Olympics is a social – so is e commerce.

#5 – You can win too!

At the Olympics only a certain number of medals are up for grabs. While gold is always the one to go for, there’s no shame in picking up a silver or bronze – it’s all recognition.

Like the Olympics, you can get your recognition and potentially win in your field too. While many businesses will never be able to claim a gold medal (if you’re a local florist, you’ll never be able to compete with the budgets of Interflora for example) you can still triumph in your local area. Over time you can build up trust in your brand and your authority – and with a booming balance sheet you could be in the position to expand. Who knows how much stronger you’ll be by the time the next Olympics rolls around in Rio 2016?

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