Olympic Park Retail Stockout


The merchandise cathedrals inside Olympic Park are incredible. Huge and overflowing with several items that will be filling up car boot sales for the next few months.

Yet they do have lots of clothing. The main attraction is the Team GB replica aisles. Some of our kit looks good, most of it does not. What was Stella thinking?

Then there are the five-rings aligned tees. Alas, virtually all of it is not fit for purpose.

One shining beacon rises above the average trash. They are black t-shirts with LON & DON at the top and bottom of the print. And in between a specific sport’s ‘stamp’. Popular wouldn’t begin to describe them. I first entered the megastore at about Eleven. Already, the scene around these shirts’ area was carnage. Despite the tear-inducing £28 tag.

You see, of all the sports, punters only wanted any one of three; cycling, rowing and athletics.

Where GB rule.

And guess what? The only sizes left were XXL & XS. Across the board.

Potential shoppers were not happy. And that is an understatement.

It got even worse. No drama, people were standing around on their smartphones, trying to order them from the London 2012 online shop. Yet can you believe it. The only clothing for which there was no option to buy online seemed to be the black tees. Ridiculous.

I talked this through with one of the young assistants. He confided in me they all went instantly upon opening. No more were expected today, and maybe not even tomorrow. Disaster.

In another store the other side of the Park later in the day, I spoke to another helper. She was delighted I wasn’t approaching her to give her grief. She told me how much abuse she’d got during the day for those three tees being unavailable.

And all so unnecessary.

And all so reminiscent of failed b2b product launches.

Reaction time to market lessons are critical. When it is not rapid, you lose masses of both money and goodwill.

How the Local Organising Committee failed here is unfathomable. And that isn’t hindsight benefiting judgement. Not at all. From Day One this issue must have come to light. And on Day Seven for it to remain unaddressed is a disgrace.

And the dissatisfaction – going by the young lady’s insight I met – was not restricted to just the best black tee. Oh no, it affected just about every range on offer.

When you launch a new widget or ware, how about a plan. A plan to make your reaction time as rapid as possible. It could easily be the difference between making or losing a fortune.

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