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Super Bowl means super business for some online retailers

February 3, 2016 04:28 PM
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Super Bowl 50 is translating to big business online for some.

Sales of  Super Bowl-bound Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos products have more than doubled since last week, with product views for those teams up 60% week over week, reports Michael Layne, director of internet marketing at web-only sports and entertainment decal retailer Fathead LLC. Fathead is No. 385 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide. And if its shoppers are any indication of how the big game itself is going to go, there will be reason to party in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday night.

“The Panthers are outpacing the Broncos by about 16% in revenue and 25% in units sold,” Layne says. “As the teams go, so go the quarterbacks, with Cam Newton-related revenue 16% ahead of Peyton Manning.”

Newton’s online popularity isn’t limited to Fathead.

EBay Inc. writes in a blog post that since Jan. 8, the Friday before the NFL playoffs began, shoppers have bought more than 7,500 Newton jerseys, more than any other player during that span. That makes him the third-most popular jersey all time in terms of sales on the online auction site. No. 1? His counterpart, Broncos quarterback and future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning. Fans bought 10,524 Manning jerseys on eBay when his Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl in 2014. Newton also has the second-best selling jersey on the NFL’s official online store, NFLShop.com. Just trailing him? You guessed it, Peyton Manning.

Of course, spikes in sales and traffic aren’t limited to the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Retailers say Super Sunday can be a busy time for online shoppers as well. Layne says Fathead plans to capitalize on an anticipated 65% spike in traffic on Sunday night.

“The spike will come right when the game ends and we announce via email and social media that we have Fathead wall decals of the winning team’s championship logo,” he says. “Sales for those two hours will be about double what we usually see at that time.”

A spokeswoman for retail chain J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (No. 37 in the 2015 Top 500) says JCP.com saw a spike in traffic immediately following the conclusion of the conference championship games. With that in mind, they'll be ready for an anticipated post-Super Bowl rush.

"We have marketing emails promoting the winning team’s gear scheduled to send out right after the Super Bowl, which will generate even more traffic," she says.

Consumers won’t stock up just on gear, however.

A spokesman for pizza chain Papa John's says Super Bowl Sunday is one of their five busiest days of the year, with online orders spiking by more than 60%. Increased traffic to the site means there's more money at stake in the event of an outage. With that in mind, he says the company is making sure it is prepared.

"We increase staffing at the GNOC (Global Network Operations Center) to track, measure, and monitor all facets of the pizza ordering process from the e-commerce site, all the way down to technology operations at the store," the spokesman says.

A spokeswoman for alcohol delivery app Drizly says last year’s Super Bowl Sunday was one of the busiest days of the year, with orders up 25% over a typical day in 2015.

“Our average delivery time (across the country) was 41 minutes last Super Bowl Sunday, which is slightly higher than normal, but still strong considering the increase in demand,” she says.

Drizly has expanded into half a dozen cities since last year, including such markets as Dallas, Minneapolis and New Orleans, which means the app is likely to process even more orders this year.

With a few days left until the Super Bowl, the Drizly spokeswoman says fans should plan ahead if they’re having a party.

“We have a great scheduled delivery feature on site, so if you’re planning ahead you can place your order in the days leading up to the game and select the most convenient time for you to get your delivery,” she says. With a potential spike in traffic, retailers need to be ready on desktop and mobile—or risk losing business.

A report from digital performance technology vendor Soasta Inc. shows that “48% of Americans say that online performance during the Super Bowl matters to them.”

 

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