Patriots take home Lombardi trophy—but who won the retail battle?

Derrick Cline | Feb 7, 2019 Derrick Cline 02/07/19

While the halftime performance and big-budget commercials drew mixed reviews, nearly everyone can agree that the game itself, though still technically football, was pretty lackluster. If you’re anything like me, your thoughts may have even started wandering at some points, turning instead to more interesting matters—like how consumer behaviors vary across fanbases in established markets compared to newly relocated teams.

With reports that the Rams sold a year’s worth of gear online in the 10 days following their NFC Championship win, we decided to see how each team fared with brick-and-mortar retailers in their respective markets. Using SMG’s market intelligence tool BrandGeek®—the fastest, most accurate source of behavioral data linked to customer feedback in real time—we looked at foot traffic and customer experience (CX) metrics for sporting goods retailers in Boston and Los Angeles.

Here’s what we saw:

Traffic (the good kind) spiked in L.A., but dropped in Boston

After moving back to L.A. in 2016 following a 22-year stint in St. Louis, the Rams franchise continues to re-find its footing with fans—and nothing helps regain regional loyalty more than winning. L.A. residents were happy to reward the team’s early success, as we saw a 12% increase in visits to sporting goods retailers in January 2019 compared to January 2018. Meanwhile, sporting goods visits in Boston dropped off compared to last year, as Patriots fans seemed content to wear whatever they had purchased during one of the team’s other 9 Super Bowl appearances over the last 17 years.

sporting goods store visits in LA

L.A. saw a jump in trips driven by advertising + promotions

While winning brings fans on board, there are a variety of factors that actually get customers into the stores. The BrandGeek data showed a jump in L.A. customers citing Advertising and Coupons/Promotions as the primary reason for visit throughout the month of January, with experiential factors like Previous Positive Experience and Selection of Merchandise being mentioned less frequently.

Meanwhile, in Boston, we saw the opposite: a decrease in customers motivated by Advertising and Coupons/Promotions and an uptick in customers citing Location Convenience and Selection of Merchandise. Again, the Patriots’ dominance over the past 2 decades might have something to do with that, with customers shopping their neighborhood store for a novel item to add to their growing Super Bowl wardrobes instead of eagerly seeking out advertised deals.

With traffic up, CX measures took a hit—but purchase conversion rates held steady

One of the biggest surprises in the data was the drop-off in CX scores across the board for the L.A. market. While most measures scored lower, the biggest decrease was in Overall Value—which dropped by 14 ppts compared to January 2018. This was especially surprising given the increase in customers citing Coupon/Promotion as their primary reason for visiting in the first place. Fortunately for retailers, the less-than-stellar customer experience didn’t hurt sales, as the BrandGeek data showed purchase conversion rates held steady in both L.A. and Boston.

LA sporting goods CX scores

Taking solace in sales

The actual game may have been a letdown, but the data shows growing support for the Rams in the Los Angeles market. While retailers benefitted from increased sales, it’s clear they’ll have to up their game when it comes to the customer experience if they want to turn loyal fans into loyal customers.

To learn more about BrandGeek and how we got the data, check out our short video here.

Derrick Cline | Consumer Insights Manager

Customer Experience Update