The first area under the spotlight is… Retail.
Gasheads will be familiar with the names of Pete, Ann and Chloe in the Club Shop, who are always available to help with your ticket or merchandise requests – but what really goes on in the world of retail at Bristol Rovers?
As a club, we managed to exceed our targets for the retail operation this year just over halfway through the season, which was an incredible effort. The blend of Macron kit and training wear, mixed with The Terrace’s own products and collections, have allowed us to offer a matchday and non-matchday offering to cover the full demographic of our fans.
We also added the kiosk in the FanZone, which has proved an extremely popular option to purchase items on a matchday.
The outstanding performances on the pitch inevitably led to more sales in the shop and we were very pleased with how we ended the first full season working with The Terrace.
This new partnership also gave us the scope to expand our online offering, with the ability to get more merchandise to you across all areas of the country and offer a click-and-collect service for those closer to the stadium.
The online store has given us the ability to add some new products, have some fun with Valentine’s Day mugs and also get our ‘promotion’ range (like this Joey Barton mug) out to you the very next day. As with any online store, the ability for our fans to browse items day and night has led to more sales and, as we move towards next season, we already have plans to update the current format and offering.
Over the years, the iconic blue-and-white-quartered home shirt has taken on many designs; this season’s offering clearly struck a chord with Gasheads, as we recorded sales of all 5,000 shirts that were ordered and sold out ahead of the last game of the season – making this our biggest-selling item in the shop for the past season.
It’s not all about the current shirt though; our runs of the retro design shirts and jackets - as modelled here by Aaron - have proved popular throughout the season and have performed well in the pre-sale online-only windows and flown off the shelves when landing in store.
This led to the famous retro swim shorts - pictured - being produced. The first batch of shorts sold out in the shop before the penultimate home match had even kicked off and with 60 more pairs landing ahead of that Forest Green game, these too didn’t last ’til the referee’s whistle.
With our younger audience the addition of the ‘blackout’ range resonated well, seeing the t-shirt and the hoody sell out in all sizes in the shop, we even broke our own retail rule on not producing extras of a collection to run more sizes across the range, and continued to see a desire for this product. Towards the end of the season, we even complemented this with a snap-back cap in the same style.
During the winter months, a new till system was installed allowing better management of stock between in-store and online purchases, which further improved efficiencies and the accuracy of our reporting.
One of the other most popular items in-store was Bristol Rovers Mitre football. Very rarely did the basket of balls in the shop remain full, with multiple orders coming across the season to meet the demand for the product. We look forward to seeing the next generation of Rovers players and fans using these across the city.
In the new year, we launched the new shop website. Updates to functions and user-navigation enabled fans to locate what they’re looking for more quickly and more efficiently than ever before.
As we move towards next season, both retail outlets will become cashless. We have trialled this in the unit in the FanZone and it has been well received. With the ticketing operation in the shop having been cashless for a number of weeks now, it makes sense for the whole shop to be the same. This offers us greater security and safety for our staff and a quicker purchasing method for when you come into the shop.
With consistent shop opening hours across the season, the shop staff have become the face of the day-to-day running of the club. At the beginning of the season, the retail team brought in new processes to speed up the process of sending out purchases and minimising errors, which has professionalised the operation
It has given you a chance to reconnect with the shop, give your feedback and get information in relation to orders and new stock coming in. We’ve even added the @BRFC_Shop account to Twitter, to give live updates on newly-released products and promotions across the season.
The summer break - which sees the shop open from Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 4pm - will see further changes to the layout to provide an even better shopping experience.
This, coupled with the introduction of new ranges to ensure that we cater for your every demand, should see more positive developments as we head into League One.
If you’d like to suggest any further improvements to our retail operation, please contact us via the store Twitter @BRFC_Shop or email email@example.com