Sometimes quite simple ideas could help clubs to strenghten their merchandise income. While there is so much talk about the exploitation of digital strategies that promise optimised revenue streams or at least a surge of followers, the odd real life solution might just be as valuable eventually. Brazilian top club Grêmio Porto Alegre have come up with such a solution, using automation in a rather simplistic way. A vending machine at the Aeroporto Salgado Filho in Porto Alegre will sell their official kit. If the test is deemed a success, similar machines will be installed in shopping centres or restaurants. That is clever marketing, but there could be a hitch somewhere.
A vending machine to earn additional revenue
Grêmio Porto Alegre are a traditional and popular club in Brazil. They even have a remarkable fanbase outside the coutry as they made headlines by winning the Copa Libertadores in the 80s, the 90s and very recently in 2017. Furthermore, the legend Ronaldinho played for the club in his early years. Players like Emerson, Anderson or Douglas Costa also started their careers there before they played for European top clubs.
Now the club has started a test to further bolster their popularity around the world. At the local airport in Porto Alegre, there will be a vending machine for 90 days, selling the current kit the players wear.
The idea is to give fans or even interested passengers the opportunity to snap up a kit just before entering a plane or coming right from it. The Máquina Tricolor offers the iconic kits if you pay by debit or credit card. The shirts from manufacturer Umbro tend to have a very unique look.
And the marketing team from Brazil will hope that even more people could decide to get themselves one of those special shirts.
The concept of this machine is new in football circles, so we need to enter the market on an experimental basis. But considering the ease of distribution, coupled with the accessibility, practicality, and instantaneousness with which the product reaches the consumer, we are sure that it will be a successful product,
said Beto Carvalho, Grêmio’s marketing executive. The machine, which was constructed in partnership with Wise Tecno, had been tested at a banquet and proved quite successful there. 80 kits were sold within an hour. Now Grêmio want to give more than eight million passengers, who annually come to the Airport in Porto Alegre, the opportunity to easily get hold of the famous kit. If the three-month test period shows positive results, such vending machines shall be installed in bars, restaurants or shopping centres, too.
A good idea, but isn’t there a downside? Digitalisation as an option
The express version for the kit supply is cerntainly a good marketing invention. Especially at an airport, where people often tend to spend some spare money or are just looking for a fitting souvenir. It might turn out to be a noticeable plus for revenue from a simple machine.
But will this really impact the earnings considerably? And how many fans will turn to such machines as they can get discounts and more personalisation online? It seems as though this very innovation is rather a small contributor to the overall economic performance of the club. Yet, they have generated some proper awareness for their kits by only working with that machine and have therefore probably just increased the number of people getting their own kit from the Máquina Tricolor.
Other clubs could follow suit, as tourists often make up an ever growing number of stadium visitors, be it at Old Trafford, Camp Nou or the Allianz Arena in Munich. Clubs could try to catch their attention. Fans will probably rather turn to online offers, since they are simply more beneficial for them, mostly. But those vending machines could be even more of a success for clubs in the future. Just think one would integrate touch panels or voice assistance, which offer information about the club and its history, the chance to book tickets for a match or promote official Apps to give passengers a first taste of what the club is all about. So, a more digital vending machine with access not only to the kits might just be the future of on-the-go marketing for innovative clubs such as Grêmio Porto Alegre or any other one.