SYDNEY: Supercheap Auto (SA) created a retail bonanza out of its Bathurst 1000 event sponsorship that was second only to Christmas in terms of sales, a senior executive at the company has revealed.

This came after the automotive accessories retailer rethought its traditional sponsorship model and built a hugely successful retail presence at the event, which it has sponsored for 11 years, after admitting it made some mistakes early on.

That is according to David Bauer, SA's General Manager of Customer Communications and Engagement, who was speaking at Mumbrella's Retail Marketing Summit in Sydney. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: How Supercheap Auto created a retail bonanza with sports sponsorship.)

"Back in 2005, we did all those traditional things that you would expect," Bauer said. "We put signage in prominent locations around the event, around the track. We got locations that gave us mass TV exposure. We entered a vehicle in the race. We had a two-car team."

He said the retail brand went back to its core strengths to focus on sales, launching a pop-up store on site to target thousands of fans camping at the event.

"Through the years, we increased the way that we had displayed our merchandise. We tailored the range to suit the people that were camping at the event and, through the years, the customers continued to reward us," Bauer added.

In 2016, the pop-up store at the Bathurst 1000 event delivered five times the sales of the largest store in SA's network and, in recent years, SA has also added a buggy which takes the store to campers in their tents throughout the campground. Last year, this effort netted the business an additional A$30,000 in sales.

The company is now using the Bathurst event to test new products and services before rolling them out at stores around the country.

These include an insurance product, click and collect services, as well as new signage and fixtures. "We use that as a test bed to then take to the rest of the network," said Bauer.

Data sourced from Warc