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NBA’s flagship store drives sales via mobile devices

The National Basketball Association has teamed up with sports merchandise retailer Fanatics to open a new flagship store in New York and equip associates with mobile devices to ramp up in-store sales.

The two brands’ multiyear partnership is kicking off with the new NBA flagship store, planned to open its doors on Fifth Avenue just before this year’s holiday season. The NBA is following in a number of retailers’ footsteps by leveraging in-store mobile devices to ensure that consumers are able to order any piece of inventory on the spot in the preferred style, color or size, a tactic which is able to fuel more sales and prevent consumers from forgetting to order items online later if their desired products are not available in-store.

“The specific type of handheld device, be it smartphones or tablets, hasn’t been finalized yet, but they will be used to create an optimized shopping experience and allow the store associate to: tap into’s online inventory for additional products and sizes, POS checkout anywhere in the store, pull up stats, highlights of NBA games and much more,” said Tim Walsh, public relations coordinator at Fanatics, Inc., New York.

“This is just one of the many tech aspects of the store that will enhance the shopping experience for all fans.”

Staying connected
Giving store associates handheld devices offers them more flexibility to cater to consumers’ needs and quickly search inventory if a customer has a specific question or request. This is able to streamline the shopping process for employees and consumers alike, a feat which will be imperative in ensuring that the Fifth Avenue flagship store does not become unmanageable during peak commerce times, such as the holidays.

More retailers are employing this mobile strategy, especially larger department stores.

This past March, JCPenney wove a tale of mobile and movie magic in its bricks-and-mortar storefronts through a partnership with the shopkick application and Disney’s new Cinderella film (see story). Customers in JCPenney stores with a Disney shop were able to earn rewards and enter sweepstakes by using the shopkick app on their smartphones to scan the bar codes appearing on special glass slipper signs throughout the stores.

“NBA fans will have a seamless, multichannel shopping experience whether it be online, on mobile or in the new flagship store on 5th Avenue,” Mr. Walsh said.

“Customers will be able to use interactive displays to watch highlights and locate products throughout the store, have merchandise shipped or delivered to a hotel and personalize jerseys at a dedicated customization area of the store, which is a unique part of the league’s digital shopping experience.”

Interactive store
The three-floor store at 545 Fifth Avenue will offer customers a wide variety of NBA branded merchandise and gear. If a game is taking place while consumers are shopping in-store, they will be able to stay connected to the action via a digital ticker showcasing the latest league news, social media posts and game updates, while the televisions will display the games in real-time.

The NBA and Fanatics are also offering a concierge service for private tours and personal shopping services, in addition to the option of having items shipped to a customer’s home or local hotel.

Fanatics currently powers the league’s ecommerce Web site,, which the handheld devices will pull inventory information from.

“We’re a mobile-first company and we are leveraging our mobile stack and industry leading technology to compliment the in-store experience and give fans access to our entire inventory,” Mr. Walsh said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York