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Sport Chek leverages mobile to provide customized, interactive in-store experience

The retail lab was designed to serve as the primary execution of the brand with an eye toward providing a better, more inspiring retail environment through products, staff, customer service and digital innovations. Digital technology is used to deliver images, sounds and interactivity throughout the store.

“The goal of this retail lab store is to provide our customers with the highest level of customization possible and an amazing in-store experience,” said Michael Medline, president of FGL Sports, Toronto.

“As mobile technology is so important to Sport Chek’s target demographic it made sense to include it in this store wherever possible,” he said. “Putting mobile technology in the hands of our staff, helps provide a customer experience that is highly customized and interactive…bringing branded content and product information directly to the customer in store.”

“Mobile technology plays a large role in the Sport Chek digital retail lab. Innovative mobile features including 140 Samsung screens with NFC capabilities and a custom-built augmented reality app will enable customers to tailor the in-store environment and also enable the store to provide content and experiences based on the customers’ interests.”

Learning environment
The retail lab is intended to be an ongoing testing and learning environment, with the proven retail innovations becoming part of the Sport Chek store network starting late 2013 when its first new flagship stores begin opening across Canada.

From a mobile perspective, traditional signage built in to the top of clothing racks now include tablets in custom fixtures showing video and still image content specifically designed for associated products.

Additionally, staff have been equipped with tablets loaded with vendor content to better serve customers and will have the ability to ‘take over’ the larger screens in the store to show off vendor advertising or community content.

Also, interactive augmented reality is being tested in the store with customers being able to access customized offers and discounts by downloading the Sport Chek Scan and Save app for in-store savings.

The store also features 140 digital screens throughout the store, including Samsung displays with ultra-thin borders, touch technology and near-field communications capabilities.

Brand partnerships
The digital aspects of the store extend to several brand partnerships as well.

For example, an adidas digital shoe wall features three touch screens where shoppers can view custom digital content such as product features, live Twitter feeds and videos.

Nike also has a digital wall where shoppers can use Nike shoes custom-built with gaming ‘controller’ technology to design art and sound.

Reebok has installed a customized, ‘build your own Reebok’ kiosk where customers can custom-build every single part of their shoe.

The retail lab also features a gait analysis treadmill, advanced ski and snowboard tuning machines, a custom ski and snowboard boot insert system, a racquet stringer, a custom sunglass design kiosk and an interactive community board,

The Sport Chek retail lab is located on Yonge Street in Toronto.

“The concept of this live lab store is to test and demonstrate the latest in retail technology and we expect mobile to play a large role in that,” Mr. Medline said. “Finding out what mobile features customers interact with will be a key driver for Sport Chek’s future retail strategy.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York