Digitizing Sport Chek

Palm Springs, Calif.–Both a retailer's in-store and mobile technology need to be digitized, and work cohesively, according to Frederick Lecoq, senior VP of marketing and commerce, FGL Sports. Lecoq spoke at yesterday's eTail West pre-conference summit about the digitization of Sport Chek.

The Canadian sporting goods retailer has about 200 stores and has a dedicated location that it uses as a test lab for new technology-driven ideas.

"We are redesigning the whole shopping experience to recreate value for the customer," said Lecoq.

When testing an idea for the store, Lecoq focuses on four pillars: stores, advertising, assortment and brand communication. "You can digitize your store, but if you can't manage the product in the same way, it won't sell," he added. "Every touchpoint within the organization needs to go through that digital transformation."

In 2012, Sport Chek started experimenting with its digital transformation, opening a store in downtown Toronto with more than 200 screens, many of which are interactive. Since then the company has opened an even larger location in West Edmonton which has 470 screens, 200 channels of content, RFID technology and endless interactive experiences from dynamic cycle fitting to a climbing station.

The ROI of the new location soared almost immediately, but the challenge that remains with so many interactive screens is keeping up with content production. So while Lecoq said there is tremendous opportunity in content, it isn't something Sport Chek can keep up with on its own and needs a dedicated creative team to help.

Sport Chek is also phasing out its print fliers all together after an initial test. "We started to say look, our target audience doesn't read flyers, so let's remove them and make it digital," he said. Just 17 percent of the retailer's customers were looking at the print ads, so the company turned to Facebook to improve lift.

"We saw on average that a promotion on Facebook had a 16 percent sales lift," said Lacoq. Therefore, Sport Chek immediately started spending twice as much on Facebook. This year the company will cut 50 percent of its print circulars and in two years plans to have them phased out completely.

"When we talk about digitalization, there is something underlying it all. Besides the tech and marketing people, we need to bring everyone together across the platform," said Lacoq.

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