Canadian Sports Retailer Delivers Value with Hi-Tech, Not Low Price

“Brands may need to perform an even tougher trick: redefining their own definition of value to one that’s additive.  When not reduced to the question of price, value speaks directly to what benefits a product or service adds to a customer’s life.”    Maureen Morrison and Matthew Creamer in Advertising Age)

There’s more to value than just low price.

Canadian sports retailer Sport Chek believes that.  It’s going high-tech to create what it hopes will be a unique customer buying experience.

Photo: Sport Chek Facebook.

Photo: Sport Chek Facebook.

Sport Chek recently unveiled a technologically souped-up retail store in Toronto that will serve as a living retail laboratory to bring shopping innovation to all of its 163 stores.

Sport Check is leveraging a fundamental shopper insight to battle the “showrooming” phenomenon enabled by website retailing:

Online shopping is great except you can’t always see the product fully, and it’s difficult to experience the product completely because you can’t touch and feel the item.

So, it’s bringing a 360-degree integrated marketing experience to Canadian sporting goods buyers.  It’s convergence, the best of all worlds – see it, touch it, try it, customize it, order it, take it home – all in the same place.

Sport Check is using technology as a value-creating differentiator:

“If you look at the value proposition that retailers have always provided in the past, it was features, benefits, and assortment.  You’d have to go to a retail store to be able to find those things.  With the internet and online environments, all of these things are available.  So from a retail perspective you’ve got to create a new value proposition and I think that’s what technology does.”  (Paul Reid, Vice President, Operations at FGL Sports – owner of Sport Chek banner – Infusion blog interview)

It has partnered with leading sports and technology brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Samsung.  Features include:

• 140 digital screens installed throughout the store, with touch technology and near-field-communication (NFC) capabilities that enable personalized content and greater customer interaction with merchandise.

• Build-your-own Reebok shoe kiosk to custom-build every single part of your shoe.

• Find the right shoe for your sport or activity with a comprehensive gait analysis via walking or running on a special treadmill.  Sport Chek associates take the data and recommend what they say is your “perfect shoe.”

• Get your custom-built Oakley sunglasses while you wait via a design kiosk that lets you pick from lens, frame, color and logo options.

Take a look.

Sport Chek says its retail lab “delivers the perfect mix of great products, expert staff and next-in-class digital innovation for an unparalleled shopping experience.”

“We believe if we change the shopping experience into an entertaining experience, an engaging experience, we will do better,” explained Eugene Roman (Chief Technology Officer for Canadian Tire Corporation, parent of FGL Sports/Sport Chek, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.)

He called it “shopper-tainment,” and said “I believe it’s the future of retail.”

Here’s the CMO in a magazine video interview:


Price is important, yet there are many other ways to deliver customer value.  Make sure you and your team are working to find some of them!

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.