Future of sport retail – Decathlon study case

ianuarie 11, 2020

It is easy today to see that the future of retail belongs online. Expanding the chain on a local level means building a strong infrastructure for logistics and showrooms to support the online business in the future. Automatization solutions are embraced, and clients following a steep slope of learning how to use them.

Everything is changing fast, except one thing – the clients’ profile. Even if the number of clients is increasing, their profile seems to remain constant along the way.

To overcome this challenge, we need to act local level, especially on new markets. New products and marketing strategies will address the local needs, life style and purchase power. Clients feedback will show manufacturers the path to follow in designing new products. After the local market validation, these tested products will be ready to be sold on new compatible markets.

What about marketing? In sport and health business, just the online advertising of our products is ,for a long time, insufficient. For client retention purposes, as well as advertising products and obtain feedback from their users, each manufacturer started to invest in building communities around their products.

Garmin Connect and FitBit are just a few online communities of users loyal of their fitness gadgets. By sharing their logs of sport experiences on social networks, they become the ambassadors of their favorite brands.

Can Decathlon have the same success in building such online communities? We sell sports gear. A lot of sport gear, anything you can imagine! Having this in mind, we can build a lot of local micro-communities around popular sports and nevertheless, popular sport sites.

To be successful in this attempt, we must close the gap between equipment, services, places and people. The things are on the way – Play Decathlon – is the successor of Sport Experience, an innovative loyalty system for customers, that did not hit the highest level of enthusiasm from its users.

This new online platform is the first step in building a database of local sport sites. A nice ad-on to this project can be a database of sport instructors that can introduce users in a safe and comfortable manner to new sports.    

Recycling of sport equipment, by Second Hand program, means a long term and strong backup in sustainability; it is the first step in offering sport services to Decathlon clients. After maintenance of sport equipment, renting sport equipment seems like the next logical step on this path.

What if we would take the lead in promoting sports to the next generation by designing a mobile app for children and teens, with micro-courses and quizzes from sport world. Educating young minds that sport is an important aspect of everyday life means responsibility and more customers in the future.

These new kids on the block – communities built around popular sport, sport services and mobile apps designed to educate children and teens are the tools Decathlon needs to attract and retain new type of customers, like experienced users and youth.

Decathlon is just started to scratch the surface of building communities. I am excited to be a part of it.


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