Digitizing the Customer Experience

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Digitizing the Customer Experience

I recently had the opportunity to attend Customer Response Summit Toronto, held by Execs in the Know, June 16-18, 2014. The show featured lively discussion amongst customer experience professionals from nearly every industry vertical. One of the highlights of the conference, was a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sport Chek Retail Lab. Sport Chek, FGL Sports’ premier sporting goods retailer, has 163 locations across Canada, and is a well known destination for Canadian consumers looking for sporting goods, apparel, and footwear.

Being Canadian myself, I have frequented Sport Chek stores numerous times over the years; however, I have never experienced anything like the Retail Lab in Toronto. Using innovative digital tools, Sport Chek is able to provide their consumers with more than just the product they’re looking for. “It’s not just about the product,” said Matt Dellandrea, Manager of Product Training at FGL Sports Ltd., “It’s creating an experience for the customer.” They rely on the right mixture of content, technology, and proper staff training to tell a seamless story about the products in their stores.

The augmented shopping experience offers a level of personalization, customization, and analysis unlike any other. Touch screens, tablets, digital displays, augmented reality, and an interactive escalator all enhance the shopping experience. The shoe wall, with a custom-build kiosk and information on each shoe including videos, images, and interesting facts about athletes’ accomplishments while wearing certain models, is an impressive feature. But by far my favourite store feature was the Medical Motion Dynamic Gait Analysis. It allows customers to find the perfect shoe by running or walking on a gait analysis treadmill. Features like this ensure that customers not only have an engaging, interactive experience, but also walk away with the product that is best suited for them; adding value to their lives and strengthening their relationship with the brand.

Technology is changing the way customers interact with retailers and as Paul Reid, VP Store Operations at Sport Chek/Atmosphere stated in his CR Summit keynote, “If you’re not constantly evolving, you’re moving backwards. Creating a differentiated customer experience is the only way to stay relevant in today’s environment.”

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