Unless we tell stories about ourselves, which is all that theatre is, we’re in deep trouble. – Alan Rickman

Each year, the global innovation awards winners through our international network, Ebeltoft, provide fascinating insights into the world of retailer ingenuity, adaptation and innovation.

One of the innovation finalists, Decathlon, is a great example of enabling interaction with its customers, through its new Connect concept.

The French based sports fashion and equipment brand has opened two compressed city centre stores in Munich and Stuttgart. They have reduced the store size from the company’s usual 3000 – 4000sqm criteria, by 80 per cent to 200sqm at the Munich store and 50sqm at Stuttgart.

Each location brings in high foot traffic as they have introduced click & collect and try & buy services. In turn, these services have increased digital traffic to their website.

Innovation technology and store design experts have helped the stores to be divided into three experience zones:

  • Blue zone: Free try-outs of products in-store and ordered “passion brands”. This enables the customers to interact and experience the products, using technology to underpin the customer experience.
  • Grey Zone: Equipped with touchscreens/tablet PCs. Provides access to the whole assortment and further product information, thereby using technology as a data library.
  • White Zone: Click-and-collect service. Has less employee interaction, simplifying the transaction process. Technology used as a process enabler.

Each zone has assortments of bestsellers, brand highlights and innovative products. Decathlon Connect has designed these stores to help interaction platforms intensify customer interaction and enrich the brand with additional services.

Decathlon Connect also has specially trained employees to aid the digital experience, softening and expanding the sales role.

As Neil Arrowsmith, CEO of Greater Group, said at last week’s RDG CEO Breakfast, “The longer your customers are in your store, the higher the average sell price”.

This is where innovative and interaction activities in the retail store play a major part. Both Decathlon Connect stores in Munich and Stuttgart provide interactive digital platforms, such as the virtual reality game “Run The Store”, where they can run through a full-sized store to explore and experience brand variety.

Next week, we will discuss another Retail Innovation 12 finalist. Stay tuned for global insights and innovation designs, worldwide.

Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or brian@retaildoctor.com.auCharlotte Eliott, co-author of this column, is part of Retail Doctor Group’s Retail Insights team and can be contacted via email at charlotte@retaildoctor.com.au.


First published InsideRetail on August 23, 2017