Sport Chek, Canada’s leading sporting goods retailer and the Official Sports Store of Canada’s Olympic Team, today unveiled a game-changing retail lab. Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, the store delivers the perfect mix of great products, expert staff and next-in-class digital innovation for an unparalleled shopping experience.
Sport Chek seeks to inspire its customers to be a ‘better you’ – whether that may be looking better, feeling better or performing better in sport. Captured by the brand’s tagline: “Your Better Starts Here,” Sport Chek undertook a brand reformation in 2012 with powerful new advertising and social media strategies.
After reading about Sport Chek’s new retail lab I am very excited to stop in on my next trip to Toronto. The store has vastly improved from any Sport Chek stores that I have ever visited. I live a very active lifestyle and having the proper equipment to use each day is very important. I have always been a fan of Sport Chek for their quality products and good customer service.
One of the most important things when you start any activity or workout is to have the proper equipment and clothing, as well as making sure you are comfortable. Nobody want to have a painful run or bike ride just because their shoes didn’t fit. In the new Sport Chek, they have put in a Gait Analysis Treadmill, which by running on it, will help you select the correct footwear for your running style, allowing you to make a decision on a shoe that you hopefully won’t regret purchasing.
Another new great feature Reebok has brought in is the capability to design your own shoe. This allows you to make your own shoe digitally in store for your own personal needs and preference. The shoe you design in store will be conveniently delivered right to your door. I would absolutely love having a personalized shoe. I have always wanted to be able to personalize my own footwear but I know I would probably end up destroying them.
The new store sounds fun just to walk into and look around with their 140 digital screens featuring Samsung digital displays with interactive touch technology with near field communication allowing you to access content from your phone or other device.
For those of you who love skiing and keeping your equipment in shape , the lab now has a Ski Tuning Machine, allowing professional grade tuning edge and perfect base structures on up to 30 pairs of skis per hour, which is very fast and efficient which is what the new lab seems to be all about.
After learning about the Sports Chek Retail Lab, I look forward to checking it out on my next visit to Toronto. It has definitely caught my attention and sounds like it would benefit my active lifestyle, from hiking, exercising and biking.
Sport Chek Digital and Product Innovations
Tile, Tablet, Touch and NFC Screens: The relatively small 12,000 square foot ‘lab’ punches way above its weight and is believed to be the most advanced digital retail space of any category in North America. With 140 digital screens installed throughout the store, it features Samsung displays with ultra-thin borders, touch technology and near-field-communication (NFC) capabilities allowing for personalized content and greater customer interaction with merchandise.
Screens include new digital ’tiles’ both on the wall and custom built into tables. Traditional signage built in to the top of clothing racks now include tablets in custom fixtures showing video and still image content specifically designed for the associated products.
Shoe Wall Innovation: To complement Sport Chek’s authoritative assortment of 500 different footwear styles, adidas has installed its first permanent digital shoe wall in Canada and largest installation in North America, featuring ‘digital’ shoes on three 55″ touch screens. Each shoe contains custom digital content when selected, including product features, live twitter feeds, videos, images and interesting facts about athletes’ accomplishments while wearing that specific model of shoe.
Nike has installed its first ‘Nike Shoe VJ Experience’ in the world. Featuring an entertaining 12-foot high digital wall, customers can use Nike shoes custom-built with gaming ‘controller’ technology to design art and sound with the palettes by artists James Jean and David Choe, and sound courtesy of world-renowned DJ Cut Chemist.
Reebok has installed a customized, ‘build your own Reebok’ kiosk where customers can custom-build every single part of their shoe, representing limitless possibilities. The shoes are custom-built and shipped to the customer directly within four to six weeks.
Medical Motion Dynamic Gait Analysis: Customers interested in finding the perfect shoe for their sport or activity can participate in a comprehensive gait analysis in the store. Customers walk or run on a gait analysis treadmill, while being monitored by trained Sport Chek associates who can then recommend the perfect shoe.
Ski and Snowboard Innovation: As North America’s leading ski and snowboard retailer, Sport Chek’s retail lab now includes one of only three Wintersteiger Mercury automated ski and snowboard tuning machines in Canada. Customers will be able to watch their skis and boards being tuned on the most advanced machine in the world, offering razor-sharp edges and eight different available base structures. The machine can tune 30 skis or boards per hour, meaning a quick turn-around for customers.
To add further customization, Sport Chek has installed a Sidas custom ski and snowboard boot insert system. Specially trained Sport Chek staff use the machine to create a 3D map of the customer’s foot which is then reflected in a boot insert that provides maximum support, shock absorption and comfort within 30 minutes.
Wilson Baiardo Racquet Stringer: Sport Chek’s retail lab includes the Wilson Baiardo Racquet Stringer, offering a precise racquet stringing tension within a decimal point of poundage in just 12 minutes. The Baiardo is used in many tour events each year, including the Australian Open and US Open.
Custom Oakley Installation: Oakley has installed a custom sunglass design kiosk. This fully interactive experience allows customers to interact with a wide variety of lens, frame, colour and logo options to create the perfect customized pair of Oakley sunglasses which are built in-store by specially trained staff in minutes.
Staff Tablets: Staff are equipped with tablets loaded with vendor content to better serve customers, with the ability to ‘take over’ the larger screens in the store to show off vendor advertising or community content.
Digital Community Board: The interactive Community Board connects customers with each other and allows them to view schedules, events, standing stats and updates from their favourite community sports leagues as well as information on fitness classes.
Interactive Escalator: Nineteen screens are installed in the wall beside the escalator with a custom-built Xbox Kinect application that follows and matches the customer’s ascent, activating a variety of themes on the screen including sports scenes, promotions and a simulated chairlift ride.
Custom Content: Sport Chek’s new ‘digital store control’ facility in Calgary produces and pushes custom content to each screen – allowing for any individual screen to be updated with new content within 12 minutes. The Calgary-based ‘digital store control’ room will run all digital screens throughout the chain as new stores are opened with the digital innovations proven in the retail lab.
Store Front Projection: The store’s Yonge Street facade features a large-scale 5-foot x 32-foot digital projection displaying high-definition video, still images and live feeds of sporting events to anyone passing by the store. The display is driven by four high powered projectors to produce a high-definition picture visible from across the street, even in direct sunlight.
Augmented Reality: Interactive ‘augmented reality’ is being tested in the store with customers being able to access customized offers and discounts by downloading the Sport Chek ‘Scan and Save’ app for in store savings.
Wired For Scalability: Spot Chek intends to introduce and test ground-breaking and ‘next in class’ digital retail advancements in the store for years to come. Recognizing the rapid speed of technology advancements, the retail lab has been pre-wired with 5.5 km of fibre optic cable and 6.5 km of Cat6 cable in anticipation of continuous innovation and testing of new technology.