Maple Leaf Square Sport Chek Scores Big with Retail Lab

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To strengthen Sport Chek’s presence in the Greater Toronto Area, Sport Chek strategically positioned its second retail lab in the heart of Toronto’s sports scene: Maple Leaf Square. The store leads the way in pure e-commerce/in-store cohesion, providing customers with an engaging in-store experience full of next-level technological features.

Nominating Company: FGL Sports, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Venue: Maple Leaf Square Sport Chek, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Project: Sport Check Retail Lab    
Category: Retail

BACKGROUND
As a branch of Sport Chek’s robust flagship store roll-out strategy, the 15,240-square-foot Maple Leaf Square Sport Chek (MLSQ) provides customers with the same product selection and service one would expect from a 77,000-square-foot flagship store.

By investing heavily in features such as virtual department kiosks, a concept that allows customers onsite to order any product that is available in Sport Chek’s product assortment even if it is not available at that store, Sport Chek is proving that in-store and e-commerce retail strategies complement, rather than combat, one another.

Key features of the store include:
• A virtual department kiosk
• First-of-its-kind in-store broadcast studio, in partnership with TSN
• 3D holograms
• Touch-enabled product showcase boxes
• Digital community wall
• Under Armour, Nike and Adidas Shop-in-Shops
• Extensive fan shop, including a cresting station
• LED sport tickers
• LED feature podium

CHALLENGES
Broadcast Studio
• The functionality of the studio needed to be merged with an aesthetically pleasing setup. An overhead grid design for the studio lighting and cameras was set up for a typical broadcast studio, which was not visually appealing inside the store.
• No best practice exists on how to efficiently broadcast in-store without disrupting customers.
• The intricate cabling required to connect with the TSN office went well beyond the store’s existing cabling.

Content
• Given the newness of many of the “first-to-market” installations, few content providers existed to help support content development. The challenge was finding the personnel to execute on content creation.

Store Construction
• The store was built in a residential/hotel space. As it did not have the same infrastructure as a mall, the store had to reside on two levels connected by a staircase. The staircase needed to be incorporated into the design as an entertainment feature, not just a staircase.

Retail Hat wall and staircaseSOLUTIONS
Broadcast Studio
• The studio lighting and camera setup were completely redesigned from the standard cube design to a semicircle, replicating the desk platform.
• The team developed a regularly scheduled programming cadence, with flexibility on the frequency of broadcasts and the ability to turn on the programming at a moment’s notice.
• An entirely new, in-depth cabling system was installed with extreme coordination between multiple parties.

Content
• Working with third-party providers, Sport Chek progressed through a test-and-learn process to establish a team of in-house experts to lead the content development. This process was a first-of-its-kind.
• In addition, the team leveraged existing assets to properly curate content.

Store Construction
• A tremendous amount of innovative engineering and architect design was executed to encourage the right process and results were met, including innovative “first-to-market” instillations.
• Delicate communication and extreme coordination between all parties, including executives, landlords, local tenants and contractors was executed.

RESULTS
• Customer is 6 percent more likely to revisit the MLSQ store than the banner average
• Check-out is 5 percent higher than banner average
• 259.9 percent increase in year-over-year sales (measured from pre-second floor construction, October 2014 to post-second floor construction, October 2015)
• Sales of Blue Jays merchandise at the MLSQ location is 729 percent higher than the average sales of Blue Jays merchandise in other GTA Sport Chek stores

FGL Sports won the DSE 2016 Bronze Apex Award in the Retail category.

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