Decathlon Improves In-Store Shopping Experience With Western Canada’s First Store In Southcentre

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As retail shopping continues to adjust to increased online shopping and restrictions related to the pandemic, Southcentre Mall has welcomed 180,000 square feet of new stores in the past 18 months.

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Much of that figure is due to the opening last weekend of the Decathlon sporting goods store in 63,000 square feet of the second floor vacated by Sears.

“The addition of Decathlon to the Southcentre portfolio is an important milestone indicating the economic growth underway in our city,” said Jason Bos, general manager of the mall, which he says is now over 90 percent of occupation.

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He is also proud that Decathlon has chosen Southcentre as the location for its first store in Western Canada, the 10th in the country.

The company was founded in France in 1976 and, over the past 45 years, has grown to reach over 1,700 stores in over 60 countries around the world.

Craig Binch, the store leader at Decathlon, says Calgary was chosen for its location offering major transport connectivity, the fact that we have a workforce and the availability of space in such a privileged center of good traffic. detail.

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About 7,000 square feet of the huge sporting goods store is dedicated to an automated warehouse where 27 robots are busy finding and delivering items to customers.

Binch says the store is focused on the customer experience and the robots allow the store to store one-third less stock on the retail space compared to the traditional layout, which means more products can be on display. in a spacious and refined atmosphere.

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Retail shopping has certainly undergone a huge shift with the ability to order merchandise online, but Binch wants people to come to his store and speak with knowledgeable staff about the items, as well as how and where. place to use them at best.

Thanks to robots, less time is spent on inventory management and inventory-related tasks, leaving more time for customers and other value-added roles.

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Once an item has been requested, customers can add it to a cart on their phone – or a phone provided by the store – and once purchases are complete, a team of robots are alerted by radio signal and deliver the items. items at a pickup counter within three minutes. .

Customers drop them off in a trash can and then proceed to a self-service checkout where codes are transmitted by radio frequency, allowing quick exit while updating store inventory.

Other warehouses are using robots to select and deliver goods for online shopping, but Binch says this is the first time Decathlon has used this feature for store delivery.

Of course, the technology-assisted system will also be of great benefit to Decathlon’s e-commerce customers, meaning the Calgary store will also be used for packaging and shipping merchandise throughout Western Canada. .

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Another unique feature of the Southcentre store is approximately 4,000 square feet of space including a gymnasium and studio for local coaches to run classes. To try on shoes, there is a handy treadmill; To check the comfort of the ski boots, click them into a pair of skis in the experiential test areas of the store.

Add a lounge for waiting partners with coffee and laptop plug-ins, and Decathlon becomes a pleasant experience totally foreign to online shopping.

Binch, who has experience in guiding and water sports, as well as managing the sale of sporting goods, opened Decathlon with 41 staff, all chosen with personality, local knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport.

Remarks:

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David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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