Décathlon opens an exclusive thematic shop for its members

Store associates in the new DX by Decathlon
Photo: Facebook page Decathlon DX

French sports goods specialist Decathlon opens a brand new concept, Decathlon DX. The 800 m² pilot store at the retailer’s headquarters is a concept store that will combine temporary thematic offers, 3D printing and RFID.


Exclusively for members

"Exclusive" is the first qualifier that comes to mind to describe the new Decathlon DX. The test shop set up on the sports goods chain's "campus" in Villeneuve-d'Ascq is reserved for members only and will only offer a temporary assortment. During the next ten weeks, for example, the concept store will focus entirely on children's shoes, while from November onwards, only autumn items such as jackets, gloves and caps will be available.


The shop has its own 'look & feel' based on shades of blue with the initials DX as its logo. In order to allow for numerous changes to the range, the chain has planned an exclusive layout: all the furniture is mounted on castors and the prices are indicated on electronic labels, so that they can be quickly adapted. The ceilings are equipped with RFID readers for an automatic "real-time" inventory, allowing contactless payment.


Automation and customer contact

To get to the checkout, customers simply pass through the RFID tunnels and pay at a digital station with the new Decathlon Pay. If you still want human contact, you can go to one of the classic checkouts. However, the aim is that shop employees should spend no more than 5% of their time on "non-value-creating tasks" in order to interact with customers, explained Charles Felgate, the project manager at LSA. The employees in the new shop have also received special training that is much more focused on customer relations.


The concept, which was devised during the containment, was also developed with a view to saving time and increasing efficiency. For example, foot and body scanners will replace the fitting rooms. In addition to the technological experience, these scanners have a practical use: thanks to the RFID connection, the system will itself indicate the children's shoes that are adapted to the shape of each person's foot.


3D printing laboratory and durability

Finally, Decathlon is testing ways to better tell the story of its sustainability efforts: the retailer provides details on production methods and the supply chain on the shelves, while videos are shown about the factories and the company's and employees' sustainability initiatives. The central aisle will also showcase selected products and their stories.


Although Decathlon says that it does not intend to roll out the pilot concept, other sites are likely to adopt elements of the DX in the future. The AddLab 3D printer installed in the shop, for example, will not only be used to produce prototypes or limited editions: it will soon be printing parts or customised items (such as custom-made bicycle handlebars) for other branches. There are also plans to hold brainstorming sessions with customers and suppliers on other innovations.