French sports fashion retailer Decathlon has opened a Retail Lab near Madrid, where it can try out numerous new technologies and a revamped customer journey. What has it learnt so far?
Back in 2020, Decathlon opened its first lab shop, called Decathlon X, at its French headquarters in Villeneuve d’Ascq. Since then, outdoor retailer Alltricks has taken over that location and Decathlon shifted its playground to San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid. This time, the new Retail Lab was built in an existing shop, to make the experiments even more real.
The first striking difference is the greater emphasis on product presentation, Républik Retail reports. Display stands, mannequins and screens break the classic shop layout with high shelves full of products. The displays also focus more on the technical qualities of products, such as the soles of running shoes. Moreover, the different sports are presented as shop-in-shops, rather than as a succession of aisles.
Click&connect, done differently
Decathlon Retail Lab is relying heavily on RFID: customers can compare the features of two shoe models thanks to RFID chips on the products. Put the shoes next to each other and their features appear on screen. RFID also makes the click&collect process more convenient: customers can collect their packages by themselves in a separate area. They simply take the order with the correct number from the rack, while the RFID gates guarantee that nothing goes wrong.
RFID also enables a simplified Scan&Go self-scanning system at the checkouts: customers no longer need to download an app for it, just scan QR codes at the entrance and exit. Speaking of scanning, the shop has a shoe size scanner and a (temporary) body scanner. There is also a whole section with second-hand and rental, in addition to a fun zone with a multi-sport simulator. This was already a success in Japan, Républik Retail says, but now customers can also start comparing their performance with others worldwide. The benefit for Decathlon? It gains a lot of useful customer data.
Focus on customer journey
It is no coincidence that the flow and customer journey are getting so much attention in the Lab: Decathlon has mapped the visitors’ customer journey for eighteen months and distilled a completely revised retail strategy from it. The chain even conducted research into why people do sports, the different motivations and thus customer profiles.
Discover the various learnings below: