A blog series on Shopper Marketing        

By Cyndi Pyburn

Sport Chek’s approach to content and their digital store environment has created a successful ‘always-on’ platform and has dramatically ‘upped’ the customer experience. Sport Chek made a calculated decision to do several key things, among many:

  1. Connect emotionally with their customers
  2. Experiment by creating a ‘lab’ store prior to flagship rollout
  3. Digitize their traditional flyer
  4. Create content that is ‘everyday’ versus ‘epic’

Step 1 for Sport Chek was to identify the target. We undertook a full segmentation study to identify the ‘Achiever’ as the primary target …. Achiever households are involved in a large number of sports and spend money accordingly. Through a series of qualitative work-streams, we honed in on a brand positioning around ‘Inspiration for a better you’. This eventually evolved into Sport Chek’s tagline of “Your Better Starts Here.” This truly tapped into the consumer psyche of desiring to be your best, physically, emotionally and spiritually. From that, Sport Chek’s advertising has focused on self-improvement …. not the end state, but the journey to be your best, whatever your best is.

Sport Chek also gave them-selves permission to ‘experiment’. They created a ‘lab’ store in midtown Toronto and began their in-store experiential and digital vision. Through a variety of various merchandising and digital elements, the ‘typical’ sporting goods store has truly been transformed. The end result is an elevated brand thanks to a forward thinking company, not afraid to take risks.

A third important step was to transform the traditional flyer by digitizing it. This allowed Sport Chek to respond to weather conditions in various regions of the country to promote key related items …. rain gear for the runner in Vancouver; shorts & tees for the runner in Toronto. As Sport Chek became more inspirational, it’s gave them guidance in terms of how the brand should come to life across not only the marketing channels but also in the physical and digital experiences. Moving from the traditional flyer to the digital world is a big cultural shift. Today, the company is still challenged to bridge online and offline consumer behaviour to paint a unified view, Sport Chek is eager to take on this challenge.

Lastly, the advertising focus clearly shifted as Sport Chek started to become more content-driven, moving from a campaign-style approach to being ‘always-on’. While leveraging sports rally points to develop content can create epic campaigns, it is ‘everyday’ content that connects with consumers and creates ‘brand stickiness’.

The end result: SSS have seen double digit increases in 2013 and 2014 thanks to the digitization of the business and a team of forward thinkers, they were recognized by Strategy Magazine has one of the Brands of the Year.