Specialization – an essential element for the future of brick and mortar sports retail.
Simply selling goods has served its purpose. Customers demand a shopping experience to which they can identify. The ABSOLUTE concept from SPORT 2000 International is a holistic solution for the specialist retailers of the future. With the ABSOLUTE Run Store in Siegen, an additional flagship store has opened in Germany. Daniel Bätzing and the Stern family lead the 230 m2 store with a focus on running. This interview with the editorial team of the SPORT 2000 blog explains his motivation to become an ABSOLUTE retailer and provides insights to his personal experiences as to how the new store is accepted by customers.
Dear Mr. Bätzing, you and the Stern family have been leading a multi-sport shop in Betzdorf for 33 years. Why did you decide to open an ABSOLUTE Run Store in Siegen?
In our existing shop in Betzdorf we already have an increased focus on running. For some time now we have been thinking about opening a second specialized store. When we heard about the new ABSOLUTE concept at the Sport 2000 Summit in October 2018, it became clear to us, that we could realize the dream of a second store. The format does not only provide us with great support from SPORT 2000, but as well as the industry. This lowers the risk tremendously – an important aspect for an entrepreneur.
How exactly does the close collaboration with SPORT 2000 simplify your work in the store?
SPORT 2000 supports us the most in all strategic agendas. This means that SPORT 2000 negotiates the best conditions and products with all suppliers and coordinates the marketing of ABSOULTE. All what is left for us to do, is to implement it accordingly. Without the support of SPORT 2000, this would not be possible and would require a higher workload from us. Thus, it allows us to fully concentrate on giving the best possible service and advice to our customers.
What special features does your ABSOLUTE store have?
The new Absolute Run store offers the customer the highest level of service: from runners for runners. We want to be the home of running in Siegen. The customer should feel free to stop by and simply talk about his/her training or the last events – without necessarily having to buy something. If needed, we can analyse the running style of costumers with our 4K video analysis and dynamic foot pressure measurement at any time. In addition, we offer premium products from the leading running sports industry manufacturers which are not available everywhere. Furthermore, Community Building is very important to us. In addition to regular presentations, customers can also join us for a weekly run on Thursdays at 6.30 p.m. together with the „Crown Town Runners“.
How has the ABSOLUTE concept been accepted by your customers so far?
Very positively. Most customers are enthusiastic about the size and openness of the store. Openness, not only in terms of the sales area, but also in terms of service. They report, that they appreciated that they were advised calmly without feeling pressured to buy something afterwards.
With which requirements do customers come to you?
Our clientele is a colourful mix of all kinds of runners: from the beginner to the very ambitious triathlete. Their requirements are equally different. In a lot of cases runners are simply looking for a consultation for the right shoe. But even the ambitious runner stops by – partially injured – and needs help with his difficulties. Some athletes are also savouring conversations in which staff members provide them with training tips for the next competition.
What must sport retailers offer in the future to remain competitive?
We have to create a shopping experience and ensure that the brick and mortar retailing offers some sort of added value. Only selling products is not enough – every online shop can do that. It must be our goal to accompany the runner on his/her individual sporting path.