The market environment of sports retail is just as dynamic as sport itself. New developments and trends demand sports retailers to play an active role in shaping this environment. In this Interview Margit Gosau, CEO of SPORT 2000 International, strongly believes in the future of brick-and-mortar retail and offers insights into new concepts and ways of thinking that leave the old methods behind and focus on the shopping experience of sports enthusiasts.
What can sports retailers expect in the future?
Margit Gosau: Nowadays, consumers can shop online 24/7 – any time, day and night. People need to be attracted to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. Thus, shopping in a store needs to be transformed into an experience. Those stores are offering added value which cannot be found online. As a matter of fact the retailers will not only offer one-to-one advice but also satisfy the customer’s expectations even more intensively in terms of the customer journey. Of course, as a retail organization it is our top priority to create the ideal foundations for the retailer and to offer quality products. Consumer experience and sustainability are particular topics, which will need to be properly addressed when moving forward.
How is SPORT 2000 reacting to these developments on an international level?
We have been intensively tackling the demands the customer places on the sports retailer. And it has become clear to us that the future of retailing will be shaped by human interaction – or as we call it “the human touch”. First and foremost, customers want to exchange ideas with our retailers and meet likeminded people who share their sporting passion. Our newly developed “Absolute Concept” provides a retail format for specialist stores that creates a new in-store experience for the customer. In addition to its core competencies, such as top quality advice and individual service for its high-quality sporting goods, Absolute Retailers also firmly embrace the concept of community building. The focus is always on a selected category. Marketing, purchasing and omni-channel strategies are closely coordinated between retailers and SPORT 2000. As of now, there are already six stores open in Germany for running and team sports. All of these have been welcomed enthusiastically by our customers. An expansion to the other categories is already planned.
Does this mean that there will only be specialists in the sports retail trade in future?
No, not at all. But customer expectations at generalist stores are also changing. Today, customers shop according to an experience or a theme. They want to be immersed in their personal thematic areas and are looking for integrated, coordinated product ranges that are optimized to their personal needs. Here, too, we are working on a very promising generalist concept which takes all the factors mentioned into account and can be flexibly adapted to any store size.