With the new MEGA STORE, the largest SPORT 2000 store opens in Sofia and impresses with a new retail concept. The store concept features a modern interior and an extensive range of products and brands, offering sports enthusiasts a unique shopping experience over 3,000 square metres. In this interview, Ivo Todorov, SPORT 2000’s Head of Marketing in Bulgaria, gives us an insight into the innovative concept that is putting sports retail in the limelight.
Ivo, what is so special about this MEGA STORE?
The MEGA STORE is the largest SPORT 2000 store that we have ever opened in Bulgaria: it has a retail space of 3,000 square metres over four floors, with each floor specialising in a different type of sport. By Western European retail standards, this may not seem particularly large, but by Bulgarian and Southeastern European standards, it is huge. Other sports retailers in Bulgaria tend to have average retail spaces of between 600 and 800 square metres. This enormous space allows us to use the store as a showroom, where we can present our entire brand and product portfolio to the customer. The range also includes exclusive and first-class brands that aren’t really available anywhere else in Bulgaria. The MEGA STORE is also the first to feature SPORT 2000’s new retail design concept.
What makes this new store different from a “normal” sports retail store?
In comparison with the established sports retailers in Bulgaria, the MEGA STORE is more accessible thanks to its prime location, offers more space, top comfort and a great selection of brands from all sports areas. We are focused on the needs of our customers and offer them more advantages, excellent service, variety and an emotional experience – all from a single source.
How did the idea of the MEGA STORE come about?
We wanted to establish a multi-category store. We consciously left the city centre and the shopping centres behind and created a space that is dedicated solely to sport. A space that holds the world’s best sporting brands, that satisfies the various needs of our customers and provides an experience that cannot be found anywhere else. This all led to the idea of creating a large, independent store, something like a flagship store. SPORT 2000’s new retail concept fulfilled all of our requirements and came at just the right time for us. We are the first store in Europe to incorporate this concept.
What is special about this location in the outskirts?
Virtually everyone heading into or out of Sofia comes past the store. The location is highly visible, which makes it a good shopping location in a lively quarter.
What is special about the store design?
Our priority was the customer experience: we focused on labels, illuminated advertising and visual merchandising. Sports and gender were two more focal points. We want customers in the store to experience the energy and emotions of sports up close and in person. The point-of-sale layout concept and the warm, inspiring atmosphere draw attention to the products in a smart, targeted way.
Digitalisation is playing an increasingly important role in the sport retail trade and in store design. How does the digitalisation stand at the MEGA STORE look?
Sports retail is now unthinkable without digitalisation. In addition to the basics, like the website, we are currently developing digital signage in the store and suitable video content for the different sports areas. Other projects include a 3D projector, a vending machine with merchandising goods, additional testing zones and a space for social media photo shoots. Our analysis tools are also increasingly digitalised, allowing us to provide better and precise advice.
What advantages does the MEGA STORE offer larger sports brands?
With the MEGA STORE, Bulgaria now has a prime location that fulfils the high expectations of the manufacturers. The premium retail concept, with specialised sporting areas and large advertising spaces allows us to present international brands in the best possible way. The large brands’ priorities are taken into consideration and their products positioned in such a way that they make an impression on customers. This also improves our relationships and confirms our place as a long-term, strategic industry partner.