How Sport Chek Improves Conversions
Sport Chek is the largest sporting equipment and clothing retailer in Canada, with 191 locations as of 2020. Its mission is to make every athlete, coach, and fan look their best. With over three million fans across the country, Sport Chek has become an important part of Canadian culture. As part of its growth strategy, it has adapted its advertising and marketing tactics to become more effective at reaching consumers. Read on to learn more about the latest developments and their impact on conversions.
Social Flyer campaign
The Sport Chek Social Flyer campaign aims to deliver relevant content to Ontarians on a weekly basis. The company repositioned its brand late last year and has since launched an ambassador-led initiative. “Move Makers” are athletes, teachers, and fitness enthusiasts who lead fitness sessions in communities and introduce new ways to move. These athletes become the brand’s ambassadors and help deliver relevant content.
In addition to its award-winning social flyer campaign, the brand recently opened two flagship stores in the Greater Toronto Area, including a TSN broadcast studio. Its success has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades including Gold at the Festival of Media Global Awards in Rome for ‘best e-commerce campaign’. Aside from winning the ‘Best Social Flyer’ prize, Sport Chek was also recognized with Gold for ‘Best Overall Campaign’ in the Festival of Media Global Awards.
The digital circular campaign was also successful, as the brand collaborated with marketing automation firm Bluecore to create a customized email for every user. The email would be tailored based on the user’s previous purchasing behavior and how they interacted with the advertising. Previously, Sport Chek sent out the same digital email to its database of one million subscribers. In a two-week period, this campaign was responsible for 70% of the sales on Boxing Day. Today, Sport Chek expects to reach the same level of success.
In an effort to better understand the efficiency of cross-channel marketing, Sport Chek compared their traditional paper direct mailers to Facebook’s new digital circular solution. In order to assess the effectiveness of both campaigns, the Sport Chek team sent direct mailers to households across Canada. To achieve a better cross-channel marketing performance, Sport Chek mailed direct mailers four times a week in addition to sending emails. The direct mailers included personalized content and a “Shop Now” button, directing consumers to the appropriate product pages on the company’s website.
The target audience for Sport Chek’s direct mailer is the middle and upper-class. The target market is affluent, sport-conscious, and willing to spend money on sporting gear. The target audience is comprised of a wide range of age groups, ranging from teenagers to young professionals. Teenagers are typically dependent on parents for financial support, while young professionals are more likely to have disposable income and be more reliable customers. While young adults have a higher disposable income, the Sport Chek direct mailer reaches people in their prime and mature stages.
Despite a strong performance in 2014, Sport Chek is still working to improve its brand recognition. In addition to their multichannel Olympics campaign, Sport Chek opened two flagship stores, offering an immersive digital experience. Additionally, they’ve launched the #MyNorth grassroots campaign, which leverages user generated content and a unique digital environment to strengthen their presence within the Canadian basketball community. In addition to the above, Sport Chek also expanded its retail presence into the sport community with the opening of several new stores in Toronto and Quebec.
Digital circular solution
Historically, paper circulars have taken up a disproportionate portion of a retailer’s marketing budget and have proven to be difficult to adjust to the digital age. The pandemic has, however, led many retailers to consider more sustainable marketing approaches. Catalina’s Digital Circular Personalizer solution has proven to be one of these new methods. Using this innovative system, Sport Chek is able to create a personalised, digital advertising wall for its flagship stores across Canada.
The digital circular model was developed as a natural progression from the hybrid grocery store dynamic. Retailers have long leveraged loyalty card data to personalize digital offerings, including mobile, email, and websites. Using 1:1 targeted content, retailers can better engage customers and drive sales. Retailers can now integrate their digital offerings into any type of marketing strategy. One grocer enhanced the look of their member card with a light animation.
Impact on conversions
Sports apparel retailer Sport Chek is Canada’s largest national retailer of sporting goods. In addition to apparel and footwear, Sport Chek offers sporting equipment and inspires Canadians to lead active lifestyles. To improve the user experience on their e-commerce site, Sport Chek uses conversion optimization techniques. In particular, Sport Chek uses Value Proposition as one of its conversion optimization strategies. Value Proposition is a marketing strategy that is considered a cost versus benefit equation. In other words, customers perceive the benefits of a product or service as outweighing the cost of the product or service.
The Sport Chek team wanted to test the impact of emphasising “Free Shipping” on product detail pages. In the past, this offer was not prominently displayed and was only communicated through a site-wide banner, which users often close. By emphasizing free shipping on product pages, users were more likely to make an online purchase and continue shopping. The result: the winning variation increased conversions by 7.3%.
As one of Canada’s largest retailers of sporting goods, Sport Chek is in a unique position to help brands optimize the e-commerce experience for customers. In a recent study, we studied Sport Chek’s conversion optimization program to determine what factors drive customers to purchase. Essentially, a Value Proposition is the idea that an item is better than its cost, so consumers are willing to pay more if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Traditionally, Sport Chek mailed paper direct mailers to Canadian households. Previously, the company had no digital support for their direct mailers, and they wanted to determine the efficiency of the direct mailers and Facebook’s new digital circular solution. Ultimately, they uncovered that both campaigns were equally effective in increasing conversion rates. That was the tipping point that sparked the Sport Chek Infinity Optimization program. This innovative strategy helped Sport Chek gain an edge over its competitors and has been a success.
In this test, Sport Chek used Facebook as a platform for promoting their in-store sales. First, Sport Chek targeted 18-34 year-olds in the Greater Toronto Area and later expanded to target adults throughout Ontario. Next, the company optimized the delivery of relevant flyer content to Ontarians on a weekly basis. Ultimately, the program grew to reach a consistent number of users in the target audience and surpassed the results of the paper flyer.
The “Free Shipping” value proposition for Sport Chek is highly elastic, meaning that it changes for different groups of users at various prices. In the past, it wasn’t very obvious to users that they would qualify for free shipping, but the company is now communicating the offer better and highlighting the value it can bring. It may be worth a try to make this offer more prominent. It also helps to understand how consumers’ behavior changes if they purchase at various price points.
Free shipping is a great feature for Sport Chek, but it’s also a “Point of Parity”: other competitors offer free shipping to most users. To distinguish Sport Chek from the pack, it needs to communicate the benefit it offers users more effectively. By highlighting the benefit of free shipping, users are more motivated to buy from them. Further, it increases the chances of conversions. By focusing on a single benefit, Sport Chek can differentiate itself from the competition.
A Value Proposition for Sport Chek can also be formulated by understanding the needs and desires of your target audience. To do so, you need to see your company from the customer’s point of view. You should answer all of their questions. It’s important to start from the customer’s point of view and start from there. The jobs of a customer include their context, their past behaviors and decisions, and situational analysis. For example, they want to buy clothes, learn a new skill, or purchase a car.
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