This year there were some spectacular store (re)openings in Germany and Engelhorn sports is one of them. In the spring, the Mannheim-based top dog presented its converted sports house in the city center and filled the buzzword "shopping experience" with content. The result is definitely worth the seven-digit investment.
Just entering the store is an experience: the bright, airy and generous space immediately wows the visitor. The base of a climbing wall invites you to explore the building up to the roof. Next to it is a presentation area reminiscent of a surfboard. Above: hanging green. This is the environment of the so-called Style of Sports Area. Here functional parts with sport-inspired street and urban styles are shown. The trendy looks are suitable for everyday use and include collections and footwear from Birkenstock, Nike, Naketano, Siksilk, Lacoste and Adidas, to name but a few. In addition, there is of course a big football, or World Cup area, for the current competition.
First phase: Facelift for the outdoor department
Engelhorn sports had already started last year with the redesign of the five-story building, after a planning phase of one and a half years. In the first conversion phase, the outdoor department was redesigned and divided into new worlds of experience on floors four and five. “Into the heights” is the theme of the outdoor sports area, which appeals to customers who actually move in the mountains, who hike and climb and are therefore looking for functional equipment such as ice picks and clothing suitable for high mountains. This is where functionality and technology dominate, “where customers are looking for technically good clothes,” explains Armin Weger, managing director of Engelhorn sports. The “In die Weite” concept, on the other hand, is intended to appeal to those who prefer comfortable hiking boots for shorter and longer distances. And “In the distance” is aimed at those who want to be suitably equipped and dressed for urban tours. Weger relies on the cross-selling effect: “We want to expand the interaction between Hiking and Urban, here we see potential.” With Performance and Urban, the proximity is already greater. On the product range side, the Urban Outdoor department is still in the development phase. Unlike in the functional area, the aim of the urban space is to increase the degree of fashion through collections from fashion companies that combine lifestyle and function, such as Woolrich. Most brands in this area are in the higher-priced premium segment. Weger sees particular growth potential in this.
Second phase: Creating a new dimension
At the beginning of 2018 the reconstruction of the rest of the house started, with the completion of which Engelhorn sports has entered a new dimension: digital, young, individual, eventful. Digital tracking is built into the entire sales area to be able to track the movement patterns of customers. According to Weger, the conversation rate is quite satisfactory. However, he does not want to see concrete figures published. Nevertheless, missing frequency on the area must be compensated with higher receipts. Weger explains: "The average receipt for hardware is currently about 20% higher than the market. Among other things, the expansion is to take place via the new Urban Premium segment."
Experiences about services
Shopping as an experience is a defining element for Engelhorn in its design. Thus the old sorting system for sports was broken down and new sports worlds were created. Besides the “Style of Sports Area” on the ground floor, the first floor is completely dedicated to the ladies, the second to the gentlemen. Both are very modern and young furnished and designed with some highlights. According to Weger, the women’s department offers Germany’s largest bra wall with over 360 different models. The overall assortment is merchandised by sports such as Fitness/Studio, Crossfit, Running and Swimming, with Yoga in the women’s area as well. "We have significantly expanded our offer in these areas, especially in the areas of yoga and fitness we see strong development potential”, says Weger. In addition, numerous gadgets are available at special tech centers. Services such as running analysis, which takes place in a separate area protected from curious glances, a bra-fitting or a yoga rest area are intended to whet the appetite for activity and give room for self-tests. Customizing services are also available for embroidery, flocking or laser engraving. In addition, the booming plus-size segment is also being taken into account, although it has so far been designed as a separate area.
When it comes to experience and trade, the coffee concept in the store is a must. Accordingly, such a corner concept rounds off the offer.
Stationary and online go hand in hand
The conversion of the remaining three floors took a total of seven weeks. It was realized by Engelhorn during operation.
Since the networking of stationary trade and online shop plays an important role for the company, the redesign was also reflected online. The gender split can be experienced not only in the sports store, but also in the e-shop: “We want to provide our customers with a holistic and seamless shopping experience, no matter which channel they use,” explains Weger, who states that most of the customer's customer journey starts on mobile devices. “That is why we are working intensively on our mobile orientation.”
According to Weger, just under a quarter of current sales come from online trading. And the trend is rising. To realize the shopping experience for customers online and offline, and to interlink both business areas, Engelhorn also relies on offers and services such as Click & Collect or Same Day Delivery.
Success factor: Sales consultants on the selling floor
The sales staff on the premises also provide a holistic experience. The employees are trained and since they all practice the sports themselves, they can not only inform, but also inspire. In general, the exchange and sharing of enthusiasm are of great importance at Engelhorn sports. There are numerous communities where sports are practiced together, such as running meetings, GPS and yoga courses or bike tours. The exchange among like-minded people should not only ensure a longer stay, but also create a special proximity of customers and salesmen, which is also a key to Weger’s success in shopping. Born in Tyrol, he relies on creative purchasing to build up the assortment that is perfectly curated. Since the conversion, there have been around 25% fewer goods in the area. “It’s about having the right goods on the ground. Purchasing must not only know the brands, but also have the customers in mind.”
Overall, the focus should be on emotions: before, during and after the sport. And at Engelhorn it clearly is.