Sport Chek Online Store Review – 5 eCommerce Site Quality Factors

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek balls-feature-image

Sport Chek Online Store Review – 5 eCommerce Site Quality Factors

Sport Chek is the largest Canadian retailer of sports equipment and it is a true omnichannel innovator

This week we present the Sport Chek online store review (sportchek.ca) to see: how well the site performs, how easy it is to make a purchase and whether the price is right. You can read all about our eCommerce sites review framework and evaluation methods in this article: http://www.eradium.com/quality-of-ecommerce-websites-5-most-important-factors/

Canadian Sports Market Overview

The following infographics is about Canadian sporting goods market (2)

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek balls-feature-image

About Sport Chek

Sport Chek is the largest Canadian retailer of sporting clothing and sports equipment, with stores throughout Canada (excluding Yukon). Its parent company, Forzani Group, operates stores under the following corporate and franchise banners: Sport Chek, National Sports, Sports Experts, Intersport, Atmosphere (formerly Coast Mountain Sports), Service Shop, Econosports, Nevada Bob’s Golf, and Hockey Experts
In 1999, a Sport Supercenter flagship store was opened on the top level of the Londonderry Mall, replacing an existing Walmart store. In 2014, the Londonderry Mall store relocated to Manning Town Centre, and will become a Simons.
In 2011, Canadian Tire bought Forzani for $771 million, and has since embarked on a large scale brand restructuring. (1)

Sportswear and equipment customers still need a physical presence for most of the items. You need to try the stuff to know if it is the right fit. The sporting goods retail is very predisposed to showrooming. Luckily, SportChek understands this problem and invests in improving and enhancing the digital in-store experience.

According to the article published in In Canadian Business magazine (3)

“The sports gear and clothing chain is in the midst of transforming its presence across Canada with new mega-stores that make heavy use of gadgetry, telemetrics and sensors, all of which are designed to entice shoppers out of their homes and back into the malls.”

Ebeltoft Group also published a case study about SportChek in their publication “The 10 Retail Innovations”. (4)

Market opportunity

Building from the success of the brands ‘Retail Lab’ store in Toronto, the Edmonton, Alberta flagship store represents the second phase in Sport Chek’s journey in dominating the future of retail. The flagship store redefines the customer experience through industry-leading digital elements, expert advisors and a suite of in-store services that educate and inspire. The store elevates Sport Chek’s mission to ‘Inspire Canadians to Live Healthy, Active Lifestyles’ by creating a dynamic environment through unique brand partnerships that connect sport and lifestyle enthusiasts to the best sport brands in the world.

Innovative Qualities

The store features a multi-channel strategy providing custom information in an informative, accessible manner by utilizing 400+ channels. Products, visuals, and interactive community walls personify the brand values of Sport Chek and its vendors. Key features include: NFC-enabled screens 470 individual screens 80 tablets 20 large-format touch screens 80 channel custom sound system Interactive putting green Virtual footwear wall Custom community app Activity-based kiosks Climbing Treadmill The West Edmonton Sport Chek flagship store has a 30% average transaction value, much greater than the banner average. The flagship store also offers 40% more square feet of retail space compared to the two FGL Sports properties previously opened at West Edmonton Mall.

Conclusions

While other retailers may incorporate digital elements, in-store test features, and highly specialized product selections independently, the Sport Chek flagship store at West Edmonton Mall leads the marketplace. As part of the forward-thinking retail strategy, Sport Chek anticipates opening 10-12 flagship stores nationwide in the next five years.

You also can read our review about Sportchek’s marketing campaigns in one of our previous articles: Promotional Discounts in eCommerce Email Marketing

http://www.eradium.com/promotional-discounts-in-ecommerce-email-marketing/

Sport Chek Online Store Review

www.sportchek.ca

Our evaluation framework takes into consideration the following five factors:

  1. Functional features of the site
  2. Cognitive factor – perceived conscious efforts to complete a purchase
  3. Emotional appeal of the site
  4. Product selection
  5. Price competitiveness

Rating

All features will be rated from 1* to 5* scores, where 1 means poor and 5 is great

1.   Functional Factor

radium-ecommerce-review- Check-mark

Sportchek.ca Home Page

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek home page desktop

1 . eCommerce Platform Fit – SCORE: 4.0

Sport Chek combines the custom developed innovative storefront with the best-of-breed products from multiple vendors to deliver online shopping experience and enable digital marketing. The site uses modern front-end technologies to support mobile devices with Responsive Web Design. The user interface design utilises the touch screen friendly navigation elements.

2. The site speed performance – SCORE: 3

The site speed performance is about average for the eCommerce or the self-service business websites. The store pages have links to many third party hosted services for content, advertising and analytics that contribute to overall page load and rendering time. You may see below the Dynatrace (dynatrace.com) performance testing  report card.

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek speed test report card

3.    Mobile Friendly – SCORE: 5

The site is mobile friendly. It features all the latest best practices for mobile design.

Sportchek uses innovative approaches for mobile ads. Yoy may see below a screenshot from Waze a mobile application that helps drivers navigate and avoid traffic. The ad appeared when I was driving in close proximity to the store. Advertising with Waze is an example of truly innovative omnichannel marketing.

Waze Screen
Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek home page mobile
Mobile Product Page
Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek product page mobile

4.    Search – SCORE: 4.5

The site search comes with the interactive search filters which are easy to navigate and are very intuitive. The only downside is that it takes a big portion of the screen. The smart auto suggestions feature when typing is very useful.

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek search result page desktop

5. Real-Time Inventory – SCORE: 3

Inventory information is a basic feature with simple in stock and out of stock messaging. You are able to check the nearest store but the site does not guarantee availability.

Product Page

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek product page desktop
6. Zoom Feature – SCORE: 4

You can zoom in on the product and view all the details up-close.

7. Product Comparisons – SCORE: 4

The product comparison feature is very easy to use and very effective. You can select up to 5 products and views their key features side by side in order to make a decision. You can even view product ratings

8. Live Chat –  SCORE: 0

There is no such functionality on the site.

9. Product Demos- SCORE: 0

There is no such functionality on the site.

10. Product Description – SCORE: 3

There is pretty basic information about the product. The layout, however, makes the information easy to follow.

11. Cross-sell popular and related products – SCORE: 4

The site recommends products similar to the product I am viewing based on some internal logic.

Check Out Process

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek checkout page desktop
12. Payment Options –  SCORE: 4
Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek payment method page desktop

The site offers multiple payment options to please the different types of buyers.

13. Express Checkout – SCORE: 4

The site offers the guests checkout option without signing or to use the customer’s Facebook account to sign. These features increase conversion

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek checkout-sign-in-page-desktop
14. Security – SCORE: 4

It appears on the checkout page as a final reminder to the user that the site is secure.

Account

15. Order Tracking – SCORE: 4

You may sign in at SportChek.ca for your Order History at any time. Information about your open orders, tracking, and past orders is available.

16 .Past Order Display – SCORE: 4

Easy to view and purchase past products.

17. Favorite products  – SCORE: 0

There is no such functionality on the site.

18 . Communication preferences  – SCORE: 3

There is no ability to manage the frequency or type of communication to be received.

19. Wish List/Registry – SCORE: 5

It is easy to use, even allows you to use your Facebook account without having to create another account.
TOTAL SCORE: 3.2/5

2. Cognitive Factor

A retail website must be easy to navigate and help visitors find relevant information quickly. Knowing your audience is the key to creating an effective site by combining the right elements that appeal to your shoppers.

Site Structure and Information Architecture

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek search bar desktop
Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek main menu navigation mobile
1. Search – SCORE: 5

Is found in a prominent location, easy to see and use.

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek search result filters desktop
2. Site Navigation – SCORE: 5

The site utilizes the ultra-modern mobile navigation pattern even on the desktop site.

3. Alternate Views – SCORE: 3

This functionality is inconsistent through the site, with some products having this functionality and others do not.

4. Visual Cues- SCORE: 3

There is not enough visual contrast to bring the shopper’s attention to various important messages through the site.

TOTAL SCORE: 4/5

3. Emotional Factor

Website’s Emotional connection with the target market

1. Show Products on Human Models – SCORE: 0

This functionality is not present on the site.

2. Quality of Image- SCORE: 4

The images are very sharp and professionally done. All images follow the same consistent pattern regardless of manufacturer.

3. Share Buttons – SCORE: 0

This functionality is not present on the site.

4. Email a Friend’ Button- SCORE: 0

This functionality is not present on the site.

5. Consumer Reviews- SCORE: 4

The reviews features are consistent with best in the class. They have cons, pros, the final recommendation as well excellent visual cues. The only downside that there are not many products that have a review. There should be an incentive for the shoppers to provide a review.

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek search result filters desktop
6. Make it easy to call you –  SCORE: 4

The phone number is visible in the footer at all times.

TOTAL SCORE: 2.7/5

3. Product Selection

Variety of Products

It is critical to have a variety of products that you specialize in, whether it is a specific category or type of product.

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek prodcut selection

Product availability

1.    Color options – SCORE: 5

The color product selection is well done. The color swatches are big enough to be visible; the product is displayed as one with simple color selection instead of each color being a different product.

2.    Size options –  SCORE: 4.5

The sizes that are in stock have a different color in the drop down menu than the out of stock items.

TOTAL SCORE: 4.75/5

5. Price Factor

Is it Amazon Competitive?

Random sample of 4 products:

Northern Response Power Gym

Amazon – $29.99 +shipping

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare power Gym amazon

Sportchek – $39.99

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare Power Gym sportchek

Gaiam Pink Med-Total Body Balanceball Kit

Amazon – $29.99

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare balanceball amazon

Sportcheck – $39.99

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare balanceball Sport chek

Northface Women’s Nuptse Purna Shorty Waterproof Winter Boot

Amazon – $149.99

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare women's winter boots amazon

Sportcheck – $169.99

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare women's winter boots Sportchek

Nike Men’s AIR ZOOM STRUCTURE 19 Running Shoes

Amazon – $138.47

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare running shoes amazon

Sportchek – $154.99

Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek price compare running shoes sportchek

The sports clothes selection at Amazon is still not very impressive, but prices of the matching sample items are lower at Amazon. Sport Chek wins with product selection.

Conclusion

Sport Chek has a very impressive modern online storefront, especially for a Canadian Retailer. At first glance, the digital store looks perfect, but when you look deeper, the true colors are starting to come through. The issues are not related to the quality of the site.  The fundamental deficiencies are the poor inventory management, slow shipping and lack of emotional connection with shoppers.

I am yet to experience the innovation at the physical location as those stores are still not available at my location.  It is the one to watch in the near future; I want to see if they will be able to use their current technological capability and connect with shoppers on an emotional level which so important in any shopping experience.

5 top recommendations for SportChek.ca for 2016:

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  1. Improve shipping – there is no reason why more than 1 week before the holiday the shipment cannot arrive on time for Christmas. This is a huge missed opportunity to capture a big portion of the holiday shopping.  Most of the shoppers want 2 – 3 days guaranteed delivery all year around.
Eradium ecommerce review Sportchek shipping warning
  1. Improve inventory online – A lot of the products appear to be out of stock online. This situation is very frustrating for a shopper – you expect to see more items in stock and just a few out of stock at the online store, not the other way around.
  2. Have social sharing on your product pages – this one of the key features in online stores today. This is a big part of social commerce, being able to share the product with your social connections.
  3. Introduce more human elements to the product – have products shots with people wearing or using the product, including videos. Such images help to imagine the product in action, better connect emotionally with your consumers and sell more.
  4. Alternative views of the products – increase the number of items with images from multiple viewpoints to show products as much as possible to minimize uncertainty, because online shoppers cannot touch or turn it around.

References

  1. Sport Chek, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_Chek
  2. Canadian sporting goods market information, http://csga.ca/market-info/
  3. To fight e-commerce onslaught, Sport Chek is bringing gadgets in-store, http://www.canadianbusiness.com/technology-news/to-fight-e-commerce-onslaught-sport-chek-is-bringing-gadgets-in-store/
  4. 10 retail Innovations- A Decade of Innovation, http://www.jcwg.com/pages/books2/JCWG-Ebeltoft-Group-Retail-Innovations-10.pdf
Anna Battrick
anna@eradium.com

Anna Battrick is Eradium’s Director of Ecommerce Services, has an extensive background in retail marketing and project management. With over 10 years of managing complex projects from inception to completion while always maintaining “it can be done” spirit. The world of retail is not only a professional interest but also a personal hobby which lets Anna see the other side of retail, from a shopper perspective. This helps create engaging marketing programs that speak personally to the shoppers interests and engage them in a conversation.



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