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Experience Sports in the Store

Ever go shopping for athletic gear and get frustrated that you can’t try it out fully? Curious about how that bat swings? Or if that driver will help you hit a clean line? Want a quick run around the track while you wait for friends to finish on the climbing wall? You’re in luck if you go to one of the new Dick’s Sporting Goods concept stores – House of Sports.

Going to a sports gear store just got a little more interactive. Working to lure customers back to the store and linger awhile, the new Dick’s stores offer a 20,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track, rock climbing wall, batting cages, hitting bays, and golf simulations.

Dick’s isn’t the only company getting into experiential stores. Bauer Hockey, a leader in hockey gear, has stores with a full-sized ice rink. And, North Dakota-based Scheels sporting goods has a superstore with a saltwater aquarium, mini-hockey rink, coffee shop, candy store, archery lanes, and indoor Ferris wheel. And, let’s not forget about the Canada Good store in Mall of America that has a cold room for trying out gear in temperatures as low as minus-13 degrees (a typical Minnesota winter).

Many sporting goods stores saw increased sales during the pandemic. And with increased customers, increased experiences for customers followed. These enhanced experiences – a type of experiential marketing – are designed to immerse customers with a product. Not just see it or touch it, but actually experience something physically.

Who wants to go play at the store?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Where do they buy athletic gear? Why there?
  2. Discuss the changing customer experiences in retail.
  3. Discuss experiential marketing and how it involves the customer.
  4. Show House of Sports site: https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/s/houseofsport
  5. Scheels Web site: https://www.scheels.com/stores/minnesota/eden-prairie/features/eden-prairie-attractions-entertainment.html
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a retailer they like. Then, have each team design how to incorporate experiential marketing into the store.

Sources:  Norfleet, N. (17 March 2022). ‘House of Sport’ goes beyond shopping. Minneapolis Star Tribune.  

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