June 25, 2012, 4:22 PM

How Sport Chalet makes sure the shoe fits through omni-channel retailing

The retail chain offers some goods points on selling across channels.

Sport Chalet, a chain of 54 sporting goods stores that also sells online and through mobile commerce, does some $350 million in total annual sales—a mark it has hit with a strong cross-channel retailing strategy that focuses on how customers want to shop, rather than on how Sport Chalet wants to sell to them.

But to realize the benefits of increased customer loyalty and incremental sales, retailers must work hard at making sure their company is providing a consistent and complementary shopping experience online, in stores and through mobile and social commerce, Peter Taylor, Sport Chalet’s director of business development, said at the Internet Retailer 2012 Conference & Exhibition in a session titled “Cross-Channel Commerce: Techniques and technologies to leverage.”

And that means designating someone at the retailer to take the lead, he said. “Someone has to figure out how to get it done, serving customers across all channels,” he said.

At Sport Chalet, a strong cross-channel experience has required a continuous effort to make each of its selling channels blend in with the other channels, providing a more consistent shopping experience for customers, he added. “We started trying to making the web site look more like the stores, then we tried to make the stores more like the web site. Now we are trying to make the online experience more like the store experience, and the store experience more like the online experience.”

Merchandising and marketing displays for Brooks running shoes, for example, will offer similar content, including customer reviews, regardless of which channel a customer shops in.

That should make the customer more comfortable with Sport Chalet across its selling channels—as well as more comfortable in the running shoes she buys.

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