March 3, 2021 FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ DECATHLON

During the Asia-Pacific partner summit, I had the chance to visit the Decathlon Anubhava shop. Anubhava means “experience” in the language spoken in the Indian state of Karnataka of which Bangalore is the capital. This Decathlon shop holds true to its name by providing a true experience to sports enthusiasts.

“Sport for All”

Throughout the shop, section by section, the consumer can try out sports equipment. One section is dedicated to trying roller blades on a smooth surface. In another section, runners can test shoes on smooth to rough surfaces. Mountain bikes can be tested on wood and stone terrains.
This ability for customers to interact with products, combined with the help of shop assistants who all are sport enthusiasts, is a good indication that the great shopping experience offered is key to the success of Decathlon in India.

“All for Sport”

The product range in Decathlon is impressive. From fishing, running, biking, and of course, the Indian national sport cricket, Decathlon covers more than 45 sports.
Thanks to the integration of design and sourcing teams, Decathlon offers innovative, quality and affordable products. The Quechua self-expanding tent is known worldwide. The folding b´Twin bike, compact badminton net, and many more, help democratize sports in every country.

Everybody is a VIP

Decathlon India started as a Cash and Carry business. They had to identify the customer by name, for each purchase. Although they later acquired a retail license, they kept the mandatory identification of the consumer.
Every cashier is equipped with double touch screens. The customers input their information. Ismael Ciordia, CTO, had a hard time finding the @ on the touch keyboard, luckily the Decathlon cashier helped him out quickly.
The double screen also displays products scanned, prices, promotions, taxes and eventually the final screen.

Ice from the sky

In the middle of our visit, a hailstorm suddenly started to pour down onto the shop. Very unusual for the season, so everybody started to take pictures. Rivers started to form outside of the shop. And, of course, the Internet connection went down.
Apart from the sudden interest in this meteorological event, sales continued at the cashier desk. WebPOS automatically went into offline mode. A hailstorm will not stop business.

Success and consequences

Decathlon´s success has consequences. Every weekend, happy consumers queue up, and that reduces their happiness. The Anubhava shop rakes in a very substantial number of sales transactions in one day, with only 5 cashiers.  helps to accelerate the process, but it is not enough.

Decathlon India offers a self check-out process to their customers. They will provide shop assistants with tablets. Moving up the queue, they will identify the customer, and scan their products and help waiting times reduce substantially. Customer happiness will be up again.

Behind the scenes

The Decathlon IT team gave us a demonstration of their in-store mobile application.n Walking to any item in the store, category managers can find, in one step, product detail information, live, central and surrounding shop stocks, input a bulk order, adjust stocks. Taking advantage of  API, Decathlon has developed this single screen, multi-function mobile application.
This development has completely changed the way section managers work. As the shop is 4000 square meters it can take a few minutes to go to a computer, get the information, and another few minutes to go back to the customer. Decathlon staff can now carry the answer to every question in their pockets.
Section managers used to dedicate their Monday morning to updates. They can now perform all weekly tasks in half an hour. On top of the huge time saving, it also means that the information is available within a few minutes, instead of being refreshed once a week.

It is only the beginning

Decathlon India has many projects geared towards continued improvement of customer experience. The deployment of RFID tags on products. The only limits are their creativity and their enthusiasm., and they have lots of both so be ready for more great things to be launched at Decathlon.

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