Just one month after Sportsgirl introduced a new mobile sales channel with QR codes, the company has introduced another technology innovation that allows users to share photos of themselves trying on new outfits in the company’s stores.
With all the debate in the retail industry over wages, GST thresholds and falling productivity, it’s refreshing to see a bricks and mortar store putting effort into making sure customers are always given new and interesting ways to shop.
We spoke to Sportsgirl last month about how the company engages its community to develop new shopping technologies. Here are five lessons smart businesses can learn from Sportsgirl’s eagerness to evolve and adapt.
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1. Rich, relevant content, updated regularly
Google has been telling websites for years they need to produce relevant content that’s regularly updated. Sportsgirl actually does it.
A quick trip to the website reveals a variety of updates on fashion-related topics, including ideas for outfits for different occasions, updated by season. There are regular pictures updated with models showing off different outfits, with links to where users can buy the clothing on the Sportsgirl website, and a comprehensive blog covering fashion events and a weekly fashion wrap-up.
Sportsgirl understands that managing a retail website is more than just offering products online. It’s about giving your community reasons to keep coming back, with rich content that’s produced with time and care.
2. A willingness to innovate
If nothing else, Sportsgirl is willing to try new things. Last month it debuted a wall on the side of its Chapel Street store that allowed users to shop via QR codes, and just this week it’s launched a new “mirror” that allows shoppers to shares photos of themselves after trying on new outfits through social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter.
They can also buy products directly from the company’s website if the particular size or colour isn’t available in-store.
With so many retailers scared away from online retailing and innovation, it’s good to see that some bricks and mortar chains are doing all they can to remain relevant. Sportsgirl is doing that better than most.
3. A comprehensive mobile sales channel
Sportsgirl understands that most of its target market are spending all their time on phones. So producing a mobile sales channel that allows them to shop as well as they could on a regular site was made a priority.
Above all else, Sportsgirl is quick to react. It identifies opportunities and goes after them – the mobile sales channel is a perfect example of reacting quickly to what the target market wants.
4. Engaging with the fans on Facebook
Engaging with your community on social media is as important as gaining followers. Sportsgirl maintains a comprehensive Facebook page, regularly posting content on the company, new deals and other updates as well. It regularly replies to other users’ comments, including complaints, giving full answers about what they should do if they don’t like a product or need a refund.
They also pick a fan of the month, sending each winner a package of products – a great way to keep fans engaged.
This is comprehensive work, but it pays off. Sportsgirl updates and comments are plastered all over Facebook, giving the brand a much more positive perception.
5. Maintaining an active community
Last month SmartCompany spoke with Sportsgirl brand manager Prue Thomas about the company’s decision to introduce QR codes on a shop wall in Chapel Street. She told us part of the reason the chain decided to use such a strategy was because the community asked for it.
Sportsgirl maintains some active forums on its website, regularly engaging users about what they want to see in the stores, and if they’re enjoying the brand.
The business has fostered a community and then takes advantage of them by asking for regular feedback. The fact they take that feedback on board only adds to their success amongst their target market.