Intersport Is Going Omnichannel with Two Amazing New Digital Platforms
With the non-stop rise of the smartphone revolution and the prominent technologies that have come with it, incorporating omnichannel engagement principles has been a growing practice in many companies. Today, customers are using multiple platforms and multiple channels – from mobiles to desktops to in-person store visits – along the path to purchase, and retailers all over the world are exploring innovative ways to bring physical and digital together to make the shopping experience smoother and more exciting for everyone involved.
Now, Switzerland-based international sporting goods retailer Intersport is making moves to become a leading omnichannel innovator with its Cooperative Retailers Platform and a smart partnership with OneStock.
Cooperative Retailers Platform
While digitalisation was once seen as a threat to the high street, many retailers have come to see it as a challenge and opportunity instead.
Intersport’s most significant move into digital transformation was with the launch of its Cooperative Retailers Platform. The platform aims to create a holistic environment from which the various parts of the Intersport experience can come together. There’s the main Intersport online shop and a rental platform which loans skiing equipment to hundreds of thousands of Germans each year. Then there’s the huge number of individual retailers who each have their own data repositories. Previously, each of these data sources would have been siloed and operating entirely independently.
The platform allows Intersport to act as a kind of Amazon for sporting goods, enabling multiple retailers to take advantage of Intersport’s global prominence and resources (the company operates nearly 6,000 stores in 65 countries). Though of course Amazon sells sporting goods too, and is thereby a direct competitor, Intersport nonetheless believes it offers retailers some unique benefits that set its platform apart from the ecommerce giant.
“I think that very many retailers have understood that at Amazon they are not online retailers – but that they could actually be that with us,” said Chief Digital Officer at Intersport, Carsten Schmitz. “For us, it is about customers and developing customer relationships. At the moment, Amazon is using the retailers as package packers on the way to doing the business themselves. By now, many retailers have realised this. With us, there is a significant advantage: We link the customer relationships to our member. At Amazon, I don’t have a customer relationship. And I don’t gain any ecommerce expertise either.”
Another way in which Intersport is speeding up its digital transformation is with the launch of a new Order Management System (OMS), developed in collaboration with omnichannel experts OneStock.
According to a OneStock white paper, 79% of online shoppers will purchase a different brand if the one they wanted is out of stock, and 73% rank product unavailability as their number one shopping frustration. At any one time, roughly 22% of products are unavailable among cross-channel retailers, meaning a lot of customers are likely to be frustrated a lot of the time.
The OneStock platform is designed to minimise the frustration felt by consumers when they go online to shop at their favourite digital store only to discover the item they’re looking for is out of stock. This potential negative customer experience can be nullified with a concept dubbed “Ship from Store”.
Ship from Store allows an online merchant to check stock levels across an entire network of physical locations for a searched-for item. This means if a product is available in any one of Intersport’s nearly 6,000 locations, the online customer can still place the order and have it shipped to them. If more than one store has the product in stock, the platform automatically selects the nearest one to the customer, and the item is shipped from there.
"The OMS project is at the heart of Intersport's omnichannel strategy,” said Digital IT manager at Intersport, Michael Alimi. “Its implementation is a team effort between Supply, Digital, IT, Product, Finance and of course Retail, our main objective being to offer a seamless customer experience. In addition to the ‘out of the box’ features allowing a reduced time to market (less than six months), we have chosen OneStock for its dynamic roadmap and its positioning also aligns with our ‘best of breed’ Intersport technology strategy."
OneStock is compatible with all major shopping platforms and postal carriers, making its implementation into the Intersport family a breeze.
Finding ways to bring digital and physical retail together is undoubtedly the secret to saving the high street, and Intersport’s innovative new developments elegantly demonstrate the kind of thinking which is necessary to make it happen.