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How Dick's Sporting Goods Has Pivoted Its Strategy During Pandemic

By Paul Sanford

Dick’s Sporting Goods VP/Community & Sports Matter Marketing Mark Rooks was a guest speaker for the virtual Intersport Brand Innovation Summit where he talked about how “we’ve been forced to be really creative and scrappy as an organization first by kind of enhancing our e-commerce business with curbside pickup, which we were able to stand up in two days back in March.” Rooks, on e-commerce: “The sales are up about 200% for the quarter and over 50% of sales are coming through mobile, which is fantastic. More than 75% of our online sales were actually fulfilled by our stores serving as local distribution points and really the hub of our omni-channel sort of experience so that’s been all good and it’s really lifted our business.” Below are more highlights from the conversation with Rooks:

*On the pandemic creating shortages in certain exercise equipment: “At different points in the pandemic, certain categories were certainly supply constrained, and everyone’s heard stories about bikes, barbells and that sort of thing. But we tried to leverage our partnerships with vendors and our private brands supply to really aggressively chase after products so that we had product in in demand categories.”

*On increasing foot traffic to their stores: “A lot of what we had to do was shift a little bit in how we think about marketing. So one, leveraging our Scorecard database … to help revive a lot of our digital and direct marketing efforts to enable us to be a lot more precise and personalized with consumers. We didn’t stop non-digital marketing either, by the way, so our direct efforts were pretty strong. We were out there in a big way with TV, but we had to recognize that the stores were closed.”

*On efforts around innovation: “We’ve had to really shift our focus towards real health and safety and that’s led to us implementing a number of preventative measures to keep our stores clean and safe. One-way aisles, sneeze guards, cleaning at checkout, sanitizing carts and baskets, and also limiting the number of guests as required by law.”

*On new initiatives: “We’ll be opening up a limited number of soccer shops and those soccer shops are more of a kind of shop within a shop concept of offering a unique and really immersive soccer experience to kind of elite or enthusiast athletes but for all shoppers in the category, and that first soccer shop is set to open up later this month … (so as) some retailers are shutting down or certainly consolidating stores, Dick’s is actually opening up new stores.”

*On how the pandemic will affect the sporting goods industry: “No one has the answer to that question. We’re certainly going to continue to do what we’ve been doing and making sure we’re in a good position to service the needs of our customers and remaining nimble and flexible and aggressive in the marketplace.”

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