By Peter Saunders
Toronto-based Shikatani Lacroix Design (SLD) was commissioned in 2014 by Adidas’ golf apparel division to create ‘digital experiences’ for its retail merchandising displays across Canada. By incorporating digital signage into its store shelf presence, Adidas sought to better engage and excite customers, heighten brand affinity and increase sales.
Giving merchandising a Boost
Founded in 1949 and based in Germany, Adidas has become the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest in the world, with nearly $20 billion in sales in 2014. Its brand is associated with innovative, state-of-the-art equipment for Olympic athletes and sports clubs around the globe. One example is the company’s Boost foam capsule technology, which it recently added to the heels of golf shoes for increased comfort and energy return.
Adidas recognized digital signage as an avenue for explaining this feature to customers, without relying on retailers’ floor staff to do so, and differentiating its products from its competitors’ in the golf market.
“We worked directly with Adidas to define their challenges and objectives at retail in the golf category,” says Marcos Terenzio, director of digital creative experiences for SLD. “They wanted to stand out at the shelves by showcasing their innovative technology in a simple way for consumers, without trying to change their browsing and shopping behaviour. The idea was to own the at-purchase moment with an immersive experience.”
SLD worked with liquid crystal display (LCD) vendor LG Canada and Scala digital signage software provider Dot2Dot Communications, both also based in Toronto, to develop interactive systems to highlight Adidas’ golf product lines. They brainstormed ways to incorporate wireless ‘beacon’ communications and gesture-based interactivity, among other possibilities, and piloted a series of retail fixtures in October 2014 at the annual Digital Trends Showcase (DTS).
“We started to show our proof-of-concept at DTS, where Golf Town and other retailers were represented,” Terenzio explains. “We were able to strengthen our relationship with them by showing our Adidas digital signage content and strategy in a relevant context.”
Finalizing the system
In the end, SLD and Adidas settled on two modular shelf display formats. The first is secured to a slat or grid wall and measures 2.1 x 1.2 m (7 x 4 ft), while the second uses casters (i.e. wheels) for mobility and measures 2.1 x 0.9 m (7 x 3 ft). The shoes sit on four platforms, illuminated by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and equipped with light sensors, such that when the shoes are lifted, specific digital signage content is triggered on a 1-m (42-in.) commercial-grade LCD. Supplementary shelves highlight other available shoe colours.
“Adidas really gravitated to simple, two-way interaction based on customers lifting, holding and looking at the products,” says Terenzio. “This way, they can gain additional details and compare shoes side-to-side. Meanwhile, the whole display promotes Boost technology by featuring pro golfers who use it. We can even update the content each time they win on their tours.”
As the displays leverage existing broadcast, print and technical content about Boost technology, Terenzio explains, customers do not simply see a ‘call to action’ to do further research online, but instead are given the information they need for a purchasing decision. And taking advantage of the dynamic nature of digital signage, SLD used three-dimensional (3-D) ‘particle engine’ software to turn still graphics of Boost foam particles into lively animation, along with transitions, video and short messages.
Ready for rollout
SLD also worked with Adidas to ensure consistency was maintained across various shelf units, as they would be installed in a variety of retail environments, ranging from corporate Adidas stores to Golf Town locations where many competing brands are represented. With this in mind, the fixtures feature recognizable but ‘neutral’ Adidas merchandising elements, leaving the task of standing out to the interactive digital signage.
“They’re also not campaign-specific,” says Terenzio. “They can be adapted and updated with new products and can conform to different store space restrictions. They can be used for both temporary and permanent merchandising.”
The initial phase of the rollout spanned eight locations across Canada: University Golf Club in Vancouver, Golf Town stores in Calgary and Burlington, Ont., Glen Abbey Golf Club’s TaylorMade Performance Lab in Oakville, Ont., Islington Golf Club in Toronto and Adidas’ own corporate store in Woodbridge, Ont., performance store in Toronto and outlet store in Ottawa.
“There was a short turnaround on this project, to aggressively target the 2015 golf season as soon as the weather got nice,” Terenzio explains. “With this strategic, smaller-scale rollout to start, Adidas will be able to compare sales lift against other stores. So far, they’re getting an extremely positive reaction and lots of traction. In some cases, the store staff has embraced them as a sales tool. This is increasing exposure for Adidas’ other, non-golf brands, which could use a similar strategy in the future.”
With files from SLD. For more information, visit www.sld.com.