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Posted by: Sportslink on 06/14/2017

Exciting, scary: de Kock on retailing today

Exciting, scary: de Kock on retailing today

The state of sports retail globally and its rapid change was top of mind when Robbert de Kock visited the Gold Coast recently.

As the President and Chief Executive of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, and president of Swiss Badminton, de Kock was here for both roles.

The Sudirman Cup - global badminton's championships - has just been fought out and the badminton general assembly saw de Kock named as a new member of the council of the World Badminton Federation.

WFSGI is based in Bern in Switzerland and he defines its role as a gatekeeper of the issues." If there are problems, the industry comes together to work on solving them.

He says "This is understood by the major brands but perhaps smaller brands do not and maybe question the importance of the federation in today's world.”

One of the vitally important issues, de Kock says, is the style of sports retail and how it is constantly changing – both in Australia and globally, with brands and manufacturers constantly re-examining the market, plus new retailers entering and expanding.

De Kock says that in the next five to ten years, the retail model will significantly change and it will vary across countries and regions.

“Showcasing is just one issue,” he says, where the customer comes in to store to try a brand and model of shoes, then goes away and orders it online.

“Retailers must get a share of this cake!,” he says

“I believe there is room to grow in developing the retail experience,” de Kock says.

"By nature, the sports store is a male-driven environment but we must all remember that women buy for their families.

"So stores need to offer more for women and families – taking much more the fashion-store, fast-fashion approach,” de Kock says.

“And the whole industry has to work on data collection, building relationships with your customers,” whether they are retail or wholesale, he says.

“It is vital to know your consumer and his buying inspiration.

“This is the key to retail success but it requires investment in new types of staff – those who are well-educated and have a strong understanding of and love of individual sports and their equipment.

Says de Kock, “One major shift in retail now reflects the fact that consumers know so much from their own online research and brand forums, so to encourage them to spend in bricks and mortar stores, retailers must up their value offering, and offer shared experiences.

"It is exciting and scary at the same time. Retail will change but how far will we and governments let it change – where do we go from a technical and human perspective?

“What do we do with the vast numbers of people already employed in this sector?

“This is one challenge of our economic times,” says de Kock.

Important manufacturing issues include personalised and flexible production, the challenges and benefits of3D printing, the ability for brands to set up smaller factories allowing shorter lead times and the benefits of proximity to market.

“The production of customised footwear , possible now right in store was absolutely not dreamed of a few years ago,” he says but

“Whatever changes, the basic idea does not – it is essential to know your consumer!”

• WFSGI is an independent association with no objective of economic character for its own gain and formed by sports and sports-inspired leisure brands, manufactyrers, suppliers, retailers, national/regional federations, industry and trade associations and all sporting goods industry-businesses, says the federation website.

It offers a wide collection of industry services, technical support and access to information, particularly the General Assembly (held in conjunction with Ispo Munich) at the beginning of the year and the World Manufacturers Forum in November.