New cutting-edge Sports Chek at WEM combines media with brick and mortar shopping

Good Sunday morning folks! Today I talked about a few exciting new store openings at West Edmonton Mall.

Sport Chek opened its new shiny digs last Friday, to be followed up by its media day this Wednesday with more information. The more than 80,000 sq. ft. store, three times the size of the previous one, is on the second floor, off the north-east corner of the Ice Palace.

Although it’s the second such store in Canada, the first being a much smaller retail concept experiment in Toronto, the sprawling complex is loaded with smart retail design and customer flow as well as hundreds of screens, of all sizes, provided by Samsung Canada, that feed you with a multimedia experience as you shop the old fashioned way.

The spacious outdoor experience Atmosphere at Sport Chek’s second floor. Steve Makris

Checking out running shoes? A vertical screen in the middle of the wall display is pumping action images to get your adrenaline flowing. Special glass boxes feature shoes with changing see thru screen information. Just walking around the wide aisles and roomy displays with light and sound, made these tired knees want to be a skier, golfer and mountaineer all over again.

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I’ll settle for new camping gear in the flashy second floor Atmosphere set against natural wood accents and a pebble-like floor in the camping section.

Brand names seen through transparent screened glass box displays. Steve Makris

Think of it as getting the best of an online store on your screen, only in real life panorama mode with things you can touch, try on and purchase. To me it’s akin to walking into a candy shop.

The feel good ambiance is enhanced by two huge natural skylights, the result of the store taking up what used to be the second floor wide walkway over part of the Gourmet Court. Impressive as the Sport Chek entrance is, it gets better. Keep walking to the new hi-tech ski section, awesome mountain bike section and golf heaven and off course…ultra-friendly well-trained staff, numbering more than 300.

Hundreds of Samsung screens pump the right video around every display. Steve Makris

Will this obviously carefully planned tier one shopping experience help reverse the retail shopping blues industry? Blending brick and mortar with online media experience might be the new way to go, having something for everyone, from Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and upcoming Gen Z.

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All encouraging when the most common reaction from eye-gawking shoppers was “this is huge!”

Tune in for more news soon on The Samsung Experience Store at WEM, located across the Apple Store, scheduled to open mid-February. That should be fun.

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