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Case Study: Why JD Sports stores remain vital as the retailer expands its multichannel service

JD Sports has moved upmarket and developed its multichannel approach to retail – while growing sales at the same time.

The retailer, ranked Leading in RXUK Top500 research, is at the heart of a wider JD Group that turned in a 47% rise in sales in the first half of its 2018/19 financial year, including a 10% rise in like-for-like UK sales. Pre-tax profits were also 30% up on the previous year.

At the time, JD Sports executive chairman, Peter Cowgill, said improved conversion rates reflected “consumers’ increasingly positive reaction to our elevated multichannel proposition, where a unique and constantly evolving sports and fashion premium brand is presented in a vibrant retail theatre with innovative digital technology.”

The JD Group says that JD Sports’ “elevated multichannel” approach is attracting more premium brands to sell in its stores, which in turn encourages shoppers to visit. That means, it says, that its network of shops – the group has more than 2,000 sports fashion stores around the world – will remain as least as important as they are now.

Those shops sit firmly in a multichannel context. JD sells online in markets around the world, offering its wares in local languages and currencies, while digital is firmly embedded in its stores. In-store digital devices such as kiosks, web tills and iPads all widen the choice for customers visiting its stores. Visitors can use them to see the full JD Sports range on the website and see where items are held.

The in-store experience extends to the JD mobile app – where users have the option of listening to JDX Radio from wherever they are. Shoppers can search the app for up-to-the-minute brand news. They can view the latest product arrivals from premium brands and can use live search to prompt an automatic list of search queries that are trending at that moment. Push notifications offer information on sales and delivery offers. Customers can only sign up to JD’s unlimited delivery service from within the app. Meanwhile, fast, filter-led navigation is designed to help customers narrow down their search for a product, by size, colour, collection or price, while 360 spin images and product videos enable them to see items up close. Users can scan barcodes for more information or track their orders within the app.

Looking ahead, multichannel is set to remain a focus for JD Sports as it continues to develop its customer experience and to expand its multichannel services into new markets. Its international business will be supported by a new warehouse that’s expected to open this year in Belgium to supply European markets in the wake of Brexit.

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