Big box retail is hurting, and not just because of COVID-19. Department and discount stores across the country are not seeing the traffic they’re accustomed to, and online shops are doing better than ever. With fewer shoppers comes fewer impulse buys, which means revenues are down, and retailers are looking for new and interesting ways to get buyers in their brick & mortar shops any way they can.

In some cases, that means sales and deals and special offers. In other cases, that means clever or memorable ad campaigns, and then there are those stores completely rewriting what it means to shop with them. Dick’s sporting goods is trying a bit of all of that, and then some, with their new “concept” stores, Dick’s Overtime and Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse.

Overtime will offer an “expansive assortment of apparel, footwear, and equipment at up to 75% off Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and other brand name products, according to the press release. A Dick’s spokesperson added that “new markdowns will be added throughout the year, keeping inventory at these outlet centers fresh for shoppers.”

Those are some pretty significant savings, but Dick’s is slashing prices even more at their Warehouse Sale locations, where popular clothing and footwear items will be discounted up to 90% off the typical retail price. These locations offer what Dick’s is describing as a “temporary pop-up style shopping experience for customers…”

The benefits of Dick’s are multiple. First, they are getting headlines thanks to the relatively unique and timely ideas in a struggling market during a downturn in the economy. Second, they now have a convenient channel through which to get rid of excess, unwanted, or unsold merchandise, so these items can actually bring in some cash. Third, it allows more customers to shop under Dick’s brand, bringing in people who may otherwise shop at a discount or second-hand stores.

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If these new customers find what they are looking for, they will come back, and the brand will have accomplished two important goals: getting rid of excess stock and widening and/or strengthening its customer base. The challenge will be to offer enough products in enough variety to entire customers who might otherwise just shop online, where price-comparisons are easy, and shipping is inexpensive or free.

It may be that these stores are a temporary idea that gives people a different option than just ordering online, or they may be a stopgap given the current uncertain nature of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, Dick’s has an opportunity here to expand their footprint and make a bigger, better impression on both their current customers and any new shoppers that these discount stores and pop-up locations introduce to their brand.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.