What did I do on my long weekend? Stand in a line for SportChek Stock yards grand opening sale.
Standing in line with a bunch of strangers isn’t my ideal Saturday off, but a pair of $125 shoes for $45, yes please; or at least that was the plan…
With a $1,000 gift card up for grabs, the line started at 9pm and the winners left with 7 stuffed bags of sporting goods and TONS of socks. For 3 college age kids with their fold up chairs; the $80/hr in loot they walked out with was likely well worth the wait. Waking up a bit lazily on the long weekend I was about number 120 in line at 0830, which I was OK with. One gift card with a minimum value of $25 each, one card per household, I still had a shot of saving $25 extra off the 50% shoes I wanted.
Being in line got me thinking;
“Why aren’t all the stores in the plaza maximizing the opportunity SportChek is giving them!?”
By the time 10am rolled around, there were literally 300+ people in line. A major local radio station was there chatting up the crowd and giving live plugs for the grand opening over the airwaves, and the line kept growing. The parking lot was baron, except for SportChek customers.
StockYards is a new plaza with new stores opening every week and most people don’t even know which stores are open yet, except for sandwich boards on the sidewalk. I feel a lot of the Stockyards tenants missed a big opportunity to connect with their community. After standing in line for hours, people might need coffee from Second Cup tucked around the corner, or Mechies frozen yogurt to help cool off. With Chipotle and Hero Burger “Coming Soon” – this was a great chance to tell the neighbourhood “Hey, we’re coming here’s a coupon for when we’re open!” and get the crowd SportChek brought to their doorstep to become their customers. (Personally I would have loved it if Menchies came around with trays of those little sample sized 1oz yogurt cups, and a coupon… but that’s just me)
This was an eye opener to always be aware of your surroundings. It’s a principle as true in business as it was in the Marines. If there’s an opportunity, take it. SportChek sent out 50,000 flyers within a 5km radius of the store announcing their Grand Opening creating a perfect marketing opportunity for the plaza’s other vendors, many of whom are franchisees and may have smaller marketing budgets. It doesn’t matter what size business you manage, you always need to focus on being innovative with your marketing, customer service, pricing and products to get to the front of the line of competitors in a customer’s head.
A great example of maximizing a marketing opportunity came for IKEA in Toronto earlier this year. During Game 2 of the Raptors NBA playoff win, just about every Canadian news agency captured a photo or video of Raptors’ Global Ambassador Drake lint rolling his pants during the game. The next day, Ikea announced they would be outside the arena handing out lint rollers for the following home game. Ikea’s publicity stunt prompted an official response from the Raptors stating they were not in relationship with Ikea. What they didn’t say, was that Drake’s lint rolling was setting the stage to hand out promotional OVO / Bounce branded lint rollers in the 416 section at Game 5 #nolint. Ikea’s quick response maximized an opportunity Drake dropped in their lap and stole the show before the official promo was announced. (Photo credit – Toronto Raptors Twitter) Read the Toronto Star’s coverage of the lint rolling here.
Back to SportChek – would you believe the gift cards ended two people in front of me! Their marketing worked and I still ended up getting the shoes. More importantly, I wrote most of this blog while in line because I realized a valuable lesson:
Always push to innovate by maximizing every opportunity your competition, friendly or otherwise drops in your lap.