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Decathlon, A French Success Story: 3 Marketing Lessons

Decathlon definitely stands out in the sporting goods market. With reasonable pricing, they aim to make sports (and the benefits of sports!) accessible to everyone. Their wide-range of sports products also make it possible for everyone to find the sports most suitable for themselves. For these simple but big reasons, we certainly owe Decathlon some of our attention. 


Some people have been paying attention to Decathlon’s marketing strategy. Without a doubt, Decathlon’s relatively recent success has left many wondering what it has been doing correctly. 


Well, here’s what Decathlon has been nailing, which is quite plain to see. In this short read, we give you 3 fabulous marketing lessons from French Sports Giant Decathlon.


3 Fabulous Marketing Lessons from French Sports Giant Decathlon


1.Decathlon’s Massive Online Presence 

decathlon partnered with Lazada in Malaysia, as seen on this Lazada webpage

With 1,647 stores in 1000 cities across the globe as of January 2020, it is a fact that Decathlon has claimed its place on many soils but just like any other business today, you’ve got to have a big online presence: In addition to including very specific online video advertisements tailored to various sports types in their digital marketing strategy, Decathlon makes strategic partnerships related specifically to online marketing in each country they’re in. For example, in Malaysia, Decathlon has been partnering with Lazada to boost its digital presence and of course, to make sporting goods even more accessible to the Malaysian public. 


In addition to their online partnerships, Decathlon partners with other famous brands such as Artengo, Quechua, Kalenji, and Geologic.



2.Decathlon’s Gift of Sports Experiences

decathlon experiences marketing

Did you know that at the Decathlon Orchard branch in Singapore, customers are given the chance to experience virtual reality camping in a virtual outdoor environment? In addition to their virtual reality goggles, Decathlon has also been thoughtful towards the ease of shoppers, ensuring the possibility of online purchasing and in-store pick-up, which are available both in Malaysia and Singapore. Technology aside, a key aspect of any in-store experience is the employees. Decathlon’s employees take the initiative to talk to people about sports and even in countries where customer experience is generally known to be not-so-good, Decathlon’s employees there do not hesitate to be helpful when necessary.


Besides that, Decathlon sets up in-store spaces for sports classes to take place, providing yet another fantastic customer experience. Malaysians can join weekly Muay Thai classes for free at Decathlon Shah Alam and Singaporeans can join Zumba fitness classes. Even if you don’t join those classes, you could at least play ping pong in-store.


In Malaysia, WhatsApp groups have also been formed specifically for Decathlon customers who wish to run or play futsal together once a week, as encouraged by Decathlon. By putting up QR codes across their store aisles, customers are encouraged not only to join an empowering way of living but a brand community that will have them remain loyal to Decathlon’s business. 


3.Decathlon’s Flexibility

decathlon marketing

Under Decathlon’s “Easy payment plan”, you’re allowed to pay in installments over the course of 12 months, applicable to in-store purchases, to products priced at over 999 MYR, and temporarily, only with UOB credit cards. By being flexible, Decathlon remains true to its word when it says it’s all about making sports more accessible to everyone, and there’s nothing better than when a brand sticks to what it promises its target audience (customers trust you and they choose you time and time again). 


What’s more, most products come with a 365-day return policy, which means they give customers a whole year to exchange what they’ve bought, as long as the item does not involve hygienic use.


They’re flexible when it comes to their warranty too. Bicycles bought at Decathlon are given a lifetime warranty as long as you keep your receipts, again showing how being flexible can earn you a place in customers’ hearts, and in the end, Decathlon wins.



In the spirit of their “Sport for all, All for sport” tagline, Decathlon inspires everyone to become a customer, and sure, people don’t mind becoming their customers not only due to their lower prices but their flexibility during and post-purchase, online shopping ease, and their invitation for you to join their various tight-knit sports communities. Three takeaways, all yours.


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