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Decathlon App

A much awaited comeback of a key asset for Decathlon’s relationship with its customer base

stylescape Decathlon app
Duration:12 months (ongoing)
Client:Decathlon (Spain)
#experience #app #ecommerce #segmentation

A much awaited comeback of a key asset for Decathlon’s relationship with its customer base

Decathlon is averse to low-rating products in their product catalogue, less than four out of five stars and you know that product is doomed. With their previous app, though, they were in uncharted territory. Should they get rid of their 2.6⭐ app? But then, what?

Well, they finally did just that in January 2019 only to discover that people demanded some app. The question chez Decathlon was: OK, but what app exactly? Exactly the same question we got from Marta Cora, the indisputable chief of “all things app” at Decathlon. It came short of a briefing, one could say, but in turn that allowed us to be more creative and devise a multi-pronged approach.

user persona for decathlon app, by kaleidos

To ecommerce or not to ecommerce

Surely, the most obvious app for a sports megastore company such as Decathlon would be an e-commerce one so you can enjoy an online store on your smartphone. However, Decathlon didn’t want to go for the obvious route if it didn’t significantly contribute to their customer experience.

Many other approaches were analysed. In-store experience, personalized content and communication, etc, but in the end, the ecommerce path was chosen, with one condition. It had to really matter.

For that, Decathlon worked with us in two major elements. App’s ecommerce funnel should bring more net sales to the game and the user should enjoy a relevant communication experience at all times (this is one of Decathlon’s so called promises).

Carefully devised metrics and in-app workflows were developed as well as a unique visual design that would shout Decathlon through its minimalistic yet brand-heavy UI. In Visual Designer Ester Latorre words “there is no way you can mistake Decathlon’s app with another”.

A set of mobile screens with some functionalities

The launch was a complete success

When Decathlon was able to reopen their stores after COVID-19 lockdown in Spring 2020, they also launched the app through all their media. It enjoyed a tremendous welcome, good reviews were all over the place and feedback was always immediately taken care of, to the point that it had an impact on the short-term roadmap.

Have you heard the expression “launching a product is not the end, it’s actually the beginning”? That’s exactly what happened. Decathlon listened to people’s comments, saw through the metrics and performed selected A/B tests before rolling out “final” features. Some improvements around size selection, search capabilities and in-store actions came directly from collected feedback from active users.

But the launch and continued development has also had some other impacts beyond the app itself. The existing Decathlon web, which operates in a completely independent way, might end up extracting some value out of the app’s infrastructure or concept.

Real 5 star reviews for Decathlon app

The technology behind it all

Two main pieces of technology were required for this app to run smoothly and enjoy fast-paced development. A middleware to persist some app data and interface with dozens of internal Decathlon APIs and a hybrid mobile technology “code once, deploy both on Android and iOS”.

The middleware, which interfaces as a REST API, uses Micronaut framework with Java11 as well as PostgreSQL/Hibernate and Redis. The app frontend uses VueJS framework with NativeScript. It also contains a bit of TypeScript and we use Webpack and Sass.

Relevant third party products and services are Algolia and Firebase.

Finally, test coverage obsession as well as complete continuous integration/continuous deployment govern environments transition during the entire development life-cycle.

Another set of mobile screens with some functionalities

The main features

At the time of writing of this case study, there are already plenty of cool features and it’s tough to select just a few, but here they are:

  • Tailor-made browsing: your user profile really counts to the app. You get the regular “I want to browse freely option” but after you’ve input some data about you, Decathlon app adds a whole additional layer of filtered content, meant for you. This makes the app extremely functional while still enabling on-demand discoverability.
  • Stock alert: there has to be a way to sort out frustration when a certain product is out of stock. The app will allow you to add anything to your stock alerts list and be notified instantly when it’s readily available.
  • Shipment tracking and fidelity card: You can know everything about your orders and shipments and see how your fidelity rewards keep mounting and the options to redeem them right away.
  • Supercool search: whether it’s voice enabled, barcode scanning or even taking a picture of the product, the app encourages you to make sure you find that item you know it should be there, somewhere, but you prefer the easy shortcut.

barcode search decathlon app

The path from here...

Decathlon is very aware that the COVID-19 situation is going to require a different approach to their app. For starters, there is going to be an increased pressure on how the app delivers a richer experience for existing users but also new ones opting for this medium.

Moreover, picturing the app as its own special store means that it has to attract more customers or more business, like a dedicated channel of sorts. The digital world will allow Decathlon to explore new possibilities and keep the ones that both resonate with their customer base and Decathlon’s mission.

This means that future app releases will surely stand out in terms on innovative value, some of which will blend in with in-store or physical interaction while others will rely purely on a virtual environment.

The handover

As this is an ongoing project, there hasn’t been any handover and it is not expected to occur prior to summer 2021. When the time comes, we will update this case study.

Visit Decathlon App Website
We learned that...As much as any megastore as Decathlon would like to explore uncharted territory, the e-commerce path is where everything starts.
One key takeaway was...The app middleware had to be conceived in a way that could eventually serve other purposes, not just the app.
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