Sport Chek Canada’s Online Store Review – eCommerce Site Quality Factors

Sport Chek is the largest Canadian retailer of sports equipment and it is a true omnichannel innovator

This week we present the Sport Chek online store review ( to see: how well the site performs, how easy it is to make a purchase and whether the price is right. You can read all about our eCommerce sites review framework and evaluation methods in this article.

About Sport Chek

Sport Chek


Sport Chek is the largest Canadian retailer of sporting clothing and sports equipment, with stores throughout Canada (excluding Yukon). Its parent company, Forzani Group, operates stores under the following corporate and franchise banners: Sport Chek, National Sports, Sports Experts, Intersport, Atmosphere (formerly Coast Mountain Sports), Service Shop, Econosports, Nevada Bob’s Golf, and Hockey Experts

In 1999, a Sport Supercenter flagship store was opened on the top level of the Londonderry Mall, replacing an existing Walmart store. In 2014, the Londonderry Mall store relocated to Manning Town Centre, and will become a Simons.

In 2011, Canadian Tire bought Forzani for $771 million, and has since embarked on a large scale brand restructuring.

Sportswear and equipment customers still need a physical presence for most of the items. You need to try the stuff to know if it is the right fit. The sporting goods retail is very predisposed to showrooming. Luckily, SportChek understands this problem and invests in improving and enhancing the digital in-store experience.

“The sports gear and clothing chain is in the midst of transforming its presence across Canada with new mega-stores that make heavy use of gadgetry, telemetrics and sensors, all of which are designed to entice shoppers out of their homes and back into the malls.”

Sport Chek Overview

Sport Chek

“While on-line shopping might not be for everyone, over 70% of Canadians research their purchases online before physically making the purchase in a store,” comments Mark Hindman, Vice President Corporate Marketing of the Company. “So, for those that prefer the in-store experience, the information provided on the new will enable the customer to make an informed decision prior to purchase. It is about giving our consumer options and the multi-channel experience provides exactly that.”

Market opportunity

Building from the success of the brands ‘Retail Lab’ store in Toronto, the Edmonton, Alberta flagship store represents the second phase in Sport Chek’s journey in dominating the future of retail. The flagship store redefines the customer experience through industry-leading digital elements, expert advisors and a suite of in-store services that educate and inspire. The store elevates Sport Chek’s mission to ‘Inspire Canadians to Live Healthy, Active Lifestyles’ by creating a dynamic environment through unique brand partnerships that connect sport and lifestyle enthusiasts to the best sport brands in the world.

Innovative Qualities

The store features a multi-channel strategy providing custom information in an informative, accessible manner by utilizing 400+ channels. Products, visuals, and interactive community walls personify the brand values of Sport Chek and its vendors. Key features include: NFC-enabled screens 470 individual screens 80 tablets 20 large-format touch screens 80 channel custom sound system Interactive putting green Virtual footwear wall Custom community app Activity-based kiosks Climbing Treadmill The West Edmonton Sport Chek flagship store has a 30% average transaction value, much greater than the banner average. The flagship store also offers 40% more square feet of retail space compared to the two FGL Sports properties previously opened at West Edmonton Mall.


While other retailers may incorporate digital elements, in-store test features, and highly specialized product selections independently, the Sport Chek flagship store at West Edmonton Mall leads the marketplace. As part of the forward-thinking retail strategy, Sport Chek anticipates opening 10-12 flagship stores nationwide in the next five years.

You also can read our review about Sportchek’s marketing campaigns in one of our previous articles: Promotional Discounts in eCommerce Email Marketing.

Sport Chek Online Store Review

Sport Chek

Our evaluation framework takes into consideration the following five factors:

  1. Functional features of the site
  2. Cognitive factor – perceived conscious efforts to complete a purchase
  3. Emotional appeal of the site
  4. Product selection
  5. Price competitiveness
  6. Rating

All features will be rated from 1* to 5* scores, where 1 means poor and 5 is great

Functional Factor

Sport Chek

The e-commerce site will be supported with integrated on-line and off-line advertising programs that are customer-centric and innovative. Additional search engine optimization, affiliate programs, social media marketing and in-store promotional efforts will be implemented to drive traffic to the site and engage consumers. Plus, in conjunction with Sport Chek’s flyer program, products available online will be identified in all ads.

Sportchek Home Page

Sport Chek

1. eCommerce Platform Fit

Sport Chek combines the custom developed innovative storefront with the best-of-breed products from multiple vendors to deliver online shopping experience and enable digital marketing. The site uses modern front-end technologies to support mobile devices with Responsive Web Design. The user interface design utilises the touch screen friendly navigation elements.

2. The site speed performance

The site speed performance is about average for the eCommerce or the self-service business websites. The store pages have links to many third party hosted services for content, advertising and analytics that contribute to overall page load and rendering time. You may see below the Dynatrace ( performance testing report card.

3. Mobile Friendly

Sport Chek is also partnering with a new e-mail provider, e-dialogue, which will work in conjunction with the website information. This relationship will provide the ability to send “trigger” emails to consumers who have recently purchased an item online and request that they write a customer review. Further, as customer profile information is gathered, the ability to co-relate it to customers’ purchasing behaviours will result in more effective communications, and ultimately elevate the customer experience.

Sportchek uses innovative approaches for mobile ads. Yoy may see below a screenshot from Waze a mobile application that helps drivers navigate and avoid traffic. The ad appeared when I was driving in close proximity to the store. Advertising with Waze is an example of truly innovative omnichannel marketing.

4. Search

“After evaluating several top e-commerce platform providers, we were impressed with GSI’s experience and knew right away that it was the best fit to build our next-generation e-commerce site and reach our customers in a meaningful way,” comments John Hould, SVP of E-Commerce of the Company. “Partnering with GSI will enable Sport Chek to enhance our brand and cross-channel experience for our shoppers.”

The site search comes with the interactive search filters which are easy to navigate and are very intuitive. The only downside is that it takes a big portion of the screen. The smart auto suggestions feature when typing is very useful.

5. Real-Time Inventory

The e-commerce site technology, fulfillment services, and customer care call center will be handled by GSI Commerce Inc. “We are proud to add Forzani as an e-commerce client and look forward to supporting the Web store by providing a great consumer experience for Canadian online shoppers by leveraging our newly opened fulfillment center and call center in Toronto,” said Damon Mintzer, executive vice president of sales for GSI. “Our deep expertise in delivering e-commerce solutions for direct-to-consumer businesses was critical to the successful launch of”

Inventory information is a basic feature with simple in stock and out of stock messaging. You are able to check the nearest store but the site does not guarantee availability.

Cognitive Factor

Sport Chek

A retail website must be easy to navigate and help visitors find relevant information quickly. Knowing your audience is the key to creating an effective site by combining the right elements that appeal to your shoppers.

Sport Chek will launch a newly designed e-commerce website. Sport Chek customers across Canada can now access thousands of styles around the clock through an additional on-line sales channel. The new e-commerce site will bring together merchandise from virtually all categories presently available today under the Sport Chek brand, targeting an impressive catalogue selection of 5000 styles and colours. Plus, with the new website comes a new clean and sleek look, new content, new email strategy, a more interactive flyer and greater customer interaction.

The site is multi-functional allowing online shoppers the ability to zoom in/out, view products in alternate views and colors, create and send wish lists, and search store locations. Additional services include customer product rating integration, improved navigation, including parametric navigation (search by brand, price, gender and size) and a new user-friendly design that will help customers find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Technology Supports Technology

Sport Chek

Keith Waldbillig is the general manager and one of the founding partners of Milltech Millwork. The company specializes in complicated architectural millwork and works with clients throughout Canada and the United States. Its portfolio includes projects ranging in size from a single custom law office to Rogers Place, the Edmonton Oilers’ new NHL arena. Designed for multi-use and premium experience, the prestigious project is the first LEED-silver certified facility of its kind in Canada and received the ENR Global Best Projects Award of Merit, Sports/Entertainment, in 2017, among other accolades.

Milltech’s 85,000 square-foot facility is equipped for flexibility, primarily with Homag machinery. “We have CNC routers and case clamps. Beam saws and edgebanders. We have two of everything, so we have redundancy,” Waldbillig said. “It makes us more competitive and expands our offering.”

A press, guillotine and finishing department allow Milltech to lay up and stitch custom veneer panels. For countertops, the company has in-house v-grooving and solid surface fabrication equipment. Translucent resin panel processing and LED lighting capabilities round out Milltech’s repertoire.

Yet what brings in the bid invitations is Milltech’s engineering prowess, which exceeds its fabrication capabilities.

“We can take something as simple as a napkin sketch and draw all the 3D CAD work and engineering using Inventor software by AutoDesk. It was originally developed for metalworking. When we are done with the overall design, it gives us a cut-list and generates G-code for all the CNC parts for our millwork, even for compound curves or radial cuts.

“It integrates into our ERP system. Then the data for the same design goes to all the relevant trades on the project. No additional engineering necessary.” Waldbillig said. “We send blown-apart drawings for the installers, so when the parts come together on the job site, everything comes together precisely.”


Sport Chek

Milltech’s engineering is a differentiator, but alone it is not enough to make the company immune to the threats of offshore competition, which also invests in similar equipment and can process the same programming.

“With 35 years in the industry, you learn how to build partnerships,” Jones said. “For Sport Chek, we do the project management, design development and code compliance. Material specifications come from the client, but we work with Milltech and their distributors to refine them to ensure the right material is used for each application.

“Sustainability is a big driver in this segment now. Lots of malls want materials to be Greenguard certified at the very least. It is also a fast-track market, so availability is key. We depend on our distributors to make sure our specifications meet those demands.”

Durability is always a factor in a high-traffic retail environment, and even more so in one designed to be interactive, like the Sport Chek flagship store at Yorkdale. HPL, phenolic-backed metallic HPL and solid surface are used widely throughout the displays and POS pods. Cabinetry is built from TFL. Rounded bulkheads serving as wayfinding devices are made from painted and hollowed out MDF.

The same basic palette used in the Yorkdale store carries over to all of Sport Chek’s redesigns, though sometimes the criteria and timeline vary based on location.

“We work with Upper Canada Forest Products, Formations and Richelieu to deliver materials that fit the design and comply with LEED, Greenguard or whatever a project requires. If anything happens during production or installation, they have replacements to us quickly. Having people willing to take some of the headache off your plate is a big boon in this industry. Speed to market gives us an advantages over foreign competition.”

Retail is a dynamic marketplace, forcing store brands to reinvent the shopping experience. Meeting the demands of continually evolving design concepts requires a strong interdependency between engineering/design and manufacturing.

Frequently Asked Question Sport Chek

Sport Chek

Where can I find more information about an item?

If you would like more information about an item you see on, simply click on the item to go to the Product Details The Product Details page will provide you with detailed information to help you learn more about the product.

How do I change or cancel my order?

If all or part of your order is cancelled, you will receive an order update notification via email. You will only be billed for items that have succesfully shipped. Once all or part of an order is cancelled, it cannot be reprocessed and a new order must be submitted again for different product/s. We do not accept backorders for products that have become unavailable.

What should I do if I received the wrong item?

If we shipped you the wrong item, please contact our Online Customer Service Department immediately at 1-877-977-2435. It is important that you contact us before returning your item, so that we may assist you with return shipping charges. If you do not contact us prior to shipping the item back to us, you are responsible for all return shipping charges.

What is your online return policy?

Sport Chek gives a 30 day return policy on any items you’re unhappy with. You’ll just need to use the returns portal and then the brand will provide you with a shipping label. Once they receive and process your return, it may take up to 14 days to refund the payment onto your credit card.

How do I view the status of my order?

For the easiest and fastest way to get the most current information about your order, check the status of your order by visiting our Order Tracking page. Please note that order information may not appear on in your Order History for up to 1 hour after the order has been submitted.

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