ASICS, the true sport performance brand, opens the doors to its first U.S. flagship store featuring two brands in the ASICS family – ASICS and ASICSTIGER. The new store on the famed Fifth Avenue in New York City is designed to represent its storied heritage and mantra of “Sound Mind, Sound Body” as well as unveil a new platform for the brand to reach a wider variety of consumers.
A few months ago ASICS in conjunction with the largest campaign they’ve ever launched, #IMOVEME, opened their largest store in their network in London.
When this store opened I made it a point to discuss a problem for ASICS as a brand:
This is critical for ASICS as the company’s brand takes a hit when carried in stores such as City Gear and DTLR. Last week I could have visited one of these chains and purchased ASICS footwear for around 19.99 a pair which considerably degrades the perception of the brand. As a matter of fact that’s a lower price than even the ASICS Employee Store in Byhalia has.
The perception of ASICS has taken hit outside of the collabs the brand does with KITH, Hanon and other boutiques and influencers. Chains carrying the brand often do deep discounts in order to sell through the Lifestyle options created by ASICS. This is threefold problem:
- The retailers are relying on the old concept of retail. They honestly think their stores are dope enough to simply sit the shoes in a box and they will sell. The retailers don’t do jack to build story telling and the sales leads often have no idea of why a shoe may be color blocked a certain way. In other words the stores lack a shopping experience and it affects the brands.
- The brands do a poor job of training the retailers. It’s one thing to send a brand rep into a store or into a meeting with a buyer with a clear and concise plan for selling the product. Consider Apple and their layered approach to engaging people in an Apple Store. There is the Genius bar for problems and the Specialist has a keen knowledge of how the products work and can be found often playing with the product themselves. The atmosphere doesn’t rely on making the sale, it’s about educating the consumer. Brands are at fault.
- Retail outlets fail to have websites that work in conjunction with their in store inventory which would allow for sales outside of the location of the store. There may be a segment that would like to buy a product at retail, but when they visit sites or Google and search for products the retail sites aren’t indexed correctly which is a tech issue, but people are hiring social media people instead of people understand how search actually works.
Okay enough of that… ASICS new flagship location like the London space will carry both ASICS and Tiger capturing both fitness and lifestyle. This will give the brand two new locations in NYC with their Soho location as well. All brands are shifting to DTC and this is important because retailers carrying products must begin to improve the customer experience to, in dining speak, turn tables or kicks in this regard.