Running and staying active is a big part of my life, so it’s worth investing in quality gear; which of course includes shoes. Over the past few years I’ve either purchased shoes online or gone to a big-box retailer so I could have a wide variety to choose from. So many of my runner friends have been raving about Road Runner Sports and telling me for quite some time that it is the best place to get running shoes.
Finally, last month, I went for my first visit. Shortly after walking in I had a feeling this would be my new go-to shop for running shoes.
Within moments of entering the store I was warmly greeted by several staff members. They did a great job of offering assistance but also allowing me space to look around and figure out how I wanted to proceed. When I was ready, so were they. A staff member kindly listened to what I was hoping to find and they introduced me to one of their fellow team members who would be guiding me through the shopping experience. I call it a “shopping experience” because it was more than just a transaction, and this is a big reason why I’ll definitely be going back.
The employees do more than retrieve different size shoes from their inventory storage. They spent time to ask about my specific activities and goals. They have a lot of modern tech equipment that scanned and measured my feet to make sure I get the right shoe for my body type. They even video record my legs running on a treadmill to watch the positioning of my feet and ankles.
All of these factors go into the type of shoes they recommend. Then, I’m given anywhere from 6-10 different types and styles of shoes to try on and roam around the store. There’s never any rush. Even when I started feeling guilty for taking so long I was assured this is what they wanted me to do, and their goal was to make sure I was 100% happy with my choice.
By the time I was done and ready to purchase, I had no doubt these were the shoes for me. The only lingering question I had was… why did it take me so long to try this place? My friends were suggesting I go for a long time, and I fully trust their opinion. But for whatever reason I simply didn’t. I had the word-of-mouth recommendation from trustworthy sources, I knew about the added value of customer service and the shoe fitting process. I seemingly had all the information I needed, but still it took me a while to find the motivation.
As a customer experience and brand development professional, I can’t help but sit back and consider how this experience reflects the overall challenge brands are facing today. It’s no longer simply about informing customers, we have to INSPIRE them. This is the challenge we face and this is the challenge we’re excited to take on.
Since that visit to Road Runner Sports I keep asking myself, “What could that brand have done to motivate me to visit sooner?” These types of questions drive me to further explore consumer behavior, purchase decision drivers and brand perception. By using data-driven insights as a guide I know I’m on the right track, so it’s just a matter of pushing further and digging deeper.
If you’ve been thinking about giving Road Runner Sports a try, go for it. They have my full support. I’m now a brand advocate and I think you’ll be as well.