Learn how Decathlon coped with the pandemic and its growth plans for the Mexican market

21, 2021

8 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Two months ago Miguel Ángel Sánchez Candón became the new CEO of Decathlon in Mexico, where he has an ambitious growth plan with the aim of promoting the democratization of sport and consolidating the company as a trusted brand in its segment.

What is your strategy? Strengthen the omnichannel experience so that consumers can be close to the brand through different points of contact. “We expect several points of sale this year and the one that comes with a different typology. There may be small stores of 3,000 or 4,000 square meters, we will strengthen the development of digital solutions such as the e-commerce strategy and alliances with companies installed in Mexico, which will give the Mexican the possibility of choosing the best time and moment to enjoy their products ”, says the manager.

In an interview with Entrepreneur , Miguel Ángel shared with us how, despite the closure of physical sales during the contingency, the brand found in digital sales the necessary tool that allowed not only to sustain total expenses and maintain the workforce of more than 370 employees, but provided the opportunity to generate new sources of employment, thanks to the capital increase generated by online sales.

Sales through Decathlon México’s electronic platforms during 2020 doubled the preference of previous years and laid the foundations for the strengthening of what today occupies 7.16% of the brand’s total sales.

The pandemic was a trigger for e-commerce in general and in the case of Decathlon it was no exception. “I usually say that crises are opportunities and it has also allowed us to know how to adapt,” he says. The plan for this year is to drive the omnichannel experience for the customer.

How will they do it? Miguel Ángel says that to develop this experience one of the fundamental points is to have adequate logistics to ensure that deliveries are adapted to the client’s needs. “It is fundamental and one of the points that we continue to develop in 2021. We have alliances with local companies that allow us to have fast deliveries or through new channels. We are no longer just talking about Decathlon’s e-commerce, but about a whole computer support that allows us to have a great solidity and a more fluid and winning experience ”.

It is for this reason that the growth plan does not focus on opening stores, but on having points of contact. Currently the brand has 12 units in the country distributed in the cities of Monterrey, Guadalajara, Querétaro, Mérida, CDMX, Torreón, Aguascalientes and the state of Mexico.

Miguel Ángel Sánchez Candón, CEO Decathlon México (right). Photo: Courtesy

Solve customer needs

Miguel Ángel recognizes that in the last year the COVID-19 pandemic has caused important changes in the consumer. Confinement led him to evolve towards sports that are performed at home. “Fitness has been very impacted and there has been a growth in the demand for all textile products [clothing] and machines to exercise at home.”

The practice of yoga and crossfit has increased and as restrictions on activities have been lifted, there has been an increase in the practice of sports that allow being in contact with nature, such as cycling or discovering the mountains .

“This year the pandemic begins little by little to be more controlled and there is greater movement on the part of Mexicans; There are again team sports, such as soccer and a certain normality returns in the historical sports of the spring season such as swimming or surfing ”, explains the CEO of Decathlon.

“It is clear to us that sport must be considered an essential activity. It is something that helps to eliminate mental and physical stress, to activate you and to be in good shape. We are talking about health that even in Spain has validated it as an essential activity. It is something very important and it will continue to advance. In Mexico we try to contribute a community that is going to grow, a community of athletes that explains the good values of sport in health ”, he insists.

It is for this reason that they strengthened their analysis of the market and customer needs, which will help them to adapt even more to the local market, which is why it is expected that in the short term it can cover a greater market share and make sport accessible. to the largest number of Mexicans.

How can they do it? Thanks to the fact that they develop innovative, eco-designed and high quality products but always maintaining affordable prices due to their business model in which they design, produce and market sporting goods.

Currently, the French company offers products for 65 sports disciplines ranging from mountaineering to swimming, adding a total of 80 brands, including Quechua, Simond, Kalenji, Btwin, Domyos and Nabaiji.

“Historically, mountain sports have worked better with our Quechua brand, which is for sports that have a very good acceptance in all countries and in Mexico also due to our quality and price. They are products of excellent quality, innovative and safe and can be as simple as a backpack or tent ”, explains the manager.

The Decathlon experience

The new CEO of Decathlon in Mexico says that, although the brand’s share in the Mexican market is still small, they have very interesting differentiators. For example, in addition to product development in different sports disciplines, the 30 days a customer has to test their products and be 100% satisfied or make a return.

Likewise, the guarantees of two, five and up to 10 years on some equipment such as mountain backpacks or even the lifetime guarantee on bicycle frames

When I speak of Decatlhon I speak of athletes, and we try to conquer athletes and that relationship that we have had with them for 44 years since the brand was created in France. We are in more than 60 countries and five continents, we are fortunate to be an integrated company, therefore, we design, produce and distribute products, which allows us to control the entire value chain. That is why the accessibility of sport is a great differentiation: democratizing sport ”, he comments.

Another important point is the commitment to protect the planet. “It is in our DNA and we have a very strong commitment to our design team on more than 3,000 products to design them. For example, the Quechua fleeces are 75% made of recycled material. By 2026 our commitment is to reduce and offset our impact on our carbon footprint by 40% ”.

Miguel Ángel became the CEO of the brand for Mexico after 18 years of experience in the firm and after working in countries such as Bulgaria, Spain or India. Regarding this new responsibility, he assures that he feels very lucky and fully committed to helping Mexican society to rediscover the benefits of sport and to make Decathlon a trusted brand for the country.

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