TECHNOLOGY

French sporting goods retailer Decathlon is blending the brick-and-mortar experience with iPhones as it looks to make a splash with its first full-fledged U.S. store.

The value-priced, vertically-integrated retailer, which operates some 1,500 locations in 49 countries, has opened its second U.S. location, a 47,000-sq. ft. “experiential retail center” in an old Toys “R” Us space in the San Francisco suburb of Emeryville. It features Decathlon’s exclusive lineup of private brands and covers nearly every very conceivable sport and outdoor and fitness category, from golf and running to snorkeling and fishing. (In March 2018, Decathlon opened a 8,313-sq.-ft. “lab” store in San Francisco.)

As part of Decathlon’s next-generation brick-and-mortar efforts, the retailer runs store operations in its Emeryville location via iPhones. This includes activities such as payments, clienteling, inventory management, fulfillment, and order routing. Chain Store Age recently took a live interactive tour of the store via video link.

Each of the store’s 40 associates is equipped with a corporate iPhone running the NewStore omnichannel platform, which includes an integrated, cloud-based order management system and mobile POS solution. One of the most interesting aspects of the store environment are mobile checkout stations.

Rather than wait in line at a fixed POS terminal, customers can approach any store associate when they are ready to make a purchase. The associate can place a customer’s item or entire shopping cart inside a mobile checkout station, which is equipped with an internal RFID scanner that…