Sail: Great Store, Crappy Network

November 27, 2012 by Dave Haynes

A Quebec-based, outdoor-oriented retail chain called Sail recently jumped the Ontario border and started opening stores in the Toronto area, including one near me. The stores are competing with Mountain Equipment Coop, and emulating US chains like REI.

I really like the place, and all the stuff to look over, and it’s pretty nicely designed (if a little utilitarian and a LOT orange). But what really doesn’t work is the digital sign network someone has half-heartedly schemed into the store.

The few screens in place are located way up at basketball backboard height, too small to be noticed, and looping DVDs of outdoor-sy activities like boarding and climbing. On Saturday, when we were in, the DVD was on the menu the whole time we were in there.

There are signs every 10 feet, it seems, telling shoppers everything is seemingly 30 feet off, but nothing supporting the brands (some with nice marketing budgets like North Face and Columbia).

The simple lesson for retailers: if you don’t have a plan and a proper capital or creative budget, and someone who’s going to spend more than a micro-second thinking about this stuff, forget the screens on the walls. Not worth the bother.

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