Hawks Customer ExperienceDavid Tann, VP, Creative Director for the Atlanta Hawks, told Loyalty360 that there has been a noticeable shift within the organization toward a stronger retail customer/fan experience.

“We see retail as a symbol of brand health,” Tann explained to Loyalty360. “If we have strong performance at retail, it is an indicator that people believe in the Hawks as a brand. That way of thinking is relatively new to the Hawks as an organization. Steve Koonin and Peter Sorckoff have really pioneered that change in thinking and cultural shift within the organization. Their support has made it really easy for me to come in ad drive the business forward. It’s not just about making more sales in our stores. It’s about having more people throughout the city of Atlanta willing to show their support for the Hawks as an organization. That’s what being “True to Atlanta” is all about. It’s important for us to invest in the city. In return, we hope that the citizens of Atlanta trust that they can be emotionally invested in our organization. When people believe in what we’re doing, the sales will come.” 

As a result, the Hawks have partnered with RetailNext Inc., a worldwide expert and market leader in retail analytics for brick-and-mortar stores. RetailNext Inc. will be the analytics solution provider for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club. The RetailNext deployment is integrated into the team’s Hawks Shop locations at Philips Arena.

Dating back to its origins in 1946 and a fixture in Atlanta since 1968, the Atlanta Hawks are pioneers in designing and delivering innovative experiences for its fans. This season marks the introduction of new design elements that tie the brand together across the complete fan environment, from team uniforms and licensed apparel all the way to the playing court at Philips Arena.

Tann talked to Loyalty360 about the team’s partnership with RetailNext.

What factors prompted this partnership and what are your goals for it from a customer/fan engagement/loyalty perspective?

We were actively investigating ways to improve the overall retail experience for our fans and customers. Our partnership with RetailNext was a part of a comprehensive overhaul of our team store, which also included an improved product assortment and merchandising strategy, new register stands, upgraded POS system, and a revised store layout. Retail Next allows us make informed decisions about our fan experience within our stores. We are able to tell if our external marketing or in-arena promotions are driving people in to the store. We can better understand traffic patterns by accurately determining the exact time during the game that people come in to the store. As well, we now have the ability to track conversion rates and have a better understanding of the level of service that our associates are providing to customers.   

How will this enhance the fan experience?

Last year, we realized that our team store wasn’t built to handle the volume that we were experiencing with all of the team’s success. We made some adjustments this year to alter the physical store layout in order to improveHawks Customer Experience flow and shorten checkout time. We are currently looking at more improvements to our infrastructure that will allow us to manage inventory better and process new product more efficiently. Our primary goal is to be able to provide better service to our fans by making their shopping experience easier, more pleasurable, and more efficient. When customers are able to check out faster in the store, it equates to more time that they can actually be in their seats to experience the game. 

How do you define Customer Experience and what does it mean to the Hawks?             

We have an entire team dedicated to Fan Experience and we think about it from the moment our consumer considers attending a Hawks game. Retail is important, but it is only a small piece of the puzzle. When someone attends a Hawks game we want every moment of that experience to be special.  We are looking at ways to improve the parking experience, navigation throughout the arena, enhancements to our app, along with constantly evaluating our staff and how we engage with funs on a personal level.

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