Decathlon tests a Netflix model

Launched in Belgium and other countries, this subscription allows customers without having to buy references from the store for a subscription of 20 euros to 80 euros per month depending on the value of the rented product.

The subscription model, whether it’s for listening to music, watching movies or shopping, is thriving, especially driven by the success of streaming giants like Netflix.

More and more sectors are using it as a new distribution channel. Like fashion, tourism, cars and maybe even sporting goods with the Decathlon store chain.

The Mulliez Galaxy’s subsidiary has been testing the concept for four months in some of its stores, particularly in Belgium.

The families were purposeful

The principle is simple: allow customers to use, without buying, certain references from the store for a subscription of 20 euros to 80 euros per month depending on the value of the rented product.

Namely: 20 euros for products not exceeding a total of 400 euros, 40 euros for a value of 1000 euros and 80 euros for a maximum value of 2000 euros.

During subscription periods, it is always possible to exchange / replace rented items, as long as you stay within the limits of the monthly ceiling. The use must be made “like a good father”, as the repair of the products is the responsibility of the tenants.

“We talked to families with children because they regularly want to discover and practice new sports. They also grow up and they have to change equipment. And families sometimes have activities together where everyone has to have their own equipment,” Luc explains. Teerlinck, innovation and business model transformation manager at Decathlon during an event hosted by the specialized site Petit Web. And to present an internal survey showing that 9% of French people would be attracted to this subscription system.

Seasonal demand

“The range is not yet very wide, but at the beginning of the experiment there was a desire to start with a limited selection of products. We want to show our customers that this is not just a test, but that” there is a real desire to develop rental for ecological reasons’, explains BFM Business, the distributor.

Currently, electric bikes or paddles are quite popular products at the moment because they meet a seasonal demand. Products that are bulky and / or serve for a special occasion, such as trekking or family tents, also work because customers do not need to store them or clean them after use, ”Decathlon continues.

This life-size test allowed the distributor to collect a large amount of data, which should enable it to validate the model for this offer before, why not, generalize it.

This model “is virtuous to all stakeholders: customers, partners, Decathlon, the planet” continues Luc Teerlinck, who confirms that this subscription cost families six times less than if they had had to buy the products (yes, but would they have bought these products without the subscription?).

It would also offer more loyalty (the subscription has benefits of retaining customers) and profitability (3 to 10 times more than sales), although the distributor prefers to highlight the environmental responsibility of the approach. At Decathlon, we are looking for a more sustainable model. We want to be able to share these profitability gains with customers.


Because of these initial encouraging results, a second testing phase could begin. “As far as Belgium is concerned, the formula – initially focused on the most popular sports – will be expanded with a greater diversity of products in different sports over time. It is more a short-term rental – date to date – which has the virtue that “that unresolved customers can test a product, or to answer occasional inquiries at an affordable price. However, there are several variations, so it is not exclusively short-term,” we explain the group.

Decathlon also specifies that “the project was launched in Belgium but also in other countries” without specifying which ones.

One thing is for sure, the subscription model continues to grow in the world. According to research from eDreams Odigeo, consumers in France have an average of 2-3 subscriptions, and over the past 12 months, 48% said they had increased the number of subscriptions they have. In all international markets, this figure rose further to 90%.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business

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