Ms Alicia Ong, Business Consultant, 27 September 2013
Running Lab, a specialty running store, retailing technically advanced running apparel, equipment and footwear was founded in 2005 by Mr. Walter Tan. The active tri-athlete started the first Running Lab store at Funan DigitaLife Mall.
Staffed by sports trainers and experienced runners, valuable advise are given to those interested to take up running as a hobby or for competition.
These sports consultants have the expertise to match the right shoe to the various foot types. A treadmill lies in the middle of the store where customers could test their shoes before purchase. This also allows the sports consultants to assess customers’ running gaits and recommend the right type of shoes which will maximize performance and reduces the risks of injuries.
According to Mr. Tan, Running Lab’s philosophy is to promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle, apart from providing customers with the best possible gear for their running needs. Free weekly runs are organized through some of Singapore’s most scenic routes.
A customer by the name of Grace was pleasantly surprised to find what she needs in this spacious and minimalist looking store. Said Grace “I was looking for a running bag. After several unsuccessful attempts, my final stop was Running Lab, and I didn't have much hope. Looked through the racks, and was a little surprised that gels were carried for serious runners, as well as other paraphernalia like fuel belts and shades. There's even a treadmill thing that assesses one's gait for proper shoe fitting! Looks like this place means business. Happily, I also found a sturdy shoe bag from Oxygen in an eye pleasing sky blue. It was handy with a thick strap across the top that made carrying a breeze. Also, it was affordable, cheaper than Adidas! This was a bit of a surprise, as I thought that a specialised shop might mean higher prices, but a good surprise of course.”
Another customer Steven added “The sports consultant spent almost an hour to
help me find the perfect pair of running shoes. He even taught me the different foot types and pronation. Great store for beginners to find that perfect pair of running shoes!”
Eight years of focused customer service have paid off. Running Lab has added three more stores, located at Velocity@Novena Square, 112 Katong and Tropicana City Mall in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Future plans include developing a new retail identity for Running Lab, targeting to launch in Jurong’s Westgate Mall in November 2013. A flagship store is planned for 2014.
The flagship store will feature the widest collection of running, triathlon and training apparel, footwear and accessories to cater to the runner who cross-trains and participates in more sports than ever.
“The customer experience is paramount to our business”, says Mr. Tan who is embarking on a customer service initiative under SPRING Singapore’s CCI programme. This is to ensure that all the employees are immersed into the true essence of Running Lab.
As Singaporeans become more health conscious, running has become a favourite sports catering to both amateurs and the professionals. The number of marathons organised in Singapore has grown by leaps and bounds. Over the last 10 years, runners on this island have been signing up for marathons like it’s a walk in the park. The number of full marathoners have grown more than 10-fold since 2002. The recent Standard Chartered Marathon in December last year, saw a registration of 53,000 runners.
The future of Running Lab seems promising and bright.