Why Toby’s Sports, a sporting goods store, ended up selling the Apple Watch

Oct 4, 2021
(Left) A view of the Kobe Bryant wall in the Toby's Sports flagship store in BGC.
PHOTO: Toby's Sports/Facebook

IT’S ALL there in the name.

After more than 40 years in the business, Toby’s Sports has emerged as a titan in the sporting goods retail space. Once a small store in Greenhills, the family-run business endured throughout the decades, until, in a survey conducted in 2016, Toby’s Sports was the top-of-mind name when consumers think of sports retailers.

Today, it sells everything from sneakers to basketballs to kettlebells to treadmills. But one thing you wouldn’t expect to find in Toby’s is an Apple Watch.

It’s not that it’s suddenly turned into Toby’s Tech, or that you can suddenly purchase iPads inside the brand’s online store. But it makes sense, if you think about it.

“In the world of fitness and sport, data tracking is very important,” Andrea Tan, marketing and communications head at the sporting goods retailer, told Spin.ph. “It enables any individual to gather and make sense of information that can help him/her not just become a better athlete, but to attain and live a healthier personal lifestyle.”

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    Last week, Toby’s Sports announced that it would be carrying the Apple Watch Series 6, the Apple Watch Series 6 Nike Edition, and the Apple Watch SE among its portfolio of brands. The first few units were sold in a Facebook Live Selling event, but on its website, Apple already has its own section for online purchase.

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    “When we had the opportunity to carry the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE,” Tan explained, “ we knew that we are giving our customers access to gadgets that would create instant positive impact in their fitness journeys.”

    She added: “The addition of the Apple Watch in our stores not only expands our range in the fitness wearables category, but also allows us to further help our customer create, achieve and sustain their personal fitness goals.”

    Fitness functionality has always been a key part of Apple’s reveals of every iteration of the Watch. The Series 6 can measure your blood oxygen, sleep tracking, and the ability to log around 80 different types of exercises.

    The Apple Watch Series 6 follows the standard SRP of the device in the Philippines: P15,990 for the Apple Watch SE, P22,990 for the Apple Watch Series 6, and P24,990 for the slightly larger 44mm version of the Series 6.

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    Toby's Sports flagship store BGC

    Live Selling emerging as a key retail strategy for Toby's Sports

    Tan also talked briefly about their “live selling” social media activations, which the team began rolling out when lockdown restrictions prevented people from visiting their stores.

    “We consider ourselves lucky to be in an industry that has continued to stay relevant during the pandemic, but we also have to make sure that we’re always top-of-mind when it comes to anything sports and fitness,” she said, explaining how COVID-19 hit their stores.

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    The team took inspiration from an unlikely source: home TV shopping.

    “[Live selling] presented a unique opportunity for us to bring back the TV shopping experience in a fresh, more personal and more direct way,” continued Tan.

    Describing each broadcast as a “hit”, Tan said that events like these make shopping “more informative, yet highly interactive.”

    No surprise, then, that a big ticket item like an Apple Watch would make its Toby’s Sports debut in a Live Selling event.

    “[P]eople look forward to [them] on a monthly basis,” said Tan. “We definitely see these online selling initiatives continue to be an integral part of our business.”

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    (Left) A view of the Kobe Bryant wall in the Toby's Sports flagship store in BGC.
    PHOTO: Toby's Sports/Facebook
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