Customer stories

How Decathlon has activated thousands of customers to donate at checkout

Having activated Giving to fundraise for a number of causes, UK CPO Delphine Mazillier details how embedding donations at checkout benefits brand, customers and nonprofits

June 24, 2024
 ·  5 minutes

In payments, marginal gains can mean millions to a global brand. 

A 1% uplift in authorization rate or a basis point decline in fraudulent transactions. Fractional - but highly impactful.

This sentiment however is nowhere more potent or meaningful than in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

In this world, every little bit counts. Output can be quantified down to the dollars and cents: where a small donation could mean a vaccine in a remote part of the world; water delivered during emergencies; forestry planted or protected - the list goes on. 

This thinking formed the basis of a partnership that originated in payments and grew to include impact at the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Decathlon, the sports and outdoors behemoth, had already pledged a solidarity fund of €1M, when their UK Chief Purpose Officer(CPO), decided to take advantage of Adyen’s donation matching and activate our donations at checkout product, Giving. In the years that have followed, Decathlon, Adyen and Decathlon customers have collaborated to raise over €650k for a number of causes across social and environmental impact. 

We spoke to the UK CPO, Delphine Mazillier about using donations as part of Decathlon’s broader impact strategy, and how customers have reacted at checkout.

Double the power in shared value partnerships

Delphine Mazillier started her career 25 years ago and moved into social impact as Decathlon was looking toward the future outlining a 10 year strategy. Her vision for sustainability at Decathlon is driven both by longevity and authenticity. “I don't believe in one-spot action. I really believe in long-term engagement,” notes the CPO. 

For Decathlon, this means including the customers in their impact journey. “For us, we think about how we can include them in our way of thinking, how we can include them in sharing our own mission and values.” And it’s this outlook that both companies share.  As Decathlon UK looks toward the long term, so too does Adyen, by investing in partnerships with customers that share our values. To date, across a number of fundraising campaigns, Adyen has matched €310k of Decathlon customers’ donations. 

The first campaign began against a backdrop of urgency: refugees from the war in Ukraine needed aid, and Decathlon pledged a solidarity fund of €1M to help those affected. Additionally, Delphine wanted to activate customers' donations at checkout to include them in their solidarity activities.  

Offering donations at checkout was something Decathlon was undecided about on a global level - but Delphine knew the generous nature of British people would prove the endeavor impactful. “On my side, I've decided to include our customers in the loop of this support for two reasons. First of all, because this is a part of British culture to participate in charity actions.”

Ultimately of course - the choice lies with the customer if they want to donate or not. “We give them the choice. If they want to participate, they say yes. If they don't want to - they say no,” says the CPO. “It's a way to share a sense of responsibility with our customers. And I like it because responsibility is one of the values that we promote in our company.”

An agile fundraising strategy: how customers have reacted to various donations campaigns

The meaning of corporate social responsibility matures and broadens year on year. Impact and sustainability aren’t stagnant subjects, with the landscape for businesses constantly changing. This means brands have to grow and adapt quickly. 

In the years they’ve had Giving active, Decathlon has supported a number of causes, with customers responding in various numbers to each cause or campaign. “Some campaigns were more successful than the others,” notes Delphine, who chose campaigns based on what she thought would resonate with Decathlon customers, that were timely, and mattered to those working within the Decathlon organization.

Their campaign for Ukraine refugees was the most successful, with their customers amassing more than €250k for UNHCR at checkout. “Some customers asked us: ‘Why did you stop supporting [charity X],’ - meaning that they feel concerned by their local store and their local action,” Delphine considers, undeterred by these queries but in fact, inspired by customer concern. “For me this is so important because what exists on social media - people are scrolling and the day after they forget. But what they see directly, physically in the store and have conversations with sales assistants - it stays there. This is so important.” Clearly, Decathlon customers care. And by offering a mechanism to donate in store - Delphine and her team are not only creating new revenue streams for nonprofits - they’re creating that shared connection beyond the payments transaction with their customers. 

Despite challenging economic conditions, customers continue to participate in campaigns, surprising Decathlon with their ongoing generosity. "I think they are very generous because there’s a cost of living crisis right now in the UK, and the donations keep coming in. I always find it very amazing," Delphine remarks.

In the UK, sports and entertainment outlets accounted for 21% of funds raised via Giving in 2023 and are consistently among the most frequent donors on the platform, and the customers that donate via these outlets donate more. Those that purchase in person average 32 cents more per donation than the average across all verticals. 

Switching donation campaigns with ease when the moment is right

We’ve built Giving to allow CSR and Impact teams at enterprise businesses to work within Adyen’s Customer Area and Back Office. Giving makes it easy to collaborate on campaigns and to manage activations. “Adyen's solution, for me, is very easy to use,” notes Delphine. “Also for those in IT. Everybody agrees with the fact that it's very easy to use.” 

Giving can be activated on most terminals within our range, with round-up or fixed amounts available. The product is configured on terminals via the Customer Area - with Decathlon opting for the P400 Plus at both their self-service and serviced checkouts in store. 

Since adopting Giving, Decathlon have supported UNHCR, WWF and Make a Wish among others at checkout. Working with large nonprofit organizations can sometimes prove tricky between setup, contracting, and reconciliation. The bulk of this complexity is removed by the product. “If ever there’s something wrong or they [IT teams] have a question, it’s very easy to communicate with Adyen’s technical team as well,”. 

Their latest campaign focuses on - ParkPlay -  a UK nonprofit organization that organizes free, fun, and inclusive outdoor activities in local parks to promote community engagement and physical well-being.

For Delphine, it was important to switch support to something closer to home for a time. “ParkPlay is already in more than 60 locations close to where our customers live,” she continues. “So they can relate, and go by themselves to visit the projects that they can see. It's linked with my target of being as transparent as possible with our customers, [to show] what we do with their money and where their money is going.” 

For ParkPlay, it was their first time working with Adyen. “Onboarding was seamless and well organized by the team,” notes Melissa Franklin, Marketing Director at ParkPlay. “The benefits of Adyen mean that we can fundraise directly via Decathlon customers!” and they’re excited about the prospect of a new digital fundraising channel through a brand as big as Decathlon.

Reporting back to those who engaged at checkout

“If a customer is asking a question regarding where the money is going, I want to be able to tell them exactly where their money is going,” notes Delphine. So, what to do at the end of a campaign? And how to convey the results? Decathlon uses LinkedIn to talk to their base about the results of their efforts, and to thank those who donated.

Not necessarily considered a sales channel by the activewear brand, instead a platform through which they can talk about CSR and engagement activities and achievements - where transparency is a principal goal. In this video they explain the collaboration between themselves and Parkplay. 

Delphine has actively used this channel to report back on the successes of campaigns and to highlight the impact of Decathlon’s customer donations. It’s a nice way to close the loop and ultimately allow those who care and have participated an insight into the effect of that tap at checkout - and how indeed, every little does count. 


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