DICK’S Sporting Goods Centralizes Identity for 1.5M+ Customers


increasing sign-in rates YoY

3 mos.

to launch new authentication for 1.5M+ customers

We realized there are companies that spend a lot of time and money to build robust applications just on identity itself and could help us implement ours in a much quicker and secure manner.

Nathan Milliren, Principal Software Engineer

With over 800 retail stores and $9.58B in annual revenue, DICK’S Sporting Goods is one of the largest omni-channel sporting goods retailers in the U.S. But as more athletes began using technology to enhance their ability to perform their best, DICK’S knew they had to be more than a brick and mortar retailer with a website to serve the athletes of the future.

Before focusing  their strategy on  an omnichannel experience, DICK’S developed five digital apps (web and mobile). As more customers used their digital experiences, DICK’S found that these disconnected experiences in their in-house approach to identity prevented their customers from navigating them with the same ease as walking from department to department in their stores.  As DICK’S looked to improve the omnichannel experience it became apparent that consolidating to a single login across all touch points was needed.

“When we started looking at how we could reduce customer friction, the five different experiences with four different logins became the primary focus point,” Principal Software Engineer, Nathan Milliren, explains. “No matter what we did to improve authentication experience we needed to make sure that experience was the same no matter what touchpoint the customer came from.”

Disjointed Identity Demanded Customer Service

DICK’S began their digital transformation in 2016, bringing website technology in-house. At this time, their in-house identity systems were one of the top three call drivers to customer service. Because of these systems each required a separate log-in many times the customers issue were not solved while on the initial call.

DICK’S technology team knew any changes they implemented had to be secure. But they also knew this was a challenge on its own since bad actors are always looking for gaps in security systems. They decided it would be easier to implement the secure user experience their customers needed by engaging an identity expert. 

“We realized there are companies that spend a lot of time and money to build robust applications just on identity itself and could help us implement ours in a much quicker and secure manner,” says Milliren.

Dick’s Centralized Identity for 1.5M+ Customers in 6 Months

DICK’S chose Auth0 as their identity provider due to ease of implementation, ramp speed, and to offload managing the infrastructure and uptime. “Auth0’s platform is easy to use from a development standpoint, and it’s well supported by the documentation and SDKs,” Milliren explains.

To ensure they could accommodate authentication requests from the millions of customers who use their digital experiences, DICK’S opted to deploy their system on Auth0’s Private Cloud. The offering provides more flexibility and control over the public cloud.  This includes features like geo-replication, increased requests per second (RPS) and improved up-time standards.

DICK’S started with Golf Galaxy, a smaller digital property, first, working with Auth0’s Professional Services to ensure their use case was set up properly, and launched in about three months. Then they moved to their largest digital property with 1.5M+ customers (Dicks.com) and launched their new authentication just three months later. Now their customers can log in with the same username and password on any of their digital experiences. 

Simplified Authentication Increased User Sign-Ins 4.8% YoY

Working with Auth0 to streamline authentication across their experiences has increased the number of customers who sign on to DICK’S platforms by 4.8% year-over-year. “We've seen a decrease in customer service complaints and an increase in the percentage of orders placed from users that are signed in versus a guest checkout,” says Milliren.

Most importantly, Auth0’s platform has helped DICK’S continue to stay ahead of bad actors on the internet through the insights and tools they now have available to them. “Auth0 has given us the ability to go beyond just blocking and tackling cyber threats and actually build out threat profiles that help us see what type of attackers are targeting DICK’S Sporting Goods,” Manager of IT Security, Kyle Bruce, says. “This has certainly increased the speed in which we can identify threats.” 

Now that identity is offloaded to Auth0, DICK’S has also been able to shift development resources they would have normally dedicated to maintaining those systems to higher-value business challenges, like rolling out COVID-19 friendly curbside pickup or dealing with holiday order volumes. “We wouldn't have been able to accomplish those tasks if we had to focus on standing up our identity systems,” says Milliren.

About Dick's Sporting Goods

Founded in 1948, DICK'S is a leading omni-channel sporting goods retailer offering an extensive assortment of authentic, high-quality sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. As of January 30, 2021, the Company operated 728 DICK'S locations across the United States, serving and inspiring athletes and outdoor enthusiasts to achieve their personal best through a blend of dedicated teammates, in-store services and unique specialty shop-in-shops dedicated to Team Sports, Athletic Apparel, Golf, Lodge/Outdoor, Fitness and Footwear.