Team Sports Retailer Schuylkill Valley Sports Enhances Omnichannel Capabilities
Managing inventory is difficult for any retailer, but imagine not knowing whether your next customer was going to need a single item or potentially thousands of items. That’s what Schuylkill Valley Sports faces every day because it sells sports equipment to individuals and teams. That means the store might sell a baseball to one customer and the next one needs one hundred dozen of them. Either way, Schuylkill Valley Sports (SVS) picks from the same inventory and when you multiply that by 19 retail locations, things can get complex rather quickly.
The unique needs of team sports sales
This active management of both retail and team sales is carried out every day by the more than 300 members of Schuylkill Valley’s team. Accurate sales orders that tie directly into purchase orders is key to servicing accounts efficiently, and precise reporting is also required to calculate payroll for the commission-based sales sta. And that’s just to keep merchandise moving, sales reporting by store, salesperson and customer are needed to enable long-term planning. Fullling the complex needs of team sports retail is difficult and options are limited. SVS relied on SportzPak to manage POS sales, but this text based platform was seriously outdated. “When Celerant bought SportzPak and redesigned the entire platform, it was a welcome change,” said SVS IT Manager Nick Rhoads. “We were getting to the point where many of our younger employees had never even seen a text-based operating system before, so upgrading to Windows and especially an interface with touch screen controls made it much easier to train new staff members.”
Omnichannel partner and fulfillment optimization
But new upgrades for the Celerant Command platform do much more than bring a graphical user interface to SVS, they propel the company into the omnichannel universe and give them the capabilities to offer discerning customers the experiences they expect.
Sports enthusiasts and team leaders in Southeastern Pennsylvania have known that SVS is the place to buy gear for more than 40 years, but its online presence at SVSports.com is expanding its market across North America. Channel integration with online retail partners has accelerated that presence as SVS now processes orders from all 50 states daily. Thanks to best store fulllment from Celerant, all of those orders are automatically routed to the store best equipped to pack and ship them. “The amount of time we have saved using best store fulfilment is immeasurable,” said Rhoads. “We used to have to manually process each incoming order, figure out the optimal store to fulfill that order, and then email that store.
The rewarding power of partner integration
The exibility of Command Retail tears down physical walls not just online, but in the real world as well. Using built-in mobile POS functionality, SVS can take its store anywhere it likes to sell merchandise. Using wireless laptops to complete all the same functionality that is available in-store, temporary remote stores can do everything the permanent locations can. “We set up several remote stores per year,” said Rhoads. “Sometimes that can be as simple as going out to the parking lot for one of our tent sales or running all over town to events where sports enthusiast are likely to hang out. Being where our customers are is a big part of our business, and mobile POS lets us swipe credit cards and manage inventory in real-time, the same way we would process inside a physical store.” Keeping up with constantly evolving customer demands and staying ahead of the curve is top of mind for SVS. “We’re planning a responsive site with Celerant that should launch soon. That will help us tap further into the quickly accelerating mobile commerce sector and boost our SEO — but mainly, we just want to make sure that we continue to provide the best experience possible for our customers, whether in-store, online, or on mobile devices.”
Helping customers easily find what they are looking for has also contributed to boosting sales on SVSports.com. Through integration with a third party search partner, SVS has implemented enhanced search functionality makes locating the right merchandise fast and easy. “Enhanced search through our partner makes navigating SVSports so intuitive. Not only are we now able to offer a smart search that automatically corrects misspellings, SVSports.com also shows results graphically using thumbnail images and offers suggestions for similar products.” Search isn’t the only area where third party integration has helped SVS improve customer experience. The company also works closely with a loyalty vendor to manage Hometown Rewards, its highly successful customer club program. Hometown Rewards customers can log into SVSports.com and see their balances and transaction histories anytime, and rewards can be earned or redeemed simply either in-store or online. SVS has also used this functionality to launch promotional games for customers, such as scratch-off cards that provide instant discounts and specials. This integration also allows SVS to create and sell gift cards, or offer them as loyalty rewards.
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