Sporting goods store managers and employees require nearly as much quick thinking and situational awareness as the athletes who purchase their goods.
They contend with multiple seasons. Not just summer, winter, spring and fall, but also baseball, football, ski, soccer, hockey and back-to-school. That’s in addition to sports like golf, tennis and cycling that happen all year long.
To further complicate matters, much of the inventory for these recreational activities is available in different colors and sizes. Stock can span from pocket-sized to forklift-required and can cost from a few cents to five figures. In some cases, inventory is age restricted. Many stores also do custom work, from team jersey monogramming to custom-fitted golf clubs. It is also common for sporting good stores to sell government-issued licenses for hunting and fishing.
Given the wide range of products and services that they offer, sportings goods stores need the right software to keep it all organized and accounted for. This Buyer’s Guide details everything you need to know about sporting goods point of sale (POS) software.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Sporting goods POS software can help put a store’s front and back halves in sync.
On the front-end, POS software allows cashiers to process sales and returns with a variety of payment methods, lookup order histories, print receipts and manage customer contact information for things like rewards programs. Then, on the back-end, the software can update things like inventory, the accounting general ledger and any relevant customer relationship management information as transactions occur.
When implemented correctly, the result is seamless, real-time communication between the many facets of your store, with less error and more automation than manual methods such as pen and paper or spreadsheets.
In addition to core business functions, store owners should evaluate the following functions to meet their unique requirements:
|Team and league management||As part of CRM, the system should track required gear for teams and leagues. Many teams have particular uniform colors. Leagues often specify gear like shoes, pads and other equipment. The POS system should also track appropriate discounts for members and coaches. Some systems allow authorized league officials to create an equipment list online, complete with UPC codes. The list can be printed on request at the store and posted on the team’s website.|
|Seasonal sports ordering||Sports equipment and general merchandise change season to season. The sporting goods inventory software should make recommendations for new orders. In addition, it should track existing inventory and make sales-versus-storage recommendations.|
|Work order management||Sports equipment stores offer a variety of personalizing and customizing services. These range from monogramming and silk screening shirts and jackets to ordering custom made titanium shafts for golf clubs. The work order system should integrate with POS for deposits and the CRM for history and tracking.|
|School list management||Many school districts have specific requirements for physical education uniforms. Participants in school athletics approved uniforms and equipment. Identical in concept to team and league management, school list management tracks the equipment that students need by school. Some systems allow authorized school officials to create the list. The list can be printed on request at the store and posted on the team’s website.|
|Size, width and color look-up||Many items come in different sizes and colors. The system needs to provide answers to questions like “Do you have this jersey in black?” or “Are these cleats available in 10D?” or even “Is there a 31” version of this bat?” The system also needs to track historical size and color sales as a guide for reordering and ordering new, similar stock.|
|Integrated Internet sales||Many independent stores are expanding online. The store system should integrate inventory and checkout functions with the online system, updating quantities and pricing as necessary. Advanced systems will also support team, league and school list management for online purchases.|
|UPC code catalog||The items available to a sporting goods store are many and varied. Keying item descriptions in manually is labor intensive and time-consuming. The system should have an extensive catalog of items and descriptions and links to suppliers’ online catalogs to download inventory information.|
|Law enforcement reporting||If the store sells firearms or age-restricted items (for example, paintball markers or spray cans of field marking paint), it should provide all required reports for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.|
|ID scan||In addition to law enforcement reporting, stores with restricted merchandise should perform ID scans. The system should scan and retain ID information for buyers and verify that the format of the ID is correct.|
|Spoilage reporting||Many sporting goods stores have perishable goods. Examples include bait and biological attractants. The inventory system should alert when the stock is expired and should provide spoilage reports. It should also generate restock orders to keep the inventory fresh.|
|License sales||Many states and the federal government allow sporting goods stores to sell licenses and specific hunting endorsements. Duck stamps are an example. The system must track such sales and provide any necessary reporting. In advanced software, the CRM system will notify customers when licenses will be available.|
Retail analytics. Sporting goods POS systems are increasingly including sales reporting and inventory analytics features to help small business owners make better sense of their numbers. Using this information, stores can better promote best-selling items, forecast seasonal demand, identify valuable customer demographics and more.
Mobile POS. If you’re looking to make your checkout process more efficient, mobile POS systems are quickly becoming a must-have. Using a tablet or smartphone, your employees can meet customers where they’re shopping in the store to save time and increase the likelihood of purchase.
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