Merchandise planning is the process conducted by wholesalers and retailers to ensure that the right product is available to the consumer at the right time, store location, quantity and price. This complex process involves selecting the products the retailer will carry according to seasonality and determining the purchase quantities of these products. Merchandising in the fast-fashion is even more complex due to the short life of product cycles, consumer trends, global sourcing challenges, fierce level of competition, increasing product variety and media challenges or marketplaces used to drive sales. Technological breakthroughs in omnichannel software systems, manufacturing and chain-supply are endowed with advanced functionalities to help sporting goods retailers have better control and better predictive tools to avoid large markdowns caused by excessive inventory and lost selling opportunities attributed to sellouts; a common pain point in this industry.

Sporting goods retailing is intrinsically seasonal. Think of a sport and you know when that sport’s season is about to kickoff.  Baseball, for instance. is played in the spring. Professional baseball begins in the spring and ends in the fall. Little league baseball players can opt to play in what they call “Fall Ball,” a fall season version of the game that often gets less participation than the typical spring season.

Other sports have their seasons too. Football is played in the fall and comes to an end at the beginning of winter. High school basketball usually begins in November and runs through February or March, so it’s more of a winter sport.

Outdoor sports in the summer include beach volleyball, soccer, tennis, canoeing, biking, boating and surfing.

The key to successful retailing in the sports sector is to anticipate and master the science of seasonal planning ahead of time while relying on accurate tools to make informed decisions on-time, on-budget and on-target.

To be a successful sporting goods retailers, you’ve got to be able to surf from one season to another like a seasoned skipper. Unlike many pre-packaged POS bundles, ChainDrive is a real Vivaldi when it comes to helping retailers, wholesalers and online store operators manage the four seasons.

Here are few Tips on how to scale-up your seasonal sports retail management skills and tech-stack:

1.Start with Pre-Planning – Planning is mission critical for any retail business, but the planning for sports retailing must be taken even more seriously during the pandemic era where chain-supply is subject to many disruptions, lockdowns and distancing measures used to mitigate health risks. In fact, you need to have your product for each sport’s season on the shelf ahead of time in order to please early adopters. That’s usually a month or two before the season actually kicks-in. To make that mark, you need to order your product early enough to avoid last minute disruption, logistic issues, product shortages, and merchandise in time for your customers to start shopping. You also need to establish a promotional calendar six months ahead including your outreach strategy, type of content and media channels to be used for during the promotional campaign…

2.Product Ordering and Management – Some of your seasonal sport equipment will be pretty standard year in, year out. For instance, you know tennis players are going to need tennis balls and rackets. Other equipment may change from time to time due to the fast-growing pace of interconnected objects, smart wear gear and clothing. As an example, junior baseball league often changes their rules between seasons, so you may need to stock a different kind of bat than you did the previous season. Knowing your clientele, changing consumer behaviors, new regulations or sporting events that may bolster your sales is essential.

3.Customer relationship management –Knowing what each sport’s customer is looking for is paramount to understanding your customers’ needs. And keeping track of past purchases or their digital footprints is crucial. Do you have an organized way of doing that?

There’s plenty more to think about for sports retailing, but pre-emptive planning is a good place to start. Are you ready for the post-pandemic season?

ChainDrive’s sporting goods POS software provides you with integrated reports and tools, offering immediate access to vital information, providing valuable insight into each area of your business, and leading to improved decisions, reduced operating costs and increased revenues.

Offering countless pre-configured reports, dashboards, pivot table queries and graphs, ChainDrive lets you track critical performance metrics by transforming your data into powerful, actionable decision-making tools. Sporting Goods Store POS & Inventory Software is second to none when it comes to tracking, monitoring & managing large volumes of inventories. As result, it allows its users to streamline their business operations while tracking the most relevant KPIs. 

In addition to being smart, seamless and very agile, ChainDrive Sporting goods ERP software is very effective when it comes to employee performance and management.

Faster and more cost-efficient distribution functionalities have been developed, customized and are being extensively utilized. Several retailers including Montreal Alouettes, Oberson, Cleveland Indians, Cleve Sporting Goods, Athletes Choice, Momo Sports, Snowboard Shop, etc. If you still have more questions or want to know more about how ChainDrive Sporting goods ERP software can help you cope with the disruptive nature of retailing in the post-pandemic times, contact our retail management software experts to schedule a video conference or log on to book a live demo.