Shively Sporting Goods

Shively Sporting Goods

Omni-Channel Retail Case Study


Company Profile: Shively Sporting Goods is a sporting goods store that has been in business for 50+ years. They have traditionally been successful with selling sports equipment form their brick and mortar store, as well as outfitting local teams. With the advent of eCommerce, they saw an opportunity and began selling online, and have drastically increased profits from this new revenue stream. 

 Solution Partners: Amazon | eBay | Zentail | Shopify

 IndustrySporting Goods

With SkuVault, everything is user friendly and there’s not a huge learning curve involved. I don’t get stressed out

For most businesses who have been around for more than 50 years, change tends to be slow. But when the opportunity arose to generate new revenue streams from eCommerce, particularly Amazon.com, Shively Sporting Goods (est. 1968) wasted no time.

SSG Logo

Adam Flanders, online sales executive and eCommerce leader, quickly created an account with Amazon Seller Central and FBA. Because of the decades-long relationships with popular brands like Adidas and OAKLEY, Shively had access to merchandise that they could sell direct-to-consumer online. Since it was merchandise that their online competitors didn’t have, this gave them a unique advantage in the early days of eCommerce.

Shively Sporting Goods
Shively’s Brick and Mortar Store

For an established business in a traditionally more predictable business climate, the ups and downs of eCommerce were uncharted territory. 

This became startlingly clear 2012 when things changed drastically. They saw a vendor relationship crash and burn, while at the same time realizing that they had a concentration risk with too much dependence on Amazon. The success they had seen in their early eCommerce days was in serious jeopardy. Shively Sporting Goods had to completely change their approach to eCommerce.

Adam knew it would be a major move that needed to be approached strategically in order to be done correctly. He was worried about the many hours (and related loss of revenue) it would take to pull off. Fortunately he found SkuVault and Zentail, who helped him automate this process. With the easy set-up and dedicated client support, what could have taken months or even years, took only a matter of weeks. Adam was able to move all of the inventory into his own warehouse, and to open up new sales channels without having to pull any all-nighters. 

“Without Zentail or SkuVault, I don’t know what we would have done,”  says Adam. “ It was a very, very scary time.”

Easing Growing Pains

The team at Shively got to work scaling up their inventory and warehouse operations with help from SkuVault. With the help of Zentail, they were able to launch a brand new BigCommerce site, and tap into eBay and Walmart. It didn’t stop there, as they added Google, Facebook, Wish and Jet, further diversifying their mix of channels. This is what allowed them to safely scale down their reliance on FBA. 

Since Zentail and SkuVault are integration partners, Shively was able to leverage both easy-to-use interfaces for maximum efficiency. 

“Other platforms are confusing. With Zentail and SkuVault, everything is user friendly and there’s not a huge learning curve involved,” says Adam “I don’t get stressed out accessing either system.”

This partnership allowed for enhanced data visibility and data sharing. When orders come through any eCommerce channel, Zentail adjusts the displayed product quantity to other channels and pass the information to SkuVault for fulfillment in real time. This greatly enhanced Shively’s ability to:

  • Pick, pack and ship orders quickly
  • Sync inventory levels without worry
  • Analyze profitability with clear and accurate data 

The impact was instant. Within a year, Shively’s total eCommerce revenue jumped by 360%, with sustained and continued growth over the next year. And, Amazon was no longer the primary sales channel as eBay and others would begin to surpass them in total revenue.

Share of revenue between Amazon and other marketplaces that Shively expanded to using SkuVault

As Shively drastically reduced their reliance on Amazon FBA,they saw their profit margins double in the first year (some SKUs even tripled), and productivity greatly increased.

Share of fulfilled orders between Amazon FBA and Shively’s own warehouse

Today, Shively is still a well-oiled eCommerce machine. Between simplified catalog management and easy order fulfillment, SkuVault and Zentail keep their operations running smoothly.

Managing Quality Control in the Warehouse

With FBA out of the picture, Shively now has to operate an entire warehouse that can keep up with nonstop, round-the-clock orders.  Fulfilling orders on time is just one piece of the puzzle. Without FBA, they also need a reliable system for preventing mispicks, misships and incorrect orders.

SkuVault’s Quality Control feature takes the worry away for Adam. His team is notified by an automated alert if an order is mispicked. And if for some reason the order still isn’t corrected by the time it’s ready to pack and ship, there’s a clear record of which item got mishandled and when, so that workflows can easily be corrected to prevent future errors. 

To help with that, SkuVault routes orders to the correct bin locations and generates custom pick lists for wave or hyper picking. 

As an omni-channel business with eCommerce, brick and mortar and team sales, the ability to check all inventory in real time across their warehouse has been a major boost to sales. It’s very common for sales executives to be out in the field and quickly check SkuVault for available inventory in order to make a quick extra sale. “SkuVault would even work with my POS system [in my store]…so that I can sell something in my store and on the internet at the same time,” Adam says “It’s not always ecommerce-driven.

Whether optimizing warehouse flows or clearly tracking inventory, SkuVault makes it possible to run a full-scale omnichannel warehouse operation without exhausting resources.

Managing Multichannel Listings and Analytics

Zentail’s product information management system (PIM) has cut listing time in half. In the past, they had to create each new channel listing by hand. Now, thanks to Zentail, the team simply imports their catalog into the software, and products are instantly attributed and categorized correctly for the various sales channels via SMART Types

With a simple button click, Shively can list a new product to multiple channels and start making sales. From there, they can use Quick Edit to easily adjust the price or product details as needed.

“When I first signed up with Zentail, I knew, ‘This is what’s going to take us from zero to sixty real quick,” says Adam. “I also realized that now that my time’s cut down, I can really build up this business.”

As business continues to grow, Adam has greatly limited the amount of time he has to crunch numbers. With Zentail’s multichannel analytics, which track shipping costs, profit margins, sales tax, reorder timing and more. This real-time visibility has improved the accuracy of their stockout predictions and analysis of where their money is best spent as they look to fine tune their long-term strategy.

50 Years of Success and Many More to Go

Adam is optimistic about what the future holds, especially with SkuVault and Zentail as his partners.

“What I got personally from SkuVault and Zentail  nobody else could help me with,” says Adam. “There’s no way that any other company could have done what either of these companies have done for me because it was always a partnership. I was never just a number.” 

He envisions the company evolving more into a brand and doubling in size within a few years’ time, adding, “When I need something or have any concerns, who do you think I’m calling? I’m calling on you guys.”

 Adam Flanders
Adam Flanders, online sales executive and ecommerce lead at Shively Sporting Goods, in the warehouse.