The sporting goods industry is growing at a steady rate, bringing in revenues of $50 billion annually according to IBIS World. People seeking healthy lifestyles turn to sporting goods stores for a variety of products ranging from apparel to sports equipment. Maximizing business growth in this market requires integrated, sporting goods POS that supports multiple store inventories and distribution warehouses, inventory visibility for brick and mortar and eCommerce sites, a variety of payment options and security compliance.
The standard magnetic swipe credit card has been the norm in the United States, but in Europe, consumers use chip-enabled credit cards that interact with a retail POS. By October 2015, many credit cards in the United States will also be equipped with EMV “Chip” technology, although the addition of the PIN will not happen until later. Mobile payments are also gaining popularity, with Statistica reporting $721 billion in mobile payments by 2017. The benefit of a cloud POS is that it can provide a wide range of payment options to improve the customer shopping experience. An up-to-date system is PCI and EMV compliant, helping companies meet all security requirements.
What separates one sporting good retail store from another? Sporting goods stores often carry similar inventories at similar prices, but a few key distinctions make the difference for a customer. A quality customer loyalty program provides an incentive for the consumer to shop at a particular sporting goods store. The business also benefits, as 94 percent of customers want communication with the company as part of the program, according to Loyalty Marketing. Many cloud POS systems provide businesses with the resources they need to implement a full-featured customer loyalty program instead of building it from scratch and managing it separately.
Customers get frustrated if they see a product listed as in stock through an eCommerce site only to find it’s not actually available in current inventory. Inventory visibility is important on the front-end and back-end for a sporting goods store. Cloud POS and retail inventory management software keeps real-time updates of all purchases, updates quantities on-hand and tracks sales trends, revenue and other key data so the store knows what to order, how much and when.
Retail management software must handle more than just retail inventory management–it should also provide a customer relationship management module for tracking customer information such as purchase histories, potential interest categories, email addresses, demographic information and other data—and many systems do. This business intelligence helps sporting goods retailers understand their audience, the products they are most interested in and potential goods and services to provide in the future.
A sporting goods retailer’s POS decision requires significant consideration, especially when looking at the long-term needs of the customer base. A retail cloud POS provides the scalability and flexibility a growing business needs.