What we can learn from one of the most successful organizations in omnichannel e-commerce.
SPORT 2000 is a European sports store franchise formula. In the Netherlands, SPORT 2000 consists of more than 90 independent entrepreneurs. ANWR GARANT Netherlands B.V. is a licensee of the SPORT 2000 formula and the largest operating Retail Service Organization for independent entrepreneurs in the shoe and sports industry in the Netherlands, with more than 450 members.
With the 90+ franchise entrepreneurs, SPORT 2000 is a good example with an omnichannel strategy. In the partnership with NextChapter eCommerce, SPORT 2000 has an e-commerce platform that can handle complex processes and offers scalability where it is needed. SPORT 2000 takes the lead in the digital transition that retail entrepreneurs are currently going through. The formula uses the strength of the collective in its range and aims for maximum success for the affiliated retailers.
SPORT 2000's former e-commerce system consisted of a landscape of standalone open source and custom build systems. The frontend Magento webshop was made by various internet agencies. The systems could no longer grow at the desired pace, causing SPORT 2000 to reach the limits of their systems and architecture.
The SPORT 2000 team spent a relatively large amount of time, energy and money on IT projects for technical maintenance. The potential of SPORT 2000 was therefore not fully used.
A new webshop frontend with strong usability that can handle a high volume
PIM for item data for a wide and deep product range (more than 200,000 SKUs)
Order Management for decentralized fulfilment from 90 stores with specific business rules and all related processes from stock to shipment
A complete replatforming of the e-commerce systems. The choice for a SaaS platform was made and after a selection process of various platforms, NextChapter eCommerce was chosen. The following project and the platform components were deployed:
New webshop front end
Integrations for item master data from suppliers, brands and products
Inventory data from 90+ stores, integrations with marketing tools and finance system
PIM for a wide and deep range
Stock Information Management for all stores
Order Management for allocating orders and splitting orders based on business rules
Fulfilment and shipping via Post NL by retailers, from the NextChapter backend
Automated (partial) order cancellations
Decentralized return processing and automated refunding
A complete e-commerce system with stable processes and scalability for the future. Significant improvement in article data processing and process. A faster webshop with a stronger design that ensures more conversion. The foundation through which SPORT 2000 can continuously take further steps in marketing, turnover growth and customer loyalty. Plus, it delivers a double-digit growth rate every year (70% last year).
Maurice van Franck, E-commerce Manager SPORT 2000 and Topshoe.nl, explains: “SPORT 2000 is an international retail formula consisting of marketing & assortment, in which we as an organization try to give direction & balance, but also branding of which webshop is a big part of. It fits in our general objective for more turnover and brand awareness of the store formula and generating traffic to the stores.”
The SPORT 2000 stores have a certain autonomy. For most retailers, the physical stores are more important than the webshop. The SPORT 2000 webshop is therefore at the service of these stores.
Maurice continues: “With the webshop we can offer consumers a product range across all stores, we can generate more brand awareness as a collective, provide purchasing options for certain brands that otherwise couldn't be sold online and we take care of part of the distribution. In addition, many entrepreneurs have noticed, especially in the past year, that you need a good webshop. You can't escape it anymore. The great thing about our joint formula shop is that we can make a fair distribution of turnover and attract extra consumers to the stores.”
Maurice: “In 2011 we were able to take over the formula as ANWR-Garant Netherlands. In 2014, a webshop was added with the wish to set it up together with our entrepreneurs.”
The covered brands also play an important role. Some, often large, brands determine which parties may or may not offer which products online. Retail entrepreneurs affiliated with SPORT 2000 may carry these brands through the joint web shop, where this would otherwise not have been possible.
Our focus will be on relevance, personalization and better use of our customer database.
Simon van de Kempe, Marketing Data Specialist, briefly describes the situation: “That must have been in 2015. We built our first webshop together with ISM eCompany. That was a Magento webshop with custom backend for article data and order management made by Diract. When I arrived at SPORT 2000, this site had just gone live and there was still a lot to do. For example, there was no stock link yet, while we want to organize fulfilment from the stores. We were continuously importing and exporting Excel lists manually without an interface, and each time we had to wait overnight for the import. And then hope that all data had passed through the next day. You can't imagine that anymore now."
Anya Strating, Content Specialist & Team Coordinator, adds: “We were pioneering. It gave us a lot of experience, which we used when we started working with NextChapter eCommerce. It was therefore also an important period of development. In this way we quickly and clearly discovered what the real priorities were and what was needed for optimization with regard to cash register systems, EDIs (electronic data input), stocks, prices and shopping lists, etc.”
Maurice: “That was due to the developments at Topshoe.nl [50% part of the holding ANWR-Garant Nederland], for which we were looking for a new frontend. Plus, there was a broader issue with regards to e-commerce. SaaS was not as well known and available as it is now. Somewhere I saw something about NextChapter SaaS and I contacted them. In my conversations with Michiel [CEO and Co-founder of NextChapter eCommerce] I found out that they had already built what we were looking for. We didn't feel the need to spend all our time building our own platform. We wanted to focus on the organization and our entrepreneurs. In addition, an e-commerce platform has to develop further without you having to spend a lot of time on it yourself.”
Maurice continues: “Yes, with many others. But I found the standard a bit low in usability at that time. That doesn't match with the retail industry. As an SME, you also need an SME partner. Especially for the frontend I was looking for a higher level. I eventually chose NextChapter eCommerce because it was an existing SaaS platform, with good usability, that can handle a large volume, with multiple stores and webshops.”
Simon: “We work well together. We talked a lot, the NextChapter team thinks along with you. We have had many sessions and have grown in this together. We ourselves had the industry knowledge and practical experience in online, NextChapter eCommerce of the technology. Together we managed to connect the SPORT 2000 webshop to the market.”
“What is very nice is that the lines are very short,” Anya adds, “and with NextChapter we can work fast and well, so we are able to continue to grow together in e-commerce and we are well attuned to each other.”
It became increasingly clear that the online customer and the physical store customer are the same people.
“Well, if we don't hear anything back from our customers, that's good news.” Simon says with a laugh. “That might sound strange, but in our industry, no news is really good news. In addition, our conversions have increased enormously. We no longer have all those issues from the past, the platform is stable and we can really rely on it. We now have time for other matters such as further development and marketing campaigns. The platform is running well.”
Maurice: “And very important; we meet all standards set by the e-commerce market. Important external parties, for example, conduct research into your webshop, such as Thuiswinkel.org. And we are technically completely in order.”
Anya: “The focus still lies with the stores. The webshop is certainly part of it, but the focus lies on what happens in the stores.” Simon adds: “When we connected the store stocks, we could display current stock per store in the webshop. The shopkeepers saw their own store and assortment online and that made it more tangible. Suddenly there were consumers at the door with this information. And it became increasingly clear that the online customer and the physical store customer are the same people.”
Maurice: “Continuing to grow in turnover. We want to achieve higher volume through online sales to improve margins for all 90+ merchants. We will do this with an even better frontend and online marketing”. Simon: “We also want to work smarter. So do more, with less work. For example, more personalization via A.i. Our focus will be on relevance, personalization and making more use of our customer database.”
Our conversions have increased enormously and we no longer have all those issues from the past. The platform is stable and we can truly rely on it.
Simon: “PIM, Order Management and the interface really save us a lot of work. The webshop orders are distributed over the 90+ stores via smart business rules. Using smart processes, NextChapter OM ensures that the order is picked up and sent to the consumer quickly and efficiently. In addition, we are secretly a bit proud of the Pricing Module that we have developed together with NextChapter eCommerce. This module can read all cash registers, with all different prices (entered by all shopkeepers) and calculates a certain average for this for the webshop. And it works great! It does not cause any hassle and works exactly as planned.”
Choose an e-commerce platform that unburdens you, that you do not have to innovate yourself; this saves time, budget and people to focus on your business and customers.
Use the power of a collective. This can be a longer route to take because you have to find the right partners, but with multiple stores and various stocks you offer the consumer a wider/deeper range and higher availability.
Online stimulates sales in stores. Show stores and store stocks clearly on your webshop and customers really come to the stores. If you provide relevant experience and good service, they will buy extra products and come back more often.
Map out your most important wishes and link objectives to them. With this you create a better plan for ultimate omnichannel success together with your e-commerce platform supplier.
Looking for the right approach and e-commerce platform for your strategy? Download the NextChapter eCommerce brochure for more information.