EDI for sporting goods retailers, suppliers and brands

by | Sep 25, 2018

When it comes to finding growth in the retail industry, sporting goods has typically been one of the safe bets. The U.S.-based retail sector has seen continued growth since 2011, while the worldwide market is growing even faster. According to a Dun & Bradstreet report, “the US retail sporting goods industry includes about 22,000 establishments…with combined annual revenue of about $47 billion.”

But not all of it is happening in the bricks-and-mortar world. While in-store sporting goods growth is slowing, online sales grew by 159% over the same period.

Sporting goods industry changes

To keep up with online growth, sportswear brands are building their own internet retail sites, as well as partnering with retailers that have a large online presence and jumping into online marketplaces offered by companies like Amazon and Walmart.com.

But the recent closing of major retail brands like Sports Authority has rocked the sporting goods world, as many companies lost money and several went completely out of business.

However, that spells opportunities for many other companies. Not only can the big retailers — Dick’s, Modell’s, Cabela’s and Gander Outdoors — step up and fill the gaps left by Sports Authority’s departure, but the sporting goods manufacturers can step up their own retail game: Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Lululemon, and so on.

Many of these larger brands have already found the secret sauce that lets them pursue the different opportunities, picking up the online retail sales, as well as better utilizing their retail stores both to bring in more foot traffic and move some of their inventory.

EDI for sporting goods retail, supply chain

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) can give smaller retailers and suppliers the same efficiency, agility, and scalability they need to be better, faster, and stronger than they have been, and start matching the larger brands in speed and flexibility.

For one thing, EDI enables retailers and suppliers to exchange information related to a transaction automatically. Inventory analytics tells a retailer when they’re nearly out of a product — say, baseball and softball bats — and triggers an alert. The buyer sends an EDI purchase order for the appropriate number of bats, which triggers a PO acknowledgment based on the number of bats the supplier has in their inventory.

The bats are picked and packed, an advanced shipping notification (ASN) is sent, followed by an accurate packing list complete with scannable barcodes, and then an invoice. After automatic three-way matching of the PO, packing list and invoice (purchase order-to-invoice reconciliation with no humans involved), the invoice is paid, and the system continues to monitor POS data to trigger a new order of bats at the appropriate time.

Similarly, EDI can empower retailers to work closely with drop ship-capable suppliers to manage their online fulfillment. By connecting the retailer’s website to the supplier’s inventory, customers can see which items are still available in real-time. When they place an order with the retailer, the order is also transmitted to the supplier who keeps the inventory in their warehouses. They pick and ship the order to the customer with the retailer’s branded packing materials, so the customer never knows it didn’t come straight from the retailer.

The inventory is then updated in the supplier’s system, which then automatically updates the inventory count for all retailer partners also displaying the supplier’s inventory on their website. This helps each retailer and the supplier avoid stock-outs and angry customers.

SPS and EDI for sporting goods retail

Sporting goods is about more than just soccer, football and baseball. SPS Commerce has worked with hockey and lacrosse suppliers, outdoor gear, shooting sports, golf, and even running and endurance sports. You can read several case studies on our website (visit any of these links) to see how different sporting goods stores used EDI to solve many of their problems.

If you would like to learn more about how SPS Commerce can help sporting goods retailers and suppliers, please visit our website. You can also ask to speak to our EDI specialists to learn more about how EDI can help you streamline your system.

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Scott Bolduc

Scott Bolduc

Director of Supply Chain Strategy at SPS Commerce
Scott Bolduc is a multi-time winner of the Supply & Demand Chain Executive Pros to Know. He has worked with e-commerce retailers on their growth strategies and helped retailers transform their freight spending strategies to maximize efficiencies.
Scott Bolduc

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