– Case Study –

SPS Commerce & AcuSport: A Success Story

  • Customer Type:
  • Industry:
    Outdoor & Shooting Sports
  • Headquarters:
    Bellefontaine, OH
  • Retail channels:
    Retail Centers, Warehouses
  • SPS Product(s):
  • Network Member Since:

Executive Summary

Founded in 1965, AcuSport is now a leading distributor of outdoor and shooting products. The company operates two warehouses and seven regional sales offices in order to supply 2,200+ retailers across all 50 states. AcuSport’s customers represent nearly 50% of the total shooting sports market at retail. For the past several years, AcuSport has led its industry’s transformation to become more consumer-centric through its advanced customer support and analytics. The company works to provide their retailers and manufacturers with dynamic insight into buying trends that are driving change in the industry.

For several years AcuSport has led its industry’s transformation to become more consumer-centric through advanced analytics and customer intelligence. The company is driving new efficiencies and customer loyalty to some of the industry’s biggest brands and independent retailers with this initiative that combines big data and cross-industry collaboration. AcuSport is equipping manufacturers and their retailers with dynamic insight into buying trends that are driving higher in-stock rates, higher margins and fewer markdowns. Overall, the industry is becoming smarter about stocking the shelves with the products in highest demand.

To launch this initiative, AcuSport chose to partner with SPS Commerce in order to become the shooting sports industry’s first company to aggregate and share sales data with both manufacturers and retailers, so all parties can make fact-based decisions for their customers.


The Challenge:

Aggregate and share sales data with manufacturers and retailers

The Solution:

Launch a user-friendly,cloud-basedd reporting solution

The Results:

Manufacturers are building fewer products that don’t have a market and fill rates improved

Voice of the Customer for All

In 2013, the SPS Analytics solution empowered AcuSport to launch a user-friendly, cloudbased reporting solution, branded as CustomerLink Exchange and offered to AcuSport’s trading partners at no charge. The solution makes point-of-sale (POS) information accessible to its supply chain partners, including hundreds of retailers and suppliers who represent nearly half of the shooting sports market. Through the solution, sales data from a growing number of participating retailers is used by manufacturers to populate a variety of reports, equipping them with new strategic insights for guiding product development and manufacturing activity based on market demand.

“When we first brought the analytics solution to our customers, none of the manufacturers were looking at independent retail sales or competitive comparison data,” Broering said. “Through the SPS application, they can now determine if their market share is growing and where, which price points are underserved and which products aren’t moving. All of this allows them to produce a smaller assortment of in-demand products while growing overall sales.”

CustomerLink Exchange benefits retailers by offering access to synthesized POS data for more than 340 store locations — a group that collectively represents more than $1 billion in annual sales. This broader view on the market equips retailers to better protect their margins and reduce markdowns by focusing their assortments on products that will sell quickly. It also makes them more accountable for their buying decisions, since their sales performance can be readily compared to the competition.

“We use these reporting capabilities within AcuSport as well to spot trends by category, speed up or slow down our buying, and guide assortment optimization discussions with retailers,” Broering said. “Together, we are better ensuring that shoppers find the exact products they want to buy, rather than having to just settle for what’s in stock.”

Tangible Positive Results

According to Broering, CustomerLink Exchange has created a positive ripple effect across the AcuSport supply
chain. “First and foremost, the manufacturers we work with are building fewer products that don’t have a market,” he said. “We believe this directly relates to the improved fill rates among our retailers that are now pushing 80 percent. The more customer-centric model is spurring our growth as well. AcuSport has seen 50 percent yearover-year growth with our participating retailers, which is more than three times the industry average. Retailers and manufacturers are reaping the benefits of the application and their partnership with AcuSport.

Retailers are using this data to streamline their process, often removing 2-3 days/week from their buyer’s processes. These merchants are now able to dedicate more time to finding unique items, developing promotions and increasing sales, instead of simply procuring inventory. For those suppliers and retailers using the SPS solution, inventory turns have increased two or three-fold and fill rates are at 80 percent and getting better every month.

At the time of this writing, AcuSport and SPS Commerce were in the process of adding planogram automation capabilities to CustomerLink Exchange, as a means of helping independent retailers better compete with big-box stores for cost and fulfillment.

“It all ties back to our mission of empowering the industry to better serve consumers,” Broering said. “Our work with SPS has helped to position AcuSport as not merely a distributor, but a true business partner that is committed to the long-term retailer and manufacturer success. The increased sales numbers prove it.”

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