In order to run your sporting goods store in the most efficient way possible, not only do you need the right staff, but you also need to have the right software and hardware systems in place to set you up for success.
When it comes to software and hardware, the cornerstone of any sporting goods store is its POS system. Keeping the right inventory in stock, changing equipment with the seasons, notifying regular customers of new items, reducing storage needs, and more, are just some ofg the ways a good POS setup can help your store.
In this guide, we we will cover:
A sporting goods store point of sale system, combines POS software and hardware that has been specifically designed with the unique needs of sports stores in mind.
Aside from standard POS features like: tracking customer information, printing receipts, managing inventory, and accepting payments; a POS tailored to sporting goods includes: seasonal inventory management, work order management (for repairs, sharpening, and maintenance), equipment rental management, and much more.
A good sporting goods store point of sale, will not only help you keep your best selling items in stock, but it will also allow you to forecast your demand, notify you when it might be time to put items on sale, and reduce the costs of storing inventory until the next sports season for items that do not sell.
Look for robust inventory management with your POS and you will benefit from low inventory alerts (warnings that something will sell out), slow inventory alerts (items that may need to be discounted), dusty inventory prevention (items you need to move before end of season), which free up inventory and drive more sales revenue.
As a sports store owner, you probably do your best to stock as many items as your customers want, but at the same time you know that you are unable to stock everything. That is where a strong POS can help you, with integrated catalogs, you can offer your customers every item a supplier has, even if it is currently not stocked in your store.
If your customer wants a certain pair or Bauer ice skates, or the latest Nike cleats, and you do not have it in stock. Simply order it directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler, and have them ready for pick up in store a few days later.
Treat your customers the way they deserve to be treated, keep track of important dates from birthdays to the start of their next season, to their favorite sports team for when you get in some fresh jerseys.
By using your point of sale for customer management you can improve your customer support, marketing, and promotions with ease.
With centralized supplier purchasing, inventory management, employee management, accounting, sales data, and customer management, a POS has an abundance of data that allows retail sporting goods store owners to make better decisions faster.
Which items should you buy more of, which should you carry less of, who are your top sales associates, when should you discount, how do you maximize profits... are all questions that your POS can provide with simple reporting and data.
Overall this leads to faster business decisions and better decisions that will make your store run more efficiently.
From tax and regulatory requirements, to legal requirements (in the event your store sells restrictive goods or offers licenses), the customer management side of a sporting goods pos system will make your efforts to stay compliant a lot easier.
This often overlooked benefit of a POS software, can save you a lot of headaches longterms by automating filings for you, your customers, and your store.
Many sporting goods stores offer repairs and maintenance alongside the sale of brand new items. Whether a customer needs a tennis racket restrung, a pair of skis, a snowboard, or ice skates sharpened, or brakes or gears changed on their bicycle, a lot of incremental revenue can be made by offering these services.
If your sporting goods store is offering repairs, you can definitely benefit from having a work order management software built directly into your point of sale system. Work order management software allows you to track time and cost of repairs, inventory or assets needed to complete the repairs (from new strings to oil for roller blades), as well as due dates and overdue tasks so that customers do not show up to find their equipment not ready.
Many sporting goods point of sale systems offer this feature standard as part of their POS, and it tends to be a must have for sports retailers.
Another common practice at sporting goods stores is that they pay employees greater commissions on soft goods, like clothing and apparel items, than they do on hard goods, like helmets and snowboards. This is typically due to the fact that hard goods tend to have both a higher sales price, and lower profit margins for the store.
If your store gives a 10% commission on clothing, an 8% commission on shoes, and a 5% commission on bicycles, you need a POS system that can track these various categories easily and calculate your employee commissions accordingly.
If your sporting goods store pays employee commission for the items they sell as oppose to strictly hourly wages, you will definitely want to consider finding a POS with commission management capabilities.
For many sporting goods stores, a change of season means a complete change of inventory. The summer months bring out baseball, football, soccer, and tennis equipment, while the winter months bring out skis and snowboards, ice skates and hockey gear. However when a new season begins, or the last season ends, you need to be able to quickly turnover your inventory.
Inventory management that can handle large product matrices are also key to managing your inventory efficiently. What are inventory matrices? If you have a skate available in sizes 7 to 13 for men, and it is available in 3 different colors, you technically have 21 item variations to track. Making sure you POS can handle that is key to not cluttering up your product database.
Not every sporting goods store offers equipment rentals, but those that do have the option of having two separate systems (one for their point of sale, and one their rental business) or a system that does both. Now the good news is that in the case that you have 2 distinct systems, there are many integrations available to connect the systems in a simple way, however having a single system that handles both can be a huge time saver.
That is why it is important that when choosing a POS for your sports shop, you make sure you inquire about rental capabilities, or at the very least whether the system is able to integrate with your point of sale.
What exactly is an integrated catalog in a point of sale? An integrated catalog connects your POS to a list of all products that are available for purchase from the vendors, wholesalers, and manufacturers you already work with. This allows you to order products on-demand directly from your vendors whenever your customers request them.
To clarify, many sporting goods stores choose not to buy every snowboard in every size that a manufacturer sells. This would not only be extremely expensive, but it would lead to headaches with storage, discounting in the event of leftover stock, and even displaying the items in store in a way that customers can see them.
That is why integrated catalogs are so useful, they give sporting goods stores access to a wider range of inventory that they can offer to customers, but only have to have on hand after an order has been placed.
If your sporting goods store offers any items that local, state, or federal law requires tracking of, you will want to make sure your point of sale supports this. Whether you are selling hunting knives, paintball equipment, or even spray paint for field lines, you may need to keep a record of all sales, in order to comply with the laws in your jurisdiction.
Some point of sale systems allow you to keep customer information (including purchase history and copies of identification) for any purchases that might be restricted in your area. If you offer any products that may require sales tracking, ID scanning, or ID verification, you should make sure you check with your POS provider before signing your contract.
If the schools in your area have specific requirements for physical education uniforms or equipment, or if the school sport leagues in your area require specific protective gear or uniforms that meet certain requirements, you could lose out on a lot of business if you do not know what they are and carry the appropriate stock.
If that sounds like something you see in your area, look for a pos system that integrates with school athletic systems, or that at the very least allows you to carry customer information pertaining to these requirements.
Through customer management features that come standard with many cloud-based POS systems, you should also be able to track equipment needed for teams and leagues the same way you do fo schools. Whether certain colors are required, or cleats have to be (or not be) metal studded, or certain padding must be used, you can deliver a much better customer experience by having that data readily available if someone asks.
If your sporting goods store offers any form of hunting or fishing licenses, or Federal Duck Stamps for hunting duck or migratory birds, you will need a feature or add-on in your POS that can track these sales and report on them if/when requested.
Further, you will probably want some customer management features, that notify license purchases when their license becomes available, which will save you time by removing a manual step from the process.
If your sporting goods store offers live bait, chemical attractants, or other perishable goods used in hunting or fishing, you may require the more rare feature of expiry date tracking in your point of sale.
Expiry date tracking records the expiry date of your items when they are scanned into inventory, so that you know when to discount items close to expiry, or when to take them off the shelves if they do not sell prior to expiring.
A note of caution on this, some of the best POS systems do not offer this feature, so unless it is a major issue for your business, you might want to forgo this feature in exchange for other features a POS without expiry tracking provides.
A sporting goods POS system is ideal for: