Magazine Article | April 25, 2012

Cross-Channel Platform Drives Inventory Efficiency

May 2012 Retail CoverBy Matt Pillar, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine

This year marks 63 years in business for family-owned Fontana Sports, and in that time it has grown from a small army-navy surplus store to a two-site, 50-employee cross-channel retailer. The company recently completed the integration of its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce systems on the Celerant Command Retail system. “We had an e-commerce site, but it wasn’t running on live inventory,” says John Hutchinson, president, whose parents started the business. The disparity between its e-commerce and store operations created a costly burden. “Our website ran totally independently of the stores. We were managing Web inventory on spreadsheets, which required dedicated data entry and monitoring labor. We would process Web orders manually as well, taking orders in batches and fulfilling them through stores,” explains Hutchinson. In addition, inventory inaccuracy created a customer service problem. Because of its Web/store operational and inventory disparity, Fontana’s Web catalog was frequently inaccurate. “We would often show merchandise on the site, and in reality it would be out of size or out of stock,” says Hutchinson. “Attempting to keep the website up to date was a labor-intensive, costly endeavor.”