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Active Participant

If retailers want to build loyalty they need to offer more than deals and discounts. Good prices are important but consumers also need to feel good about their purchase and the overall experience. If they trust that a retailer cares about the environment, their health, and their community as much as it cares about profits, it makes a lasting impression.

At Sports Basement, a sporting goods retailer in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s all about building community. The company has six huge stores, but they act like small shops and operate like community centers.  As soon as you walk into one you know you are in for a different type of retail experience.

Engage with Customers

In an average year, Sports Basement hosts more than 60,000 members of the community in its space. Every day, local athletes and community groups use stores for club meetings, potluck dinners, classes, and events. “We’ve evolved as a company and want to become better at how we interact with customers and their desire to be more engaged in their communities,” said David Rumberg, partner and CIO at Sports Basement.

As CIO, Rumberg looks for technology that helps him stay connected to the community and customers and grow the business. He requires flexible, scalable business solutions that can adapt quickly to changing market conditions. “I’m looking to create a foundation so that I can react as the challenges come at me,” said Rumberg.

To build the IT and business platform it needed, Sports Basement selected software from SAP.  “My SAP landscape is pretty comprehensive,” said Rumberg. “We are live on the SAP for Retail solution portfolio, we are live on the SAP ERP Financials solution, we run the SAP Point-of-Sale application, we do all our procurement on SAP, and we do all our receiving on SAP.”

Simplify the Business

Simplifying business processes is important to Sports Basement. “Simplification is really core to being adaptive and reactive in this new retail landscape,” said Rumberg. With SAP software in place, Sports Basement was able to unify its customer and product information. It also simplified the financial close process and gained clarity into its operations. For, instance it now knows its inventory position at any point in time. That’s important to a company when its average store size is 65,000 square feet with 25,000 different stock items.

Business growth is also a top priority for Sports Basement. “We’d like to open a new store every six months,” said Rumberg. To support that type of growth the company must have a solid business and IT platform in place. “We believe that the foundation that we’ve build on SAP is affording us that ability to grow,” said Rumberg.

Create Opportunity

With more growth comes more customers, more communities to support, and more data. To tackle the Big Data challenge, Sports Basement is looking into the SAP HANA platform. “SAP HANA is a tool that unleashes a lot of capability,” said Rumberg. He would like to explore ways to use Big Data to better connect with the community. And as the company expands into omnichannel commerce, he feels new and interesting opportunities will emerge. “SAP HANA’s ability to deliver this type of information and not bring my whole system to a crippling halt is sort of terrific,” said Rumberg.

Sports Basement is building its business around community and trust – two important ingredients for success. “SAP is helping us build trust with our customers, and ultimately in this world of lots of choices, trust is the thing you need to trade on the most,” said Rumberg.

Check out this video interview with Rumberg to learn more about the SAP implementation at Sports Basement:

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