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Feedvisor Customer Spotlight: Schuylkill Valley Sports

We sat down with Feedvisor customer Ryan Kistler, e-commerce manager at Schuylkill Valley Sports, to discuss the company's enterprise Amazon business. By IT October 22, 2018
Feedvisor Customer Spotlight: Schuylkill Valley Sports
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About the Author

Schuylkill Valley Sports is a renowned retailer specializing in sporting goods and a full line of athletic footwear and apparel. In business since 1971 and currently operating 16 U.S. store locations, SV Sports is a relative newcomer to Amazon. The company is quickly becoming an established Amazon and e-commerce retailer. We sat down with Ryan Kistler, e-commerce manager at SV Sports, to discuss the company’s operational model, how his team leverages data, and his opinion on the direction of e-commerce. 

What Brought You to Feedvisor?

We tested out two repricers on the market prior to Feedvisor. However, with the wide breadth of our catalog and the number of products that we needed to reprice, it quickly became evident that there were gaps with the previous solutions we were using. That’s when we turned to Feedvisor. So far, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in revenues, repricing, and inventory performance. The data and customizable reports that Feedvisor provides us with is unparalleled and enables us to operate at scale.

How Did You Start Selling on Amazon?

Our company first started selling on Amazon about eight years ago and I joined the e-commerce department five years ago. The potential of selling on the marketplace was too big of an opportunity to miss. At the beginning, our handle on the storefront was sporadic, our catalog was far from optimized, and it was more of a trial and error experiment. Within a few years, things started to kick off and we began seeing a return on investment. Today, Amazon is a major driving force behind our success.

How Is Your Team Built?

Today we have about 300 employees working both offline and online. The company structure is broken into three distinct branches: retail brick-and-mortar, a division that focuses on wholesale equipment and uniforms for organizations, schools, and universities, and our e-commerce business.

Can You Tell Us About Your Sourcing Process?

We resell and usually buy directly from the manufacturers, which also includes some distributors. This gives us access to all the major brands within the sporting goods industry.

How Do You Use Data to Scale Your Business?

My number one job right now is to figure out how we can integrate and automate all the operational processes in one place for scalability.

To What Do You Attribute Your Success?

Keeping up with the latest trends and adapting to the times is absolutely critical in our industry. With big players like Sports Authority who have had to close down, you need to know when, and when not, to put all your eggs in one basket in the world of retail brick-and-mortar. Thanks to the diversity of e-commerce platforms and their ability to adapt, our online business has been able to stand out and remain relevant.

What Is the Biggest Challenge You’ve Faced on Amazon?

By far the biggest challenge is the brand restrictions and limitations we have to navigate through. The reluctance of brands to sell their products on third-party marketplaces makes things more difficult. In the last few years, it has improved as brands are realizing that Amazon is where they need to be. We have created exclusive partnerships with specific brands, whereby we are the only seller allowed on third-party marketplaces for those brands.

What Is Your Best Advice for Sellers?

Finding the right companies to partner with is vital. There are so many companies out there now that provide expert services on Amazon. You need to cherry-pick through the best ones and use their resources and offerings so you can focus on the part of the business that someone else can’t help you with.

What Direction Is E-Commerce Heading in?

E-commerce is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The trend will continue to intensify and shape the landscape of retail.

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