Players Sports ERP Case Study

When Mike Wood looked to establish Players Sports he had a clear idea of what he wanted – and what he didn’t want.

What he wanted was to establish a leading edge multi-channel retail sporting goods business targeting serious buyers of equipment for cricket, rugby, rugby league, netball and hockey. He wanted to leave behind the “old-school” retail model where “gut feel” guided purchasing decisions and to base his business on accurate, real-time data and a single integrated business solution.

It was, he says, a big call to take on the New Zealand sporting goods retail market as a start-up and he wanted to lay solid foundations on which he could build a business that was sustainable and allow for future growth.

What he didn’t want was to follow the usual model of cobbling together an array of software packages delivering purchasing, stock control, retail POS, financials, and ecommerce websites.

“I wanted Players Sports to be able to react to market changes immediately, and I wanted good local support that would allow us to make software changes that had a positive effect straightaway.”

“I found most ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems could cope with financial and supply chain planning, but had problems when it came to integrating retail business applications and ecommerce websites, the solution we went with resolved all these concerns.”

Mike Wood, Players Sports

Mike knew of a like-minded sporting goods retailer, Sprint Fit (, which had been established 18 months earlier and was making great headway. He was intrigued to find that Sprint Fit was established by First Software to showcase their ERP and ecommerce platform, so he contacted them and went to have a look at their operation.

What he saw made it an easy decision to go with First Software’s Cloud-based n2 ERP with embedded ecommerce, as it offered the single business platform he was looking for.

Three years later, Players Sports has developed a thriving multi-channel retail business and is considering opening a second store to join its Newmarket, Auckland location.

He anticipates that will be a painless process.

“We were clear we didn’t want multiple systems so that, as we grew, we didn’t have to make major system changes, rip things apart and start again. We found with n2 ERP that it was all there, and it’s constantly improving.

“The core thing for us is the support and general retail knowledge from First Software goes beyond the technology itself.”

“Because n2 ERP provides real-time data, we can tap into information for any time period, category or brand, web sales, and store sales. This enables us to buy smarter. In shoes, for example, we have a footwear buying matrix that tells us which sizes are the most popular. Quite often your gut feeling is wrong and just doesn’t stack up with the actual figures.”

“You make your money when you buy well, which is the key to survival and success in retail.”

n2 ERP allows Players Sports to support its physical retail functions anywhere – for example, the company sponsors Auckland sporting events and operates “pop-up shops”, using just a laptop and an EFTPOS unit.

The company also operates a repair workshop at its Newmarket store, and is able to provide instant quotes at the point of sale.

But the real opportunity, he says, is online. Overall online sales now comprises the majority of the total, although the percentage is lower in cricket goods, a particularly “touch-feel” category.

First Software’s Sales & Marketing Manager, Stewart Martel, says n2 ERP’s latest version has been continually developed over the past seven years, and underpinning the software is the company’s familiarity with the business of retail and distribution. “We understand what it’s like to be in business, we’re not just software developers.”

“We have a substantial resource of customer experience, and all of our customers benefit from every new implementation that we do.”

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