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We are working with Academy Sports + Outdoors in their search for an Ecommerce Merchandising Manager based in Katy, Texas, just 36 minutes from Houston. Ranked #143 in Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, Academy Sports operates 140 stores across the southeastern United States.
These stores offer a broad selection of equipment, apparel, and footwear at everyday low prices — a formula that has allowed the company to become a leader in the sporting goods industry. Check out Academy’s recent TV ad featuring the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith …
HARRY’S COMMENTS: Although Academy Sports has seen a number of candidates for this role, candidates have been focused more on organic search and online marketing versus ecommerce merchandising — which is what this role is really about.
And it’s a Houston ecommerce job in a cool industry, no less.
The sporting goods industry is one of the most rewarding we’ve worked with. The US retail sporting goods industry includes about 20,000 companies with combined revenue of about $38 billion. Companies in this industry operate physical retail stores specializing in sporting goods, athletic and fitness wear, fitness equipment, and related products.
Major companies include Cabela’s, Dick’s, Hibbett Sports, REI, and The Sports Authority. Sporting goods are also sold by mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target.
This role is centered around Academy’s “Field and Stream” category, and in researching my commentary for this post, I discovered a five year study done by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which sought to match fishing license holder addresses with Tapestry data to track the license buying history for individual Anglers.
In the study, researchers sought to address questions such as …
- What type of individual is more likely to drop out of fishing?
- Who is more likely to become a new angler?
- Are anglers likely to have children?
- Are anglers single or married?
- Do anglers embrace city life or want to escape to rural retreats?
- Do anglers purchase luxury products?
- What media outlets do anglers use?
The results provide a glimpse of who may be buying in Academy’s Field and Stream category: The typical angler is a male between the ages of 30 and 60 who purchased a fishing license in his state of residence. Additionally, a typical angler lives in a rural area or small town, holds a blue-collar job and earns an average or below average income.
Less than 15% of anglers bought a license in each of the past five years, and over 40% of anglers bought a license only once during that same time frame. This seems to contradict the long-held belief that America’s anglers are loyal license buyers …
Meaning, you may not get a second chance to convert these buyers!
In this role, you must know how to drive Academy.com’s online business by the numbers. This means understanding traditional retail metrics plus ecommerce KPIs such as conversion rate, gross profit after shipping, as well as understanding how to manage inventory. Candidates with a drop shipping background might not have the inventory management skill Academy seeks in this position.
Additionally, Academy.com needs a candidate who understands how to leverage ATG, Websphere, or similar platforms. A basic knowledge of logistics and supply chain would be useful too. Moreover, it’s essential that the new hire understand what’s driving visitor traffic and work to optimize those channels.
For example, in working with Academy’s search team and the Web analyst, you might ask “If comparison-shopping engines are feeding us a lot of traffic, how do we get more of that?” Having a good knowledge of each of these channels is important. It’s not critical to have managed these channels, but you’ll need to understand how organic search, paid search, and comparison shopping engines work. Which of course means you’ll need to understand content well enough to work with the content team to improve Academy’s Field and Stream category performance in its search channels.
This includes site search, which is part and parcel of all merchandising these days. In fact, you can expect to be asked about site search during the interview process. Site search receives a significant percentage of Academy.com’s homepage traffic, and a huge part of the merchant’s job is to make sure that it’s optimized properly.
If you think you can do that, then we’d love for you to apply below.
- Manages and oversees the site merchant team who are responsible for building out taxonomy, category pages, brand showcases, on-site search optimization and SEO strategy for respective division of the website.
- Collaborates with DMM to review assortment for eCommerce (created by site merchant/buyers) to achieve sales and gross profit goals and improved customer satisfaction scores.
- Partners with Internet Marketing to drive overall divisional traffic and conversion using paid search, affiliate display and other opportunities.
- Builds effective metric goals and site plans with site merchants to grow the sales, margin and gross profit after shipping within the site and their assigned division.
- Overall responsibility of respective Division Performance online inclusive of executing Buying Guides, Product Selectors, and other tools to drive conversion.
- Works with Buying Office, Academy’s Legal team and vendor representatives to ensure all needed eCommerce Vendor Agreements are executed and on file for eCommerce products.
- Manages to completion the schedule of vendor marketing programs, in conjunction with marketing and the buying office.
- Communicates to the VP/DMM and marketing, action plans and items to increase the performance of online metrics.
- Coordinates and presents monthly reviews of what worked, what did not, and what are the needs for each division of the site to drive sales, margin, gross profit after shipping, conversion and traffic.
- Responsible for planning with the eCommerce Site Merchant and Inventory Specialist a twelve week plan on site production updates and helping to identify any potential inventory and/or vendor issues.
Skills and Abilities:
- Bachelor’s degree in relevant field of study or equivalent years of related work experience required.
- Minimum 5 years of related work experience required.
- Ability to work with and take action on web analytics data, as well as allocation and replenishment data to drive and grow eCommerce sales
- Ability to work as a strong conduit between Merchandising and eCommerce departments
- Proficiency with Excel, Word and possibly Access. Knowledge of eCommerce merchandising software such as Websphere, ATG and Broadvision is a plus
- Some travel may be required
Applications for this position are being coordinated by Richard Pirkle. To apply, CLICK HERE. Candidates, please be sure to email Richard for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.
PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (through us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.