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One of the coolest Houston ecommerce jobs on the market!

We are working with Academy Sports + Outdoors in their search for a Sr. Director of Omnichannel based in Katy, Texas, just 36 minutes from Houston. Ranked #143 in Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, Academy Sports operates 161 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: Academy Sports + Outdoors is a sporting and outdoor goods retailer based in Katy, Texas.

Apart from operating 161 retail outlets, Academy launched its ecommerce website, Academy.com, in 2011. Academy also provides services such as credit cards, gift cards, and hunting and fishing licenses. The company’s product portfolio includes footwear, outdoor sporting and camping apparel and equipment, sports equipment, fitness accessories, golf, hunting, fishing and boating accessories, in addition to offering pet care products such as beds, carriers, kennel, toys, food and training products.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors’ vision is to be the premier sports, outdoor and lifestyle store of choice, continuously adapting to its customers’ changing needs. The company’s mission is comprised of three parts:

  1. To deliver an unparalleled shopping experience by providing convenience, offering a broad selection of quality products, delivering exceptional customer service, and selling at everyday low prices.
  2. To know its customers. Customers are Academy’s number one priority as it strives to be the retail destination they can trust.
  3. To respect its associates by creating opportunities for personal growth and career advancement, while promoting teamwork in an enjoyable and rewarding work environment.

Each aspect of Academy’s mission statement informs what the company seeks to accomplish through its digital commerce initiatives. The stakes are really high: The US retail sporting goods industry includes about 20,000 companies with combined annual revenue of about $38 billion. Major players in this space include Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and REI – a veritable murderers’ row of omnichannel commerce retailers. Each of these players has a jump on Academy.com, but VP of Ecommerce Rolf Schultz and his team at Academy.com are catching up fast.

As Academy’s new Sr. Director of Omnichannel, your job will be to assemble and lead cross functional teams and inspire people who are not direct reports to this position. That means being able to share the vision of the company and explain what’s in its project queue as it pertains to digitizing the business across every customer touch point. It won’t be easy, and it is essential that the new hire have a track record of success pulling together informal multifunctional teams.

We need a marketing oriented technologist (not a technology oriented marketer).

This role calls for a business-oriented person who can understand the most salient attributes of marketing, merchandising, technology, and logistics as it pertains to conceiving and executing customer centric projects. And you’ll need to see Academy’s business through its customers eyes.

The typical day for this person will be split between strategy and execution. On the strategy side, Rolf wants to make sure that all of his team members are in lockstep with the industry’s best practices, the competition, and fully understand the entire suite of competitive options for fast followers in the omni-channel world. The new hire must be able to quickly grasp …

  • Where is the greatest friction between the customer and the company?
  • How can we help our customers “self-actualize” through our customer experience? IE, where’s the emotional payoff for customers when they touch our organization?
  • What does our brand stand for, and how can we bring our brand promise to life across a thousand far-flung customer touch points?
  • What technologies are available to Academy to solve these problems?
  • What specifically is preventing Academy Sports from selling more stuff to more people more often for more money – not in the way Academy wants to sell, but in the way each customer wants to buy?

Here’s an example of the type of issue the Sr. Director will manage:

Academy has the budget for an initiative called Save our Sale, which involves getting multiple departments to work together to help a qualified customer buy after they have expressed an interest in a particular item.

Save our Sale begs questions like “What’s the reporting protocol for such a project? How do we execute? What are the project benchmark and timelines?” The Sr. Director will not be responsible for the project planning; Academy already has project managers for that. This role is really about being responsible for the overall success of the project.

This won’t be a one-man show. It can’t be.

The Sr. Director will be responsible for reviewing the project plan, making sure that the plan is “sanity checked,” working with the project managers to augment and change the plan as required, and making sure that the project has excellent buy-in and a more than reasonable chance of success. Once the project has been signed off on, it’s the Sr. Director’s job to implement it on time and under budget, In a resource friendly, reality-based way.

But there will be challenges.

Academy Sports operates in the omnichannel space, and its projects are in a nebulous space as well: Projects are not 100% ecommerce; nor are they fulfillment initiatives, nor store initiatives, nor marketing initiatives per se. Yet they do have very specific components of each of those major functional areas. Therefore, it is essential that the Sr. Director be able to work across functional silos. So, for projects like Shipped from Store, or Save our Sale, there is no way to pinpoint where these initiatives are going to live, be it marketing, logistics, merchandising, etc.

Rolf’s solution (and I think it’s great, btw) is to assign these projects to a specific person whose job it is to make sure that they are completed in a way that does not “tear up” the organization.

A major benefit of this “man-to-project” (like “man-to-man”) approach is that it is essentially functionally agnostic: If Rolf assigned an initiative to the marketing department, it’s natural to think that marketing would bring a marketing orientation towards the project implementation. Likewise, merchandising would have a merchandising oriented approach. Logistics would have a logistics oriented approach. And so on.

Rolf’s approach is functionally agnostic, and it requires that the director see the business through the customers eyes, and do what’s right for the customer across the organization. This ensures that the customers needs are represented, rather than ensuring that each department “gets a seat at the table.”

To hear Rolf describe it, “In this position, we don’t want a marketer. We don’t want a merchant. We don’t want a technologist. We want a true retailer.” Meaning, the new director’s personality, work ethic, intellect, and common sense will be major determining factors in their success.


  • A minimum of 10 years of internet technology execution with progressively increasing responsibilities.
  • Working knowledge of retail processes and operations.
  • Experience managing vendor relationships.
  • A proven track record of delivering enterprise scale initiatives with high quality and adherence to timelines/budgets.
  • Experience with direct accountability for delivering and maintaining high-performing retail web sites.
  • Web back-end operations experience is a must.
  • Practical experience in delivering mobile solutions across multiple platforms.
  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering or related field.
  • Strong change management and communications skills, both verbal and written.
  • Influences shaping and implementation of eCommerce strategy.
  • Subject matter expert in eCommerce technologies and industry trends.
  • Ability to anticipate business evolution and design solutions capable of rapid change.
  • Independent thinker, open to change, flexible and adaptable to situation.
  • A solid understanding of analytics and ability to drive business opportunities across channels based on effective use of relevant data.
  • Acceptable level of hearing and vision to perform job duties.
  • Support the VP of eCommerce in the development and execution of a multi-year strategic vision for Omnichannel:
    • Online – partner with the eCommerce and Marketing teams to implement Web, mobile, tablet omnichannel initiatives.
    • In-store – partner with the Stores team to introduce technology throughout the store to improve customer experience.
    • Fulfillment – partner with the Distribution/fulfillment team to continue vision to make all inventory in the supply chain available to all customers at all touch points.
    • Continuously improve speed to customer / improve fulfillment economics.
  • Lead multiple cross-functional project teams for new initiatives and enhancements of existing initiatives.
  • Partner with IT to develop a tactical omnichannel roadmap and bring the various projects to life on time, on budget, and within scope.
  • Drive innovative solutions based on evolving industry trends in online and mobile commerce.
  • Direct the day to day operations of the existing and future omnichannel initiatives to achieve budgeted KPI, leading both direct and indirect resources, including:
    • Shipping customer orders from stores.
    • In-store use of technology – associate use / customer use, etc.
    • Taking orders in store (in the aisle) for out of stocks and special order product.
    • Ship from multiple DC’s / improve speed to customer / improve fulfillment economics.
  • Partner closely with retail and supply chain technical teams to ensure optimized omni-channel experience for consumers.
  • Mentor and coach team members to support professional learning and growth.
  • Manage capital and expense budgets to support growth in a disciplined manner.
  • Analyze metrics dashboards of digital activity and web KPIs, communicate results and provide recommendations to key team members and management. Utilize analytics information to proactively and swiftly respond to and act upon opportunities and threats.
  • Define and write business and technical use cases requirements that articulate business and technical objectives for the convergence of digital assets as they apply to customer experience.
  • Coordinate and assist in the selection of new technologies that work best with our stores and customers.
  • Duties may change and associate may be required to perform other duties as assigned.


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