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One of the coolest VP Ecommerce jobs around!

We are working with Academy Sports + Outdoors in their search for a VP of Ecommerce based in Katy, Texas, just 36 minutes from Houston. Ranked #114 in Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, Academy Sports operates 190 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 latest TV ad (I love this campaign, btw.)…

HARRY’S COMMENTS: We’ve worked with Academy Sports before and it’s always a pleasure. Lovely people. VERY driven. Intensely bright. This time around the client seeks a world-class VP of Ecommerce to lead its long-term planning for both ecommerce sales and the underlying technology platforms that will enable its growth.

Apart from operating 200 stores, Academy launched its ecommerce website, Academy.com, in 2011. Academy Sports + Outdoors is a premier sports, outdoor and lifestyle retailer with a broad assortment of high-quality hunting, fishing and camping equipment and gear along with sports and leisure products, footwear, apparel and much more. Academy also provides services such as credit cards, gift cards, and hunting and fishing licenses.

Over the last several decades, the company has grown substantially from its small beginnings. Sales reached $1 billion dollars in 2004, $2 billion dollars in 2007, and $3 billion dollars in 2012. Today, annual sales exceed $4 billion. (That’s a 14.9% CAGR!) The firm’s 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 consumers 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 client seeks to accomplish through its ecommerce initiatives — and the stakes couldn’t be higher: 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. Each of these players is formidable, but Academy has accomplished amazing things in a relatively short period of time.

About the Role

Let’s begin here: Strong leadership is critical in this role. Academy’s bench of rising stars is very deep, so it’s essential that the new VP have a long track record of leading, developing and building teams (ideally in previous VP Ecommerce jobs). In particular, we are looking for someone with the following traits …

  • Command skills: Not afraid to take charge when trouble comes; does whatever it takes to get the job done despite resistance; faces difficult situations with guts and tenacity; encourages direct debate but isn’t afraid to end it and move on; is looked to for direction in a crisis; enjoys leading.
  • Setting priorities: Spends his/her time and the time of the team on what’s important; can quickly sense what will help or hinder the accomplishment of a goal; eliminates roadblocks; creates simple processes and measures; creates focus; can figure out quickly which brushfires will become forest fires; zeros in on the critical few tasks and puts the trivial many aside.
  • Motivating others: Can motivate many kinds of team members; can assess each person’s hot button and use it to get the best out of them; pushes tasks and decisions down; empowers; invites input from each person and shares ownership and visibility; makes each individual feel his/her work is important; individuals like working with this person.
  • Results-oriented: Always beats plan and even stretch objectives; constantly and consistently one of the top performers; very bottom-line oriented; pushes self and others relentlessly for results.
  • Decision quality: Makes good decisions based on a mixture of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; Most of his/her solutions and suggestions turn out to be correct when judged over time.
  • Customer focus: Is dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of both internal and external customers; uses customers as a source for needed improvements in products and services; interacts with customers on a regular basis; has first-hand customer information; establishes and maintains effective working relationships with customers and gains their trust and respect.
  • Drive / Action orientation: Enjoys working hard at the things he/she likes; is action oriented and full of energy for the things that he/she sees as challenging; not fearful of acting with a minimum of planning; is willing to seize opportunities when they arise.

And more.

Candidates, we spent 56 minutes on the phone with this role’s hiring manager and we were taking copious notes the entire time. As part of this search’s intel packet, we have fleshed-out a list of the eight functional areas where you’ll be expected to make a significant impact in your first 12 months on the job.

Additionally, we can provide you with five key initiatives that you will be expected to execute against in your first 100 days. We can also step you through your typical day/week as Academy’s new VP of Ecommerce, plus give you a great idea of what to expect in the hiring process.

You don’t want to apply without this intel! If you’d like to chat with us about this position, please apply below. Or TEXT [your name] + “Academy intel” to Harry at (404) 281-2025.

View Harry Joiner's LinkedIn profileView Harry Joiner’s profile


  • Lead long-term planning for ecommerce sales and the related technological advancement that the organization needs to embrace in order to continue growth trajectory
  • Maintain constant awareness of Academy’s competitive set and the actions of industry leaders
  • Continually adapt Academy’s strategy as required to achieve revenue/profit goals and to ensure a relevant experience for Academy’s customers
  • Direct and prioritize all future enhancements to Academy.com
  • Lead the development of business plans identifying optimal revenue models, distribution, pricing, and merchandising strategies
  • Explore, evaluate and introduce new technologies that will propel the organization forward
  • Lead strategic extension of Academy’s in-store customer service into digital touch-points, including mobile applications, social channels, and websites to optimize the optimal customer experience across all platforms
  • Manage the omnichannel budget with accountability for capex / opex spend, as well as the overall P&L for ecommerce
  • Own the development, performance management, and succession planning of the eCommerce team
  • Develop communication materials suitable for Executive Committee or Board
  • Overall responsibility for academy.com, including Merchandising, Site Operations, Digital Marketing (SEM, display, digital video, email, SMS, etc.), UX, product management, and omnichannel capabilities (ship from store, order in store, etc.)
  • Lead analysis of current omnichannel environment to detect deficiencies and/ or opportunities and recommend solutions
  • Analyze current and projected ROI’s on all initiatives to assist in long-term planning for the digital businesses and required assets
  • Be the primary business owner and subject-matter expert for all digital touchpoints
  • Shape and evolve vision for digital products (web, mobile, app, new technology) and ensure top quality customer experience remains the primary consideration in all related work
  • Maintain the global roadmap for the digital products including sequencing and timing of capabilities and features as well as rollout and test markets.
  • Ensure the company provides customers with an exceptional user experience across all digital touch-points
  • Drive vision for the overall digital experience, in collaboration with senior leadership, and in keeping with brand standards and expectations.
  • Ensure solutions that deliver integrated digital experiences and achieve overall customer experience objectives – approachable, empowering, engaging, personal, simple, and easy to use
  • Serve as an expert on experience; maintain an appropriate focus on UX and design to ensure short-term needs do not sacrifice quality.
  • Required to learn company policies, procedures and safety rules


  • Bachelor’s degree in retail, ecommerce, merchandising or similar field of study / MBA preferred
  • 10 + years of experience in eCommerce
  • 5 + years in managing a retail / ecommerce environment with a proven track record in creating and building a successful, fast growing ecommerce business
  • Demonstrated track record of embracing technology, developing process and techniques to optimize operations, drive growth and brand differentiation
  • Strong proficiency in online merchandising, user experience design and usability best practices
  • Proven innovative strategic thinking combined with pragmatic execution and results delivery, able to manage multiple projects/ initiatives simultaneously while meeting deadlines and business objectives
  • Analytically driven approach to management and decision-making, with proficiency in web analytics, customer segmentation and testing/optimization techniques
  • Demonstrated success in managing technical implementation projects, defining business requirements and priorities, and working with IT partners to execute on a technology roadmap
  • Demonstrated leadership capability in recruiting, assessing, retaining and managing a high performing team
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate complex concepts and analyses across all levels of the organization to influence others
  • Clear understanding of ecommerce industry best practices, able to effectively benchmark site capabilities to best in class sites
  • Outstanding analytical, process and operation skills, technically proficient.
  • Ability to flex between micro and macro level thinking and work with all levels of management
  • Ability to synthesize sales data, customer insights, competitive and market trends and market data into site merchandising strategies
  • Demonstrated track record developing and driving measurable results through projects to improve customer experience, satisfaction and website conversion
  • Strong understanding of customer behavior
  • Acceptable level of hearing and vision to perform job duties

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Allan Seibert. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Allan 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.

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