Reference story : Intersport Finland

Intersport Finland Ltd wants to offer its online customers the same service experience as the high street shop customers get. To deliver this customer promise, Intersport has launched a solution that will control operations in the warehouse in real time and integrate different background systems into a single entity. The solution is the Abakus system provided by Optiscan Oy.

Our background systems are excellent in their own categories, but the solution for our online shop logistics is Abakus, enabling us to provide our customers with a unique online shopping experience.

Ilkka Saastamoinen, Head of E-Commerce, Intersport Finland Ltd

Abakus is the core of Intersport’s online shop logistics

It is a real-time warehouse and product management and inventory solution with which Intersport improves its customer service and makes warehouse operations more efficient from the point products arrive at a warehouse until they are delivered. Products arrive at Intersport’s warehouse where they are received using barcodes with which the manufacturers or importers have identified the products. When products are received, the barcodes are scanned with handheld readers into the Abakus system, with the product quantity information in the warehouse updated into background systems.

At product reception, more information about the product can be added. Information critical for operations, such as size and weight of selected products, can be fed into the system. This information can also be updated to all background systems integrated into the system.

Abakus – a bridge between background systems

“Thanks to the Abakus system, all information systems in Intersport’s online shop will always have real-time product quantity information both in the shops and in the warehouse.” says Ilkka Saastamoinen, Head of E-Commerce, Intersport Finland Ltd. “This enables online shoppers to see in real time what products are available and in which sizes and colours. When the actual product quantities are known, online shopping orders can be delivered as requested. Situations where products are not available are significantly reduced, and the number of products returned remains low.” says Mr Saastamoinen.

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In order to provide online shops with real-time product and quantity information, Abakus is integrated with many background systems containing Intersport’s product information. The rules for information retrieval, combination and updating have been defined in a single location, in the Abakus integration service, which means that shops’ checkout systems and main warehouses’ ERP systems do not have to communicate with each other.

“Information system changes that were necessary for the integration of various system were only made in the Abakus system, not in all the systems that were integrated.” explains Ilkka Saastamoinen. “This makes it easier to maintain the systems and also saves costs,” he continues. “Our background systems are excellent in their own categories, but the solution for our online shop logistics is Abakus, enabling us to provide our customers with a unique online shopping experience.” says Mr Saastamoinen.

High-quality online shopping logistics ensures that the correct product is sent to the correct customer to the correct address at the correct price. In order to fulfil our delivery promise and to maximise cost-efficiency, orders through Intersport’s online shop are always picked as optimally as possible, either from the online shop warehouse or the high street shop warehouse, or both.

“We no longer pick products with pen and paper in our hands; now technology is used for all warehouse and product management and inventory. Shipment lists are the only pieces of paper you will see at our warehouse.” says Mr Saastamoinen. “Products for orders are picked more quickly nowadays, with fewer errors made. We no longer send the wrong products to our customers, and our customers have been happy.”

“It is important for us at Intersport to offer our customers the best possible experience both in high street and online shops. Online shopping must support the operation of the Intersport chain. We want to offer a multichannel purchasing experience and reliable electronic services, resulting in higher customer commitment.

Our staff will provide all the necessary support and information customers may need. In order to make online shopping as satisfying, we want to go beyond just placing products for sale. Our goal is to prosent our extensive product ranges clearly to our customers, and provide detailed information about the products and sport in general. The most important thing is to help our customers get more out of their hobby.” says Mr Saastamoinen.

More in store

Intersport is planning to develop the system ever further. Currently Abakus is used at Intersport’s online warehouse and the Oulu outlet. The objective is to gradually have all the 62 shops and the wholesale warehouse in Hyrylä to join in the system. We have plans to enable, for example, a product to be changed for another one of a different size or colour.

“Services like this are vital in terms of customer satisfaction.” says Mr Saastamoinen, adding that “Abakus could handle not only returned but also exchanged products. This would enable the system to retain real-time information of which products have been returned, refunded or exchanged.”

Intersport Finland Oy

IIIC-Intersport International Corporation is the brand management and purchasing company of the Intersport Group. With a retail turnover of over EUR 9.9 billion and more than 5,400 associated retailers in 46 countries, Intersport has the worldwide leading position in the sporting goods retail market.

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