Solutions

Online retailer of licensed pro sports fan gear handles product and inventory management with FileMaker Pro

TeamMASCOT.com

Fans of baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and stock car racing know where to turn for licensed big–league merchandise, TeamMASCOT.com. This online retailer offers a complete line of fully–licensed pro sports memorabilia, offering nearly 10,000 different items. Even though the inventory is large, the business itself is small, managing all those products and maintaining a busy web presence with powerful FileMaker Pro databases.

Overview

  • Online retailer carrying a full line of officially licensed professional sports merchandise, including products from the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA, Major League Baseball, and NASCAR.
  • Based in Redmond, OR
  • Approximately 5 employees

Industry

  • Retail/Wholesale

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro product and inventory management system organizes a catalog of nearly 10,000 different items, making them available for direct purchase over the web.

FileMaker Pro 8 allows us to save by minimizing development costs and speeding productivity. Without FileMaker Pro 8, the alternatives would mean the expensive and lengthy development of applications that would exceed our company's financial resources.

— Chris Tracewell, Partner, TeamMASCOT.com

Business Challenge

The licensed sports merchandise market is constantly growing and always changing. Every season there are new products, new trends, and new demands alongside the time–tested favorites that endure from year to year. That means any successful retailer of sports fan gear needs the capability to effectively manage a vast inventory and maintain a catalog that is always in tune with the tastes of the moment, but always with the sports fan in mind. "Our typical customer is either a sports fan or buying for a sports fan in their lives," says TeamMASCOT partner Chris Tracewell. But there are also opportunities to explore partnership promotions beyond the standard retail market. "We often sell to larger companies," Chris adds, "and have delivered products to the likes of Dell and ESPN for corporate events or promotions."

It's a difficult market in which to carve out a niche — especially when you're a small company and that's where offering the widest possible selection is essential. "Our organization catalogs thousands of products," Chris continues. "We're approaching 10,000 items, and thus efficiency is essential to keep inventory, product pricing, and pictures accurate."

TeamMASCOT turned to FileMaker Pro in 1999 after singling it out as the most efficient, easy–to–develop solution available. "We looked at a lot of GUI/RAD database application for the work we needed done," Chris recalls, "but we chose FileMaker Pro because it was the easiest, most flexible and solid package we tried. We needed software that could handle and parse large data sets, had good AppleScript support, allowed Drag and drop functionality, and could communicate with our website, XML feeds, and http services."

Successful Solution

"Our FileMaker Pro solution allows us to handle vendor product information in large quantities and somewhat abstract formats," Chris elaborates. "Each vendor sends new data files on a regular basis — some products get added, some get deleted, and others have their pictures, prices and/or descriptions changed. FileMaker Pro allows us to aggregate this information and compare it to what we have on file, spotting items that have changed and those that are questionable. There's no way we could do this manually — but with FileMaker Pro it's a script that checks these records and thus requires only manual review." The system also maintains a running file of images for each product carried in the catalog, and the drag–and–drop capability of FileMaker Pro 8 greatly streamlines the process of loading these files.

FileMaker Pro 8 is definitely easier to use and easier to develop in. The new Relationship Graph makes it easier than ever to organize relationships between tables. This is a huge timesaver when working with complex solutions.

— Chris Tracewell, Partner, TeamMASCOT.com

The system is developed and maintained on–site, and it's here that the new features in FileMaker Pro 8 become most valuable. "FileMaker Pro 8 is definitely easier to use and easier to develop in," comments Chris. "The addition of tabs panels and script variables are huge advances. And the new Relationship Graph makes it easier than ever to organize relationships between tables. This is a huge timesaver when working with complex solutions."

Chris can't put a specific number on the cost savings — but he knows that those savings are meaningful. "FileMaker Pro 8 allows us to save by minimizing development costs and speeding productivity," he emphasizes. "Without FileMaker Pro 8, the alternatives would mean the expensive and lengthy development of applications that would exceed our company's financial resources."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com