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."