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Just Sport and Leisure: Fighting fit

eCommerce director, Jack Grisley talks to Volo about how Just Sport and Leisure started life as a mail order company, and shares his ambitions to crack America…

Tell us the story of the business
Terry Letchford and Neil Ward formed Just Sport and Leisure in 2002. Before founding the business, Terry owned a number of successful leisure retail stores in London, while Neil was an area manager for a sports goods chain. Just Sport and Leisure started life as a mail order company and then we launched our own website which attracted lots of traffic and sales. However, Amazon then became popular and we made the bold decision to stop selling on our site and just focus on the Amazon store.

“I’m really excited about Amazon’s one-hour delivery service. It gives us retailers more ability to provide first-class customer service.”
When I joined the company last year, I was surprised to find that everything was run off a spreadsheet – the only data we held for our stock was ‘Title’, ‘Stock number’ and ‘Quantity’. That’s honestly all the data we had. At the time we were only selling on Amazon and my aim was to get us to broaden our marketplace channels to eBay at least, but I knew we desperately needed a stock control system.
First of all we used Channel Grabber, which was very beneficial for us to start with because it gave us a chance to build our data. It was the cheaper option, but we started experiencing too many problems and errors with listings. The sales processing was okay but it had its limitations, and to get to the next level we needed a more premium service that would help us on more channels – Volo has really helped us with that. Volo’s reporting dashboard has been a huge benefit. Being able to see what’s a popular seller for us that week or month means we’re able to judge where we should be spending our money because cash is always tight. It’s really good to be able to see what dead stock we have, slash prices and move onto something else.

Within a year we’ve gone from only selling on Amazon.co.uk to now having five platforms on Amazon, plus eBay and our website which we re-launched at the end of last month. That’s six more platforms than last year.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve always been told to watch how trends play out – if something gets too big there will be more people piggybacking it, and the margins will be a lot smaller. So claw away from that and try and be unique to everyone else. If you’ve got a product that someone hasn’t got, demand will be higher. I’m a great believer in consistency and accuracy, so make sure everything you do is 100% correct. If you make one mistake, people always remember and never come back to you and your name is blackened.

What does success mean to Just Sport and Leisure?
Let’s be honest, we’re all here for profit. We want high turnover and our margins to increase, and that is being achieved with all the different tools we’ve implemented. Just Sport and Leisure has always had a six-month plan, a one-year plan and a three-year plan; maybe it has taken the business a bit longer to get to where we are now, but we’re on the right track. Also success is about surviving, we have been around for 15 years and we’ll be here for many more.

What’s the biggest hurdle the business has faced?
Like most ecommerce sellers, our biggest test is reaching the high standards set by ecommerce marketplaces. It’s easy to understand why they create these benchmarks because it keeps valued customers happy by providing the best shopping experience. Getting our Amazon Seller rating up was also a challenge as we were hovering around the 96-97% mark. It’s hard to increase this number, but thanks to all the admin time we’ve saved since implementing the Volo system, we’ve been able to reinvest that into customer experience and push our rating up to 99.5%.

Can you share any moments that transformed the success of the business?
The first turning point for us was when we started selling overseas to Europe. It was a big decision because there was so much to take into consideration such as courier costs, exchange rates and the language barrier. But we’re really glad we did it as Germany is now our biggest market. In terms of other ways we’re going to transform the business, we’re looking at becoming a registered FBA seller on Amazon. We’re going to start by testing a few products to see if it increases sales and takes some weight off our shoulders, so we’re free to concentrate on other growth areas of the business.

What are your top three tips for ecommerce success?
    1. Attention to detail. You could have a thousand products but if you half-heartedly create the listings you might not get any sales, but if you spend time on half or a quarter of those listings it really shows.
    2. Never stand still. In this game you can never be happy and content with what you are doing, so make sure you never stand still in trying to improve processes to run things more efficiently.
    3. Don’t be scared to step into the unknown. It’s always worth having a go at something new that you’re not confident with – whether it’s product, software, advertising, social media, selling platforms or venturing overseas. If you don’t try these things you will never know.
How do you think the world of ecommerce will transform in years to come?
The industry has dramatically changed in the 10 years I’ve been in retail. I’m really excited about Amazon’s one-hour delivery service in London; it’s phenomenal how technology is giving retailers more ability to provide first-class customer service.

What does the future hold for Just Sport and Leisure?
We’ve just re-launched our website – it’s great to have that back up and running so we can start sowing the seeds of success there. We’re also looking at different marketplaces – possibly even cracking America in a year or two. Now there are lower cost couriers and more return solutions out there, America is the big goal.

Want to get your business back in shape? Start your ecommerce adventure today.

Contact us
Go back

Just Sport and Leisure: Fighting fit

eCommerce director, Jack Grisley talks to Volo about how Just Sport and Leisure started life as a mail order company, and shares his ambitions to crack America…

Tell us the story of the business
Terry Letchford and Neil Ward formed Just Sport and Leisure in 2002. Before founding the business, Terry owned a number of successful leisure retail stores in London, while Neil was an area manager for a sports goods chain. Just Sport and Leisure started life as a mail order company and then we launched our own website which attracted lots of traffic and sales. However, Amazon then became popular and we made the bold decision to stop selling on our site and just focus on the Amazon store.

“I’m really excited about Amazon’s one-hour delivery service. It gives us retailers more ability to provide first-class customer service.”
When I joined the company last year, I was surprised to find that everything was run off a spreadsheet – the only data we held for our stock was ‘Title’, ‘Stock number’ and ‘Quantity’. That’s honestly all the data we had. At the time we were only selling on Amazon and my aim was to get us to broaden our marketplace channels to eBay at least, but I knew we desperately needed a stock control system.
First of all we used Channel Grabber, which was very beneficial for us to start with because it gave us a chance to build our data. It was the cheaper option, but we started experiencing too many problems and errors with listings. The sales processing was okay but it had its limitations, and to get to the next level we needed a more premium service that would help us on more channels – Volo has really helped us with that. Volo’s reporting dashboard has been a huge benefit. Being able to see what’s a popular seller for us that week or month means we’re able to judge where we should be spending our money because cash is always tight. It’s really good to be able to see what dead stock we have, slash prices and move onto something else.

Within a year we’ve gone from only selling on Amazon.co.uk to now having five platforms on Amazon, plus eBay and our website which we re-launched at the end of last month. That’s six more platforms than last year.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve always been told to watch how trends play out – if something gets too big there will be more people piggybacking it, and the margins will be a lot smaller. So claw away from that and try and be unique to everyone else. If you’ve got a product that someone hasn’t got, demand will be higher. I’m a great believer in consistency and accuracy, so make sure everything you do is 100% correct. If you make one mistake, people always remember and never come back to you and your name is blackened.

What does success mean to Just Sport and Leisure?
Let’s be honest, we’re all here for profit. We want high turnover and our margins to increase, and that is being achieved with all the different tools we’ve implemented. Just Sport and Leisure has always had a six-month plan, a one-year plan and a three-year plan; maybe it has taken the business a bit longer to get to where we are now, but we’re on the right track. Also success is about surviving, we have been around for 15 years and we’ll be here for many more.

What’s the biggest hurdle the business has faced?
Like most ecommerce sellers, our biggest test is reaching the high standards set by ecommerce marketplaces. It’s easy to understand why they create these benchmarks because it keeps valued customers happy by providing the best shopping experience. Getting our Amazon Seller rating up was also a challenge as we were hovering around the 96-97% mark. It’s hard to increase this number, but thanks to all the admin time we’ve saved since implementing the Volo system, we’ve been able to reinvest that into customer experience and push our rating up to 99.5%.

Can you share any moments that transformed the success of the business?
The first turning point for us was when we started selling overseas to Europe. It was a big decision because there was so much to take into consideration such as courier costs, exchange rates and the language barrier. But we’re really glad we did it as Germany is now our biggest market. In terms of other ways we’re going to transform the business, we’re looking at becoming a registered FBA seller on Amazon. We’re going to start by testing a few products to see if it increases sales and takes some weight off our shoulders, so we’re free to concentrate on other growth areas of the business.

What are your top three tips for ecommerce success?
    1. Attention to detail. You could have a thousand products but if you half-heartedly create the listings you might not get any sales, but if you spend time on half or a quarter of those listings it really shows.
    2. Never stand still. In this game you can never be happy and content with what you are doing, so make sure you never stand still in trying to improve processes to run things more efficiently.
    3. Don’t be scared to step into the unknown. It’s always worth having a go at something new that you’re not confident with – whether it’s product, software, advertising, social media, selling platforms or venturing overseas. If you don’t try these things you will never know.
How do you think the world of ecommerce will transform in years to come?
The industry has dramatically changed in the 10 years I’ve been in retail. I’m really excited about Amazon’s one-hour delivery service in London; it’s phenomenal how technology is giving retailers more ability to provide first-class customer service.

What does the future hold for Just Sport and Leisure?
We’ve just re-launched our website – it’s great to have that back up and running so we can start sowing the seeds of success there. We’re also looking at different marketplaces – possibly even cracking America in a year or two. Now there are lower cost couriers and more return solutions out there, America is the big goal.

Want to get your business back in shape? Start your ecommerce adventure today.

Contact us