Global Sports Pumps Up With Ballystore.com

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Global Sports added another sports-oriented fulfillment client this month when it began processing orders for Bally Total Fitness' new site, www.ballystore.com.


Since opening its 300,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Louisville, KY, last May, Global Sports has bought Fogdog Sports and has successfully enticed several retailers with a Web design and fulfillment package.


The company has redesigned Web sites and taken over online fulfillment for The Athlete's Foot, The Sports Authority and Kmart's BlueLight.com sporting goods division, among others.


Before opening the fulfillment center, the 2-year-old company offered outsourced fulfillment services, Web design and promotions such as affiliate programs and e-mail campaigns.


"We had always planned on offering inhouse fulfillment because we recognized this area as one [that] a lot of companies didn't have the expertise to do on their own," said Patricia Henderson, spokeswoman for Global Sports, which also contributed Web design services for BallyStore.com.


BallyStore.com is an extension of Bally's Fitness Formula retail stores, which are located in most of the 390 Bally fitness clubs nationwide. The stores and the Web site offer Bally product lines consisting of nutritional supplements and accessories such as dumbbells and running weights.


Global Sports did not have to make significant adjustments such as equipment purchases or new storage areas to accommodate the pick and packing of Bally products. The fulfillment services company was prepared for the weightlifting items because other clients have similar products. Nutritional food items did not have to be maintained at special room temperature.


Ballystore.com will also feature 20 additional fitness equipment channels that offer items such as jump-ropes and treadmills. This is made possible by Global Sports' merchandizing deals with various fitness equipment manufacturers.


Most orders at BallyStore.com will be shipped through either United Parcel Service or the U.S. Postal Service. Trucking firm Sureway Worldwide will ship larger items such as treadmills. Global Sports offers real-time tracking on all orders via its warehouse management system.


Global Sports will also employ its 85-seat customer service and support center at its King of Prussia, PA, headquarters for Bally. The call center allows customers to obtain assistance through e-mail, telephone or online chat.


Bally executives placed numerous "secret shopper" test orders at sites serviced by Global Sports to gauge whether the firm was efficient regarding fulfillment, said Winny Clark, assistant vice president of direct marketing at Bally, Chicago.


"We wanted to see if the order was produced accurately, what kind of shape it was in, how long the order fulfillment took [and] what kind of customer service they give," Clark said. "We were pleased with the results."


Mark Reese, chief operations officer at Global Sports, said his firm created packaging and phone scripts that were compatible with the Bally brand. Customer service contact information and tear-away return slips will be part of the packaging for Bally.com orders.


Reese said his firm's Louisville facility has room for several other clients and could be expanded by an additional 180,000 square feet.


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