Spyder looks to Epicor for CRM, growth

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Spyder Active Sports Inc., a specialty ski retailer, is using Epicor Retail, a software as a service (SaaS) system from Epicor Software Corp., to support its retail and expansion operations.

Epicor Retail will be the IT platform for Spyder and its recent acquisition, Cloudveil Mountain Works Inc., which produces outdoor, mountaineering and fly fishing apparel. The platform includes CRM, business intelligence, merchandising and planning tools, as well as audit and operations management.

“The first system we had was pretty small and not scalable beyond a few stores, so once Spyder started looking at more serious growth plans, we started looking at bigger systems,” said Bard Higgins, retail business analyst for Spyder. “The problem was that Spyder was kind of in the middle ground: the small system wasn't going to do it but we couldn't spend $1 million to buy a large system. Ultimately, Epicor's SaaS model was a good choice because we didn't have to take on all the infrastructure and support, we just get to run our business.”

The company's older IT platform did not provide a CRM component, so Spyder is using Epicor Retail to build up its customer database and create better customer engagement through e-mail blasts and other communications.

Spyder executives expect the Epicor system to ease the company's transition to a direct sale model. The ski brand opened its first retail store in Massachusetts in 2006 and, over the past 2 years, has opened sites in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Cloudveil will operate Epicor in its bricks-and-mortar location in Wyoming, but the e-commerce division at cloudveil.com will not use the system.

“We've only been doing this for a year and a half, so we're still learning who our outlet customers are,” said Amy Jacobs, regional manager for Spyder. “Short of capturing rudimentary customer data, we couldn't do anything with the old system. With this new system, we are collecting more quality data than we were before, but as far as direct retail we're still learning ourselves. The entire appeal of the CRM is that it will allow us to determine who is shopping and where.”

Spyder, based in Boulder, CO, outfits the US and Canadian Alpine Ski Teams. The company adds an average of 20,000 SKUs to its product lineup every year.

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