Ocean Sports


Ocean SportsEvolving a retail business from an antiquated stock control system and manual mail order processes to a fully integrated retail management system can be a daunting step for a smaller retail brand. But for leading surf and snow store Ocean Sports, based in Brighton, the introduction of such a system enabled them to completely rejuvenate their mail order business. 

In under two years they moved from mail order to a new online store which helped achieve online business growth of some 40%.


James Roberts chose Futura’s retail management system to power its multi channel retailing as the product could do the job and Futura were prepared to write bespoke software. Today the system handles web (www.boardridersguide.com) and store replenishments seamlessly, creates bespoke reports and simplifies stock control.

The first task was to give the directors total visibility and full control of all stock, both web and in store. So Ocean Sports plunged into the deep end and replaced their old stock control system. Said James: “With 60,000 products to be re-barcoded and uploaded onto Futura, this was a significant undertaking.”

“Firstly all the PCs within the company were replaced, then Futura was installed so that any product’s availability, via the web or store, could be seen quickly. This means customers do not get fed up ordering items which are out of stock – and it’s taken away a lot of the work. Importantly not once has Futura let us down.

In addition to live stock control on the web, Ocean Sports can now claim a low inventory and increased sales, as they keep the right sizes of the most popular products; stock turn is reduced and sell through correct for the business.

To help Ocean Sports build on their existing system and improve delivery times, Futura customised its system to James’ requirements, writing two new modules to accommodate his business processes. Commented James:

“Futura took pre-existing ways of working from our old system and emulated them and added additional refinements to make the transition for our staff quicker and easier. Now when customers place their web orders, the information is copied overnight into Futura, orders are generated and customised pick lists sent to our centralised warehouse.”

James wanted to increase efficiency in the warehouse, he asked Futura to enable the collaboration of multiple orders onto a pick list from which warehouse staff can pull stock for orders.

He also wanted to create specific documentation and labels based upon transport type. Now the couriers sign specific documentation raised by the system when collecting orders and so written lists and extra documents are not required – avoiding the risk of lost parcels and information.


By looking at historical data and sales for both web and shop the managers can better predict the products and sizing required for the next season. This visibility allows managers to decide upon shop and web discounts which can be imposed incrementally (for example just specific some items within a stock statistical period season being reduced by £10 or £15 pounds off) or extend this feature to incorporate all items in a period being automatically marked down.

The team can now look at the product identifiers and customised reports such as a seasonality report to mark items down manually and run different promotions on the web from in-store.

Concluded James: “After a lot of research, it became apparent that there are lots of stock control providers in the market place for the smaller businesses and for very large businesses, but these will only consider you if your turnover fits their criteria. Futura seems to have bridged the gap between the medium to large size business where we find ourselves. They have the structure in place to support their system but are also able to develop bespoke work at a reasonable cost.”

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