Using Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience

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In a technology driven world, things change at a rapid pace for an eCommerce company. This is especially true with the way customers research, navigate, compare, and ultimately purchase items online. Over time, there has been a steady shift in the amount of people shopping on their phones and tablets rather than computers. To accommodate this, eCommerce retailers have had to adapt to those changing trends to continue to provide a great online shopping experience. This reason is exactly why we made the decision to overhaul JustBats.com and JustBallGloves.com by using responsive design.

What is Responsive Design?

Traditionally, most eCommerce sites, including us, used two separate versions for their website;

  • A desktop version that had the best content and was optimized for people to make a purchase

  • A mobile version with less content and different layout from the desktop site

With responsive design, the user is always getting the same, full featured version of the site optimized for whatever device they are using. A responsive site will automatically detect the screen size of the device they are using and show them the content appropriately for that space. For example, some things will stack, font sizes will change, and spacing will adjust to make sure they have a great, consistent experience regardless of how they choose to browse.

How Did We Do It?

At Pro Athlete, we are fortunate to have a world class team of developers. They were issued a challenge to do a complete platform change from scratch and have it done before the holiday season. Challenge Accepted. The team worked tirelessly for 10 straight months to make this dream become a reality. Knowing the importance of getting this out to our customers before the holiday season, the team worked until 9:00 p.m. every Tuesday night without hesitation and without sacrificing quality for time. Our development team believes perfection is in the details. Any opportunity to save our customers a click or help them find their perfect bat or glove was taken.

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Was it easy? Nope. There were several roadblocks along the way the team had to figure out how to work around. There were disagreements about how things should be built. There was only one controller to play Donkey Kong and Mega Man. But, in the end, the team showed why they are an elite group of individuals who can accomplish great things when working as a team. Their alignment with our Core Values and how we play the game was on full display; Be Resourceful, Embrace Innovation, No Surprises, We Have Each Other’s Backs (just to name a few).

The Takeaway

All of our decisions at Pro Athlete are made with our customers in mind. This was no different and we will continue to leverage technology to provide a world-class experience to our fans. The talents of our employees are really able to shine on a project of this magnitude and we hope you enjoy the new sites. Let us know what you think!

If you have feedback regarding our new websites, please email us at Contact@ProAthleteInc.com.

How To: Take Product Photos and Videos

We receive hundreds of bats and gloves at our fulfillment center everyday. In order for the products to become live on our websites (so our customers can buy them and hit homers), product photos and videos need to be taken of items in our inventory (we don’t mean every single item, but at least one item from every bat or glove model). We’re lucky to be able to do that in-house and have found a pretty seamless system for getting it done. Here’s an in-depth look from employee, Kyle G., on just how he and his fellow rockstars here take our product photos and videos:

  1. A new item is received in our fulfillment center.

  2. It is transferred from our receivers to a specific location in our fulfillment center specifically made for holding these items that need photos and videos. Then our system will send an email notification notifying that pictures need to be taken for this item.

  3. Once the email has been sent, our photographers remove the new item from the location and take it to our photo booth.

  4. For bats, seven different pictures are taken: four of each angle of the barrel and handle, one of the certification of what leagues the bat is allowed for and one of the end and knob.

  5. For gloves, six different pictures are taken: two pictures of the inside of the glove, one of the glove’s web, one of the back and two of each side of the glove.

  6. Once all of pictures of the item have been shot, they are then off for editing and will be live on our sites within a 24 hour period.

  7. The final step is to deliver the bat or glove to our media room..

Now that the item has been delivered to the media room, it’s time for product videos!

  1. Once the lighting, microphones and cameras are set up, we grab the product number from our system to pull up the item and start recording the video. We have developed a set up that allows the video production process to be only a one person job.

  2. Our videos range from 1-3 minutes and give our customers an in depth summary of the features the item has to offer.

  3. Once the product video has been recorded and completed, it is then downloaded to our software and is made live to our site for that product under the product page. It is also downloaded to our YouTube sites for our customers to view and get an insight of what product suits their game the best.

Product videos are the most nerve wracking part. We aren’t actors or performers here and being in-front of the camera can be an intimidating place to be. Here are some tips from employee, Dan P., to make the experience better for yourself and your customers:

  • Do 2 or 3 practice takes before going live.

  • Write down the highlights of each product. This helps organize your thoughts.

  • Give the most accurate information you can. It’s ok if your delivery isn’t the best but it’s vital that the information is correct.

  • Remember to smile and have fun! (It can always be reshot!)

If you currently run an eCommerce website or one day plan to start selling products online, we hope that our tips may help you out!  If you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to us at Contact@ProAthleteInc.com and we will get you in touch with our experts!

Credit to employees Kyle G. and Dan P. for providing the information for this week’s version of our blog.

Pro Athlete’s Speaker Series featuring US Army Major Chad Agustin

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We pride ourselves on creating a university setting (Core Value alert!) at Pro Athlete. We believe that if our company is growing and learning, our employees should be too! Because of this, we strive to provide top-notch resources to our employees in order to promote continuous education. With that goal in mind, we recently introduced to employees the Pro Athlete, Inc. Speaker Series.

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Our Speaker Series consists of three main areas of topic: Get Inspired, Get Involved and Get Well. Within the series, we connect our employees with impactful people and missions in order to get them feeling motivated both mentally and physically. Get Inspired speakers speak on inspirational and motivational topics. Get Well speakers include health and wellness professionals that talk about the latest and greatest trends in the health world. Get Involved speakers come from various charitable organizations around our community that bring awareness to their causes and provide our employees with new ideas and ways to get involved. What better way to learn than from the experiences of others!

Last week we were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to host current United States Army Major Chad Agustin as the first installment of “Get Inspired”. He spoke about his journey as a former NCAA Division I baseball player at the University of Hawaii at Hilo to becoming a Major in the United States Army. Major Agustin is also a Louisville Slugger Slowpitch Global Ambassador in the military and police communities so it was natural that we hit it off!

While at Pro Athlete, Major Agustin hit on five key takeaways that he found to be important to his successes throughout his personal and professional life and shared them with all of our employees in attendance.

Major Agustin’s Five Key Takeaways:

  1. Have an open mindset.
  2. Be goal oriented.
  3. Be honorable.
  4. Be transparent.
  5. Have compassion.

… and remember, you can’t do it alone. Everyone is important and plays a huge role!

We look forward to having a continued relationship with Major Agustin and are extremely thankful for not only his message to our company, but also his service to our country and community.

If you are interested in being a future guest speaker at one of our Speaker Series events, please send an email to Contact@ProAthleteInc.com. We would love to consider you for a future spot!

What is Culture?

Culture is a popular buzzword going among businesses these days. We are one of the biggest users of the word, no doubt! Our culture is something we hold high and have worked hard to cultivate. So what is culture and how do you create it?

A good company culture isn’t just a group of people who come to the same building every day, work towards the same goals, and “mostly” like each other- it’s much deeper than that. Culture is created through core beliefs and behaviors that those who work for and with the company believe in. We call them our Core Values, and we have twelve (12) that really describe our culture to its fullest. Those who believe in those values and live them out every single day make the best employees. Those who don’t usually vote themselves off the island. When you have a strong culture, it runs deep through the veins of your employees and they don’t “mostly” like their coworkers, they love them.

We are involved in sports, so we use that to help describe a lot of things in business. Sports are perfect when describing cultures. Think of all the organizations out there that have created a losing culture. Each year they are at the bottom of the season-ending rankings and often, they are the ones with high turnover, lack of cohesion, players airing out dirty laundry with the press or on social media, etc. While this is a culture, it’s not the one you want. When you don’t have values that you all believe in and losing starts to become the norm, the players, coaches, front office and fans start to accept losing. Players start not caring that they just got blown out by 10 runs and go on to the next game like it’s no big deal. Front office personnel start losing sight of the fan experience. When losing is the most cohesive part of your culture, you aren’t left with much.

On the flip side, think of all the teams that are always in the hunt for a championship. They have the same faces year-after-year and seemingly have fun doing their job. They don’t go to the media when they have an issue. They, instead, talk about it among teammates and staff. These are the same teams that rely on a set of values to draft players, cut players, create a fan experience, and to put a winning product on the field. We’ve seen it happen so many times when a team brings in someone who isn’t an exact culture fit; it almost never fails that we soon see that player cut from the team. One bad hire can ruin the culture you have spent so much time creating.

There isn’t one type of culture that is right for everyone. Each business needs to create values that will lead to the creation of the culture they want. Each company has their own culture that they create, but the ones who have strong cultures have a few things in common. Next time you are at a company, check for a few of these things to test the strength of the culture:

  • Energetic employees

  • Lots of smiles

  • Consistency (using the same lingo or giving the same facts about the company)

     

There will be stumbling blocks along the way but cultivating a culture is a long play. You aren’t going to do it overnight, but when you do, you have the chance to not only make your business a success but to also positively impact the lives of so many employees and families along the way!

 

 

Learn more about the 12 Core Values that make up Pro Athlete here!