Tennis Industry magazine

 

Online Solutions

New TennisWorks software aims to drive business for retailers and facilities.

It’s hard to understand how we coped before mobile phones with built-in cameras, tiny personal jukeboxes, and the internet. These developments were meant to make life easier and more enjoyable. And while it’s great to be able to jam to your favorite band while pumping gas, the ability to multi-task has kept us “on” 24/7 — especially when your job involves a lifestyle like tennis. Technology was supposed to help us accomplish more in less time — and it does. But now there seems to be way more to do.

So how are retailers and facilities supposed to cope with ever-demanding workloads? That question drove Herb Sweren, a former Prince executive-turned-internet entrepreneur, to the drawing board.

“I was inspired by the opportunity for tennis businesses to use the internet as a marketing tool,” he says. “I had been using it for order-writing and communicating with clients and colleagues, but I knew it could be much more.”

Fast-forward from 2005 — when Sweren formed Sports InterActive LLC as a division of Fromuth Tennis — to the 2008 debut of TennisWorks, a line of web-based software applications that helps clubs and authorized retailers increase business. The software aids marketing, customer service, and the management of facility programming, stringing, and shop sales.

Managing Your Business

“Anyone who runs on-court programming — or manages an authorized pro shop or specialty store — can benefit from all or part of TennisWorks,” says Sweren. “It helps them manage their business, expand their customer base, and grow revenue.”

TennisWorks comes in modules that can be purchased separately or as a package. (Pricing for individual products starts at $23 per month, plus a $95 set-up fee. For details, see Sports-InterActive.net.) The two suite packages — “ClubWorks” for facilities and “RetailWorks” for shops — offer marketing and email database management software with additional applications for on-court play and/or product browsing or shopping. The components can be integrated with an existing website or a new website can be developed. Components include:

Sweren says his team takes care of the back-end setup, design and tech support so “facility and shop managers can focus on their jobs.”

Using Technology Effectively

“Today, having an internet presence is like having a business card. It legitimizes you,” says Pat Shields, owner and president of Fromuth Tennis. “It’s just using the technology that’s out there more effectively in their business, from running their internal operations to communicating with customers, suppliers or us about what new products are out there or on sale.”

Shields says the partnership between Fromuth and Sports InterActive for TennisWorks is key because it enables authorized retailers to expand their businesses without a hefty investment: “It’s an economy of scale. It’s one entity taking the photographs of product and writing a description with pricing, rather than each shop doing it. A little pro shop can’t possibly do all the work. If we can do that work for them and spread out the cost, it becomes affordable for them.”

Jon Jacobson, tennis director at Forest Hill Tennis Club in Ellicott City, Md., has been using the software for a year. “I honestly believe the TennisWorks solutions are the best value in tennis,” he says. “I can’t imagine running my business without the program.”

Adds Shields: “Whatever makes our customers stronger makes us stronger.”

 

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