Sunderland AFC scores with Cybertill


In 1997, Sunderland moved to its new home, the Stadium of Light which features a fresh and modern retail store. In addition, the club has a concession in Debenhams in Sunderland and a stand-alone shop in nearby Washington.

Before Cybertill

Prior to Cybertill, Sunderland had deployed another EPoS system, but the legacy system proved difficult to manage and was severely limited in its capabilities. Moreover, the club had ambitious plans to grow and develop its retail presence, and as a result, Cybertill was deployed.

Speed in the Box

Football retail enjoys a number of spikes in trade, typically on match days, at kit launches, Christmas, and the start of the season. Sunderland needed to deploy a system that was powerful enough to manage stock but also quick and seamless at point-of-sale to ensure stores could manage increased footfall, as Sunderland’s Head of Group Retail, Nik McDonald explains: “What sold it (Cybertill) was the hot shot menu and the product look-up. It would resolve our issues and allow us to easily transfer stock between stores. But, we could see that with the hotshots and the product look-up menu and the speed they operate at point-of-sale that Cybertill was perfect and would help busy trading periods, more manageable in store.”

Closer to the Fans

Cybertill has helped the club build up a profile of its fan-base, helping it tailor specific marketing messages to different sets of fans. McDonald says: “As Cybertill stores each and every transaction, we have been able to create an individual account for each customer, meaning that we have full access to their buying history. We use this to our benefit, sending out our annual retail catalogue t once a year; and the ‘Black Cat Bulletin’ goes out once a week to over 40,000 fans. All of the data we collect in-store allows us to communicate more effectively with our fans.”

Sunderland covered on and off the pitch

As well as stores, Sunderland has an e-commerce presence, mail order and even mobile stores on match days. The club uses Cybertill to manage all sales channels seamlessly and even asked the company to refresh its website.

Close Season

It is critical that Sunderland gets the right stock levels in place prior to busy trading periods. With three stores, it helps that they have visibility of one another’s stock levels, as well central stock holding for ecommerce and mail order. Cybertill enables inter-branch transfers between locations, ensuring that stores always have the right stock levels. McDonald explains: “One of the key reasons for getting such accurate figures is because Cybertill is web based, and we can view live figures.”

Mine of information

Sunderland use Cybertill to manage every aspect of their retail business, as McDonald explains: “Cybertill is a great purchasing and ordering tool. We use its sales ratios, such as the speed at which products have sold, stock cover for the week and so forth. This information helps us when we come to order and forecast for new generic products. It also helps us manage suppliers more effectively, as we can use the stats to interrogate sales and if something has not worked we can ask the supplier to recommend alternative products.”

Hitting Targets

Sunderland credits Cybertill with helping retail maintain its discipline and ensuring that side of the business can achieve its KPIs. McDonald continues: “Cybertill creates so much information and is a rich resource of reports. I am always accessing the overview of the stockholding report and collating information to ensure we make the right decisions.”


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