A round of tips & thoughts for boosting a pro shop from Cutting Edge Golf. If one of these inspires a good idea on your side of the counter then feel free to share some of your own positive ideas with Cutting Edge Golf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Strut Your Stuff
A number of club professionals have staged successful fashion shows for members at the club. These don’t have to be huge in size and can be linked with a charity evening. Most good apparel brands will help the retailer with this event. You don’t have to be as slick as the Milan catwalk and you will find that members will respond positively. Engaging with them on this social occasion will help cement your retailer/customer relationship.
2. Individually Target
Target more of your customers individually. Consider what makes them tick and what they are missing from their golf wardrobe. If you ‘home-in’ on 5 club members a week you will have tempted 60 (and possible spouses) in 3 months.
3. Invitation-Only Events
How about special retail invitation evenings after shop hours? Provide some wine and ask a select number of members and spouses in for exclusive apparel presentations on new season lines. This will make them feel special, encourages them to buy before other members, builds long term loyalty as well as getting your season off to a great sales start.
4. Offer Something Special
Follow the supermarket trick of the loss-leader. Place a fashion item customers can’t miss at a great price, and when taking their money ask them about their golf wardrobe. Link smaller accessories and P-o-S items with bigger purchases through special offers.
5. Get Social
Put aside any reservations about social media and use it. Twitter/Facebook etc is imperfect – but you can reach people through it from the local community. Highlight daily deals and create more of a buzz.
Research among your customers to find out what products they are talking about. Is there a buzz brand? Can you be the first to stock the new brand? Too many golf retailers follow the expected; think niche and does that work for your members?
7. Quiz Your Customers
How many of your members know what the top 20 players in the world actually wear? Hold a quiz with a prize of a new season shirt. Ask them to answer what brands the top 10 players wear versus the brand of clubs they play and see who wins.
Organise a sweep for Tour events, and have a clothing item/accessory as part of the prize. Make a big deal about who has won the ‘red shirt’ etc this month.
9. Daily Deals
Create momentum in turnover with an ‘offer of the day’; create more regular sales with this method. One deal a day for a week, for the first member who comes in, as a loss leader; advertise it via email to your members and see how successful it is.
10. Involve Your Assistants
Ask your young assistants to find out more about what younger golfers are looking for. Set them to work, get them thinking and helping! They know plenty about the best gel product for their hair, how good is the rest of their fashion knowledge?
11. Look for Expertise
Is there an expert on women’s apparel on hand for you. If not, would any members or their friends be interested in helping? But be careful, wait until you find exactly the right person.
12. Take a Strategic Approach
Make a list of the types of customer you are missing. Devise a strategy for attracting these people.
13. Golf Gifts
How can you lure the outside community into your shop? Golf gifts can save the bacon of a busy person; does the town feel your door is open to them? Get more people in apart from the usual suspects.
14. Secret Shopper
Visit the best golf shop in your region and study their moves. Take it to another level and go to a department store or local high street fashion shop and learn from the true retail specialists. You may be amazed at the ideas that will come to you.
15. Incentivise the Staff
Tell your assistants you all must do more to sell apparel. Set yourselves a tough weekly team target. The first time you hit it buy the team a meal and a few beers. Strengthen the confidence of the team.
Do you offer commission to your sales assistants to encourage them to become business orientated rather than just being friends with the members who they play golf with?
17. Talk to the Customer
Talk to every member about golf products. You will learn from them, they will learn from you, and they will also be far less likely to buy from the internet. There is still lots of loyalty out there, but you have to accept that you can never be everything to everyone.
18. Educate the Staff
Set your team the task of learning more about the brands you sell and the individual products. Task each team member to inform the rest of you of the benefits to the golfers of these products, thus creating a pride in sales knowledge among your staff. Building a professional sales team can help you turn the corner in your shop in 2015.
Pro Shop Points of View
“By offering a really strong, very friendly personal service to all our customers it really does make all the difference. Their first port of call for apparel items and shoes won’t be the internet. They will always give us the opportunity to sell to them, they will always look and ask questions and we do our best to supply them with an interesting choice.”
Maurice Campbell, Head Professional, Leighton Buzzard Golf Club, UK
“It’s a tough world out there so you have to do things a little differently. I now have a lot of non-golfing customers and I promote the shop on social media to draw them in – in fact I’ve had lads messaging the shop on Facebook on a Saturday afternoon looking for something to wear that night; within an hour they’ve been in the shop and picked up a new shirt.”
Simon Fletcher, Head Professional, Morecambe Golf Club, UK
“Golf retailing is difficult, no question, and that is why any pro has to differentiate themselves from the rest. If you have hundreds of Indian restaurants together, how do some of these manage to rise to the top, flourish and generate real customer loyalty?
“We have to make sure we provide a really friendly experience for our customers. We say that an independent pro can often compete with the online retailers in terms of price, but they can never compete with us in terms of personal service.”