Saturday, September 13, 2014

Are you after it?

 A recent survey of retailers showed that over 70% of those who responded had fewer than 10 promotions and /or special events per year – and 36% had fewer than 5. In today’s market place successful retailers have realized that a promotional image is not demeaning but necessary to sustaining and increasing volume, attracting new customers and more importantly in golf retail, keeping the regular clientele that you have, interested in what you are doing. In order to facilitate this it is imperative to plan promotions well in advance and market them accordingly.

 I recently mentioned “buying” for promotions at a sell-through boot-camp put on by PGA Magazine and the response from the participants was that they were much more likely to put on sale what they were over-inventoried in than they were to BUY for a planned promotion. If the purpose of a healthy calendar of promotions and special events is to keep the member or customer interested why would you think that merchandise that you’ve already had trouble moving is going to cause a stir. The survey above was not taken of golf retailers, if it had been the results would have been different and rightfully so – most green-grass golf shops are not fully functional twelve month a year; they do however have the type of repeat business that needs to continue to be inspired.

 The constant search for new promotions is why many retailers do what they do, that is the part of the business they love. For the golf shop manager who doesn’t share this love and whose head is spinning when planning promotions is the issue, there are some things to keep in mind that ease the pain. First, not every promotion needs to be a large event and almost none of them HAVE to be a sale. You can, as a matter of fact, promote to small segments of your clientele with specialized email, promoting certain brands or sizes or birthdays depending on how good a job you are doing of profiling the customer.

 The industry has already adopted demo days to draw crowds and utilize vendors. This concept should be extended to categories other than golf clubs. Vendors and their management, account managers and designers could be invited periodically to help spur interest in certain of their product being promoted. When a local rep introduces a new product, collection, fabrication or category that you like instead of just placing an order and saying we’ll try it, talk about all the possibilities of its promotion that could take place – POS obviously, email blasts, newsletter mention, social media as well as someone from the company spending time with the customers whether it be an announced visit or a party with wine and cheese. If you have a membership of avid fishermen invite a high-end vendor of fishing equipment and have a fly-fishing presentation. I think it is important to change the mind-set of why we have promotions from the “we need to put this on sale and get rid of it” to “let’s do something that will engage the customer – let’s have some fun.”

 The promotion calendar that is planned should be reflective of how we perceive ourselves as retailers and the image we are trying to convey about who we are. Walmart sells price. Home Depot sells ‘How to.” Starbucks sells “hip and cool.” Macdonald’s sells “fast.” Southwest is now selling “heart.”  Decide who you want your members and regulars to see you as and plan a series of events accordingly, making sure you are telling the right story in as customer friendly and serviceable way as possible.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Visual Merchandising Center

How many times have you started building a new presentation of merchandise and thought, “I need a new idea,” as a matter of fact the better you’ve done it in the past the more it will be remembered and the staler the repeat. Perhaps you are putting out a new category of goods or want to create a new theme even the best merchandisers will tell you that they are constantly looking for new concepts to beg, borrow and steal. They may give their personal touch and tweak according to their space and props but everyone needs a resource for new ideas. Finally there is such a place and it is easy to access, put together by golf experts who understand the needs of the industry and covers a multitude of subjects – think of it as the Pinterest of golf merchandising. has developed and launched a much needed tool and resource that everyone in the industry will benefit from and can contribute to – it is completely interactive. The Visual Merchandising Center is a link on the home page that allows you to choose by category (Men’s Apparel, Ladies Apparel, Headwear, Footwear, Inspiration, Props/Fixtures, etc.) and browse “the best of the best” imagery on merchandising and ideas in that category. It has obviously been built for PGA Professionals, AGM members, shop buyers and the golf retailing community with contributions and sponsorship from the vendors catering to our industry. You can upload your own imagery which will be credited to you and your facility and describe what the theme is or what you were attempting to accomplish and you can comment on the images that are put up by others.

There are actually seventeen categories and an archive of thousands of photos which are updated daily. Manufacturers will also be invited to submit education and share “White Papers” on whatever topics they choose to share their expertise on – e.g. “How to Maximize Floor Space For Footwear Displays,” as well as submit photos of great fixtures and displays. In the interest of full disclosure, I work closely with PGA Magazine on a number of projects and was asked to provide my comments and suggegtions during the development process of the Visual Merchandising Center. Therefore, while I am biased, I am also genuinely very impressed with this new tool for golf shop merchandisers.

"I love it. I usually cut out photos from the magazine when I see displays that I like, so this is even better for me. Thanks for sharing."

- Jeff Kidde, PGA Head Professional at Aronimink, 2011 National Merchandiser for Private Facilities

The first impression that is made when a member, guest or customer walks into your shop decides a lot about their experience and how it will be remembered and discussed. Good merchandisers will appreciate this new tool immensely and come back often. This has been needed in the industry for some time and I congratulate the PGA Magazine team on taking the time, having the vision and bringing the technology to bear on the project.

Everyone agrees that shops need to be remerchandised often as this creates new perspectives and thus sales. This is not always easy and often requires inspiration. One of the great things about the golf industry that I have come to realize over the years is the willingness of everyone to help the other. This is the perfect place to gather and share retail and merchandising images and help and be helped. The link to the page which you will want to save as a favorite is                                              

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mettlers – Rittenhouse Square

Rick Summers, CEO of PGA Magazine, asked me to attend a launch party of a haberdashery two blocks from his home in Center City Philadelphia. I could go on and on about the location, the party, the staff, the service and the merchandising: but these images tell the story.

We all agree with the importance of the first impression and the image many remember is the attention to detail of both the property and the shop. This is almost as important a "wow factor" as the service provided by the staff. I was obviously wowed by Mettlers. Thank you Rick for the invite.