Successful apparel buying for any retail space, including the typical golf pro shop, is about 80% science and 20% art. Everyone is an “artist” but very few “buyers” in golf fully understand the science.
The philosophy that makes the most sense for golf pro shop retailing and the areas that I work to improve both with the blog and hands-on with CK Consulting can be summed up in a few key phrases. A well planned shop, in order to be successful, needs to be attractively merchandised across all appropriate categories of goods that make it full service without being over-inventoried and it needs to provide service that is “above and beyond”.
Ask yourself a few pertinent questions:
Does your buy plan accomplish your sales goals?
Do you have the proper mix of apparel to make margin?
Is your retail space properly fixtured for maximum volume?
Would you be better off having a retail professional do this for you as well as train your sales staff to sell the goods?
Do you often find yourself over-inventoried and priced at a ‘no-margin’ level?
Whether you are attempting to manage your pro shop yourself or with the help of a professional retail consultant or buyer, the best way to institute a plan to address the scientific area of the formula is the ‘buy to space’ approach. Understanding the clientele and their wants and needs and tailoring this unique mix to the existing fixtures, traffic patterns and peak selling periods is part of the challenge. Having orders arrive that are expressly designed to fit a specific space, that are planned out according to the right turn ratio and that allow for a variety throughout the year of vendor, color and seasonally appropriate goods is also fundamental.
Another part of the equation involves establishing partnerships with key vendors both in hard goods and apparel. Titleist, Foot-joy, Zero Restriction, Fairway and Greene, Greg Norman, E.P. Pro, Imperial, Peter Millar, Pima-Direct and AHead are vendors that have partnered well for me and are willing to help key accounts with staff apparel, shop fixtures, visual display and product-knowledge seminars. Regional Golf Shows are the venue to be on the lookout for new and ‘next best’, but key vendors should be having their representatives visit the club often and with a purpose.
Staff appearance is critical for many reasons, not the least of which is that they are the first impression the Club gets to make. A staff that does not come to work well-groomed and properly attired will never be perceived as truly professional. Perhaps the most important part of the job of a Head Professional and the staff they train is to provide a ‘cutting edge service’, attitude and atmosphere. This can only be accomplished when the bar is set high, expectations understood and the proper education provided. A knowledgeable staff of walking mannequins that enjoys conveying that knowledge to members and guests is imperative to having a profitable shop that members/regulars are proud to patronize. A pro-shop that provides this type of service is open until the last member leaves for the day, it is also usually one with turnover due to promotion.
The Custom Ball Program entry raised a number of questions. I have posted the announcement
flyer that Hasentree created and used successfully to market the concept to their membership.