Successful Pro Shop entrepreneurs are always looking for new ways to enhance the ambiance of their shop, their product selection and their level of customer service. This blog will serve to facilitate that process by providing entries that address basic retail principles; new ideas in pro shop retailing and interviews with leaders in the industry. Stop by often, send a friend. firstname.lastname@example.org
About the same time as the Y2K scare there were a number of
companies competing to own and IPO the online tee-time business - Greens.com,
etc. Part of the marketing strategy of
these efforts was to promise the shops they were partnering with free in-store
kiosks where members/customers could make tee times online and/or shop with
participating vendors in real-time inventories tied into POS systems, which
were also going to be provided. As it turned out most of the promises were
smoke and mirrors, most of those companies are gone and the only thing
remaining is the bad reputation of the term shop-kiosk.
Daniel Island Club
One of the first entries on this blog in 2009 entitled ‘The Climate
in Orlando’ references reducing inventories by cutting back the space you need to
merchandise with a sitting area. One of the asides mentioned in that discussion
was that this area could be a spot where shop staff could sit and go through
readily available catalogs of partnered vendors and make special order recommendations.
This entry will suggest taking
that concept one step further by adding a laptop to the area with a desktop of
icon links to all of the major vendors affiliated with the shop. Envision this
laptop sitting on a coffee table in front of a small sofa that used to be
functional only as a place to sit and try on golf shoes and where now customers
can basically point and click to the entire inventory of goods that you have
access to by virtue of the shop’s accounts. The backdrop for this desktop of
links could be the message that the shop is in the business of servicing the
members/regulars corporate and tournament needs. This is obviously an effort to
drive the special order and corporate business, but it also accomplishes some
things that are more subtle and perhaps, not quite so apparent.
Most customers today fall into
one of two categories: Customer A – the computer savvy, who like most of the
population, are increasing their online shopping exponentially every year; or
Customer B – the computer fearful who have trouble opening their email let
alone point and clicking to drill down to a leather jacket from Peter Millar.
Sand Hills Golf Club
The laptop kiosk being
suggested would intrigue Customer A to take the time to become increasingly
familiar with all the goods and services your shop can make available. More
interesting perhaps is the opportunity for your staff to teach Customer B how
easy it is to navigate the desktop and shop online; more of the ‘above and
beyond’ service to which we keep aspiring.
The process of creating this
desktop should involve asking the following questions:
the vendors you are researching have web sites that sell to the public? If they
do you may want to reconsider your account.
your mix of vendors include categories such as tailored clothing, lady’s
handbags, luggage, crystal, blue jeans and tennis shoes. This is the perfect
way to provide these categories with a minimum of - or no inventory?
the shop want to go after ad specialty categories such as pencils, name-tags, key
chains, tee shirts; who are these vendors and how do we open accounts with
have someone on staff that has the computer savvy to make this seamless and can
they be incentivized to take ownership of the project?
this concept work better in the locker room or the 19th hole?
is going to be the best way to introduce and market this concept to the
customer base or membership? Obvious are newsletter and email announcements,
but a special order contest among staff members could be fun also.
Make the screen saver a rolling slide show of pictures from the member guest or corporate outing. Also icons to vendor videos would provide in-depth product knowledge that could enhance sales. This will certainly
attract attention and promote conversation.
For many shops, whether at
private clubs or public facilities with a regular customer base, the special
order business can represent as much as 20-25% of the total revenue per year
and with a healthy hard-goods business, maybe more. Special orders other than
the result of a lesson and club-fitting are almost always the idea of the
customer. The kiosk will help inspire more of these ideas in-house. If you are
already doing this or something similar please leave a comment.