Some things never change…at your local pro shop.
$55-75 dollar shirts don’t sell, they collect dust.
Trying to move twelve new r17s Drivers a month after the local Dicks Sporting Goods store received an entire rack with every loft and every shaft available…is a tough sale, made tougher knowing they have a new launch monitor and digital simulator on hand to razzle-dazzle your members.
Did I mention they take trades?
When are you going to stop trying to make 40-60% (only to have to mark it down a few months later) on the same shirt Golf Galaxy, TGW, Edwin Watts, and the aforementioned Dicks sells…at a discount?
Buying power schmuying-power…you can compete with the dot coms and jumbo nets, but you will have to forgo the circa-1960 merchandising model.
1. Going forward, you need to think of your Pro shop as an extension of your marketing. By that I mean, margins aren’t as important as getting your name out into the public space. This isn’t a trick question…but would you rather make $110 profit in twelve months on four shirts or the same amount on eight shirts? Eight shirts x four hundred members = a lot of exposure. If you give your members a (financial) reason to wear your clubs logo every other day, I bet they will.
2. Start taking trades. Before you start thinking of what a pain this will be or how your employees will screw this one up…remember, the local jumbo net shops already do this with people they hired the day before. If you take late model, high-demand equipment (i.e. Cameron putters, last year model drivers, or current model irons) and add 10-20% to the ridiculous value the PGA guide allows, you can turn the items around at worst for cost and at best for 20-25% on ebay. A listing on ebay takes about two minutes to create, roughly the same amount of time it takes an employee to “like” a few posts on facebook. The goodwill and pain you save your member(s) will more likely equal increased sales of hard goods that are today, increasingly harder to move.
3. Stock brands the dot coms, jumbo nets, and mall stores don’t commonly sell. I’m half-embarrassed to include this one, but you would be shocked to see how many Pro shops sell the same brands everyone else sells (for more money). Peter Millar is my favorite high-end brand, and they only sell to green grass shops. Check. Cutter and Buck produces a great line of mid-priced apparel, as does Page and Tuttle. I would both on my short list. What about Gear for Sports? They make a fantastic lower-priced line of clothing that doesn’t look low-priced.
4. Creatively cross-market to drive even more revenue. Creatively what? Have you ever bought a new driver and got a free thirty minute lesson on how to use it? Me neither. Have you ever purchased a set of irons and received four free cart rentals? That would be a new one to me. When you bought your last shirt at full price, I’m guessing you received a free lunch right? I could think of ten more of these, my guess is..yours would be better.
5. Use email, facebook, or signs in various places at your club to promote hot items. Did you just get a load of new shirts in? Why not post pictures of them on facebook? Did one of your members get a hole in one with a club purchased in your shop? Congratulate them via email and everyone will know where they got their seven iron. Do you change your signs in your cart or above the urinals frequently? You should. People read them. And if the call to action is compelling enough…they will buy.
6. Partner with your brand manufacturers twice as often. I’ll bet you get a sales rep every week wanting to increase his/her sales in your Pro shop, but how many actually actively help you sell? One demo day per year (if that) isn’t going to cut it any more. Wouldn’t early spring be a great time to have a trunk show with the Peter Millar rep? If your Footjoy rep really wanted to move more shoes, why not have them bring in a shoe fit specialist with multiple sizes and colors to stimulate the register?
The truth is, you probably aren’t going to see the big boys go away any time soon, but to have your members buying from them…that has to stop, and can, with a few tweaks.