Five sure things to boost your sales

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As a former buyer, I know these words. When a supplier would use them on me, I would throw them out of my office, slam the door, and run in the other direction. A little dramatic, yes, but necessary because the sure thing was commission for them, not sell-through for me. This post is titled 5 Sure Things, because in the middle of the busiest spurt of golf rounds and golf retail sales of my long career, I have found 5 categories of goods that will create interest, sell-through, profit, and loyalty.

The golf shop is in a unique place. Many operators have downsized to stock only consumables. These are items such as golf gloves, balls, tees, headwear that golfers will buy, no matter the selection or price. These are items they need in order to play. There is therefore no shopping, only a quick grab and go, just like the convenience store on the way to your club. Other shops have gone the other way. They have tried to ramp up (shortages notwithstanding), to provide a selection of quality brands and products that will draw the golfers ‘eye, as well as their tap. Golf is in, and there is no reason why a shop should not commit to a presentation that will excite the members and guests coming out to enjoy the game. This post is about 5 items that will create sales in your shop. Here are my highfives for the golf shop:

  1. Colored golf balls: if your shop is stocking only white golf balls, it is time to get out of the one-color category and look at the myriad of colors and finishes available today from every golf ball brand. New golfers want to be different, so adding orange, red, green and even 2-tone golf balls is not a risky play. In addition, many of your traditional golfers are already using a new color. Check out your first tee. Sell them as singles.
  2. Outerwear: several apparel brands make a full assortment of outerwear options for men and women. This category can look great on the golf course or to a movie (soon). Outwear is fashion forward, looks great on, and again creates interest in your shop. Try a few different price categories, popular brands, and have some fun. Build a program with a vendor to add pieces for the team to wear.
  3. Women’s accessories: many golf shops continue to forget that their women golfers love to look around. They want to walk around your shop and feel good about what you present. Accessories are a great category because the selection is wide and interesting, while the competition nearby doesn’t exist. Begin slow but start to work with companies who represent women well. Create an exciting presentation that will draw eyeballs, conversation, and sales. The margins are also grand.
  4. Driver and putter covers: these are great add-on items for your shop. The options are great, the logo possibilities are important and the sell through is strong. These items sell as never before.
  5. Hybrids: the ultimate act of customer service at the golf course is lowering your members’ scores and improving their game. Stocking hybrids and showing your golfers how to use them will lower their scores and make them very happy so they come back to buy colored balls, outerwear, etc.; you get the picture. Carry a medium-priced brand as well as a key brand selection. Match the specific hybrids to your course and their game. Remember your men, women, and senior golfers when you purchase. As with wedges in the 1980’s, hybrids are today’s scoring clubs. When your professional staff shows them why, your golfers will end up with several new hybrids in the bag, all from your shop.

Your golf shop cannot offer a vast selection. It is not in the game, competing with select and click. What your shop can do is make great decisions on the specific categories and individual items that will work for your players and your shop, period. It is time to develop surgical precision with your buying. Your team should make the choices. While suppliers present what they want to sell, you and your team must make decisions on what you already know: your members, your golf course, and your sales history. A golf shop today can be successful. It is about doing the homework, keeping consumables always in stock in season, while picking specific brands, categories, and items that will be new and unique and get you to pique your golfers’ interest. Get the team to stop buying for buying’s sake. Develop the golf shop that works for your golfer, your leadership, and the future.

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack is a merchant, an expert in communications, purchasing, and operations. Now with Career Dividends, Jack can help you build a better golf shop, and a better team, all for the cost of a couple of drivers. Reach out to Jack at or call him at: 407-973-6136. Jack lives in Orlando.

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