It’s a few weeks since lock down measures were eased for English courses and golf across the rest of the UK is now opening up. The sun is beating down and it’s impossible to book a tee time on many courses. Sweden has noted a 20% increase in play, post-lockdown, whilst Australia is reporting the biggest revival in the game since the 1980’s. Golf is back. Although not as we know it.
“While the boom in play is fantastic and we must make the most of it, emerging from lock down and getting retail businesses back on track is going to be one giant balancing act for golf Pro’s and shop managers”, says XPOS’s Mark Hopkins, “Many will still be working on their own and probably trying to manage everything themselves. Some Pro’s won’t yet have had clear communication from the golf club about what they need to be doing. There’ll also be excess stock to try to sell and new safety measures to navigate to make sure customers feel safe. And it hasn’t been easy keeping up with new Government guidelines about what retailers can, and can’t, do.”
Golf retailers are likely to be busier than ever right now and prioritising essential tasks to keep the business running the way it should be, is difficult.
You need a plan!
- Now, more than ever, it’s important to maintain consistent communication with your customers who may not fully understand the new regulations for playing golf or coming into the shop. Unless you tell them.
If you’ve never dipped your toes in the social media waters before, it’s never too late. Focus on platforms where you know your customers spend their time, ie. Facebook, and post a variety of interesting, relevant content on a regular basis. Two or 3 times a day right now wouldn’t be overdoing it. Emails, newsletters and signage around the site are other great ways to let golfers know how they can get in touch to buy from you.
- Use XPOS to identify the customers who are in debt. No one will mind a gentle reminder and contacting 5-10 people each week would be a huge weight off your mind. Plus, it could give your bottom line a nice boost.
There’s a trickle of footfall in the shop but the brands are chasing you for payment. You’ve tried to negotiate and push back deadlines, but you aren’t having much luck.
The bottom line is that your brands and suppliers can only do so much and, if all existing orders were cancelled, we wouldn’t have a retail industry.
- Stay positive. The Masters is still in the calendar and, out of all sports in the UK, golf was the first to come back.
- Try to avoid discounting. We’re about to hit Summer, the weather has been consistently glorious for over a month and membership is on the increase. Sit tight and do what you can to move what is currently in store.
- Click/Call and Collect is an easy, convenient way to get product to your golfers – and what’s more, it’s safe. Many of our pro shop customers, who don’t have an online channel, are encouraging members to call them to order items, which they later pick up from outside the shop.
- Speak to the brands about product launches they are planning later in the season. Some reassurance from your suppliers would be good so you know not to discount your current stock. This is key for hardware items.
As the shop opens, keep an eye on cashflow and balance the books. If you’re too busy with other tasks, you’ll lose sales, so look at un-furloughing staff to help you.
- Check the books. Can any staff members come out of furlough?
- Think about what motivates them, as well as where their strengths lie.
- How can they help you best? Assign new roles and responsibilities. Can someone takeover your sales and marketing? Or, are you best placed to focus on sales while someone else takes over green fees?
The retail landscape has changed and businesses need to adapt to new consumer habits, as well as post-Covid restrictions. Don’t be afraid of change and if you’ve ever had a radical idea about how you run your business, now is the perfect time to do it.