Traditionally, the month of September sits in 6th position for retail sales in the UK. It can be a month where retailers feel stuck between a rock and a hard place with the weather often dictating its success. 2021 Autumn Winter stock will be sitting on shelves and most of your orders for Spring Summer 2022 have been finalised so, what’s left to do? Is it time to sit back and hibernate? Give yourself a pat on the back after a busy season and relax? We talk to 2 retailers with very different businesses to find out what they’ll be doing to boost their retail business this Autumn.
Simon Corp, PGA Professional and Founder of Major Golf Direct
Simon Corp is the founder of Major Golf, a high street golf shop in Huddersfield and successful e-commerce site. Along with his business partner, Jamie Coverley, he also owns the retail shop in Morton Hills Golf Centre and the pro shop at West Bradford Golf Club.
September is generally a transition month. The stores have been remerchandised with a fresh look for Autumn/Winter and we always challenge the brands about any in-store creative displays they can provide to help us stand out from the crowd. We also had a rethink about shoes this year as we are promoting more shoes with cleats rather than spikeless right now.
Slow-moving summer pieces are moved to the 3 for 2 rails. I do 3 for 2, rather than individual sale items, to bump up the basket value. I look at the Unpopular Products report in XPOS to identify products that haven’t sold for 6 months. These items are tying up cashflow and I want to turn them into cash!
I’ll also speak to the brands to see what they have available so I can top up stock where it’s needed, or negotiate a deal. That said, this year is different. We have more golfers on the course but stock is a problem. Some of my brands didn’t land until mid-July due to lack of stock so I’m not sure there’ll be an appetite to get more product in now.
Autumn is also a time when I usually gear up for some product launches with some of the brands but some have been delayed until 2022.
We have every member’s email address and mobile number so we send out marketing via SMS and email, which we integrate through Mailchimp. In September, we’ll tend to promote seasonal summer offers along with introducing new lines that have just hit the business.
In the pro shops, the Golf Professional has a column in the newsletter and he’ll be encouraging members to get their balances down, and will usually use an incentive to do this.
The main thing I’m doing right now is thinking about Christmas. It’s our second busiest time of year so I’ve been planning this for a month already. What’s out there that we don’t already have in our stores? I’ll be looking at gift ideas as well as clearance deals to attract new customers.
The Ryder Cup will also provide a welcome boost to the sport and we’ll usually create a Europe/American display in our stores. Some of the brands get behind the competition so our marketing will reflect that and we’ll use all of our channels – social media, email marketing, SMS – to optimise opportunities from the Ryder Cup.
I use XPOS across all my sites and am an avid user of the reports. I use the Supplier Statistics Report to help me make my buying and replenishment decisions. Another favourite is the Sales Analysis Comparison report which I run monthly in all the shops and allows me to compare sales and margins Year on Year for any given date range
Mark Boscott, PGA Advanced Head Professional
Previously a County Coach at various levels, Mark Boscott is an Adidas Brand Ambassador, Srixon Staff Player and Advanced PGA Professional. He is Head Pro at Tidworth Garrison Golf Club and has run the retail business for 5 years.
At this time of year, I’m forward planning and looking more towards 2022. We have 600 members, most of whom are very active and we see them several times a week. We make it our business to engage with our members to find out if they’re happy, if they might be thinking about new equipment or if they’re talking about what their friends are buying.
We have a noticeboard in the back. It’s like a “word on the street” area where we write down things we hear. I take all of this on board when I do my planning.
We keep our shop competitive. We price match and offer a service that other stores can’t. We make it easy for members to buy from us, so if they have £30-40 on their account, I know they’ll spend it with us.
We often look at the Customer section in XPOS and sort by Account Balance and if anyone is up to £200 or so, we try to encourage them to spend it before the end of the year. Whether they’re in debt or credit, we’ll work out what a member needs to be comfortable and happy.
Events, like the Ryder Cup, are more about member engagement than specific products. We’ll run a sweep stake and organise a competition with a Ryder Cup format. We might also use it as an opportunity to clear some of the high value stock with a raffle or sweep stake.
A few years ago, we sent some of our members to the Ryder Cup with TGI Travel. They make those getaways easy for members, who then engage with the professional team about the trip. If I know they’re going away, it makes sense to sell them what they need. It’s a great service for the customer.
I’ve been an XPOS customer since the start. I did a degree in Business Management at Uni and understood the value of getting behind the numbers. When I was looking for an EPOS system, my research showed me that XPOS was the best.
We are realists. We know our customers are very knowledgeable and will look elsewhere for golf products. If they’re researching something, they’ll go online and look around when they’re at home. If they can see our stock in the Reserve & Collect area of our XPOS Caddie app, they can compare our prices and ask us to price match. We’ve had the app for a year and it works. It puts us in our customers’ minds and we’d rather they bought from us.
Right now, members are reading about stock issues in the industry and we want our customers to know that their XPOS Caddie app is a great way to be the first to reserve a new product and make sure they don’t miss out.
"It’s a great start to the day when I see that I’ve sold £90 of lessons and someone’s reserved a new golf bag – all before I’ve had my breakfast!"
This month, I’ll also use the app to run some special previews of new stock. We’ll be selective and will drip feed new product to keep things looking fresh.
We recently added the ProAgenda.com online lesson booking system, which has been a game changer for me. Anything I can do to save time is great and this is an absolute ‘must’ for us now. It’s a great start to the day when I see that I’ve sold £90 of lessons and someone’s reserved a new golf bag – all before I’ve had my breakfast!
Expert Tip for the Month
Phil Barnard, XPOS Chairman
With the current stock issues across the industry, it’s more important than ever to make plans and pre-order enough stock to satisfy your needs. With some shaft manufacturers quoting 8-12 months lead time, the issues around stock availability are likely to carry on.
If you'd like to keep up with our retail advice, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more information on online golf lessons within the XPOS Caddie app, get in touch with Matt Peace email@example.com