Written by Lara Burchfield, marketing manager for Sport Haley and Bette & Court
The boom of the digital shopping experience is creating competition for brick and mortar stores to keep their doors open. “U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $75.0 billion in the second quarter, up 4.9% from $71.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.” We, as merchants, need to entice our shoppers to stay loyal to local shopping and continue to buy from us before they search online. But how can we do that when e-commerce makes it so easy to find the right product, at the right price, at the right time, and with FREE SHIPPING? We create feelings and experiences for the customer. We create the relationship between customer and retailer. We greet each customer by name as they walk in the door. We call them when a new collection has arrived and hold their size in the back until they can come in and check it out. We clean, merchandise, and promote our shop so well that our customers will come to us first before scouring the internet for the next deal.
We need to focus on our existing relationships before we set out to make new ones. How is your relationship with your vendors? Do you know who your sales rep is? And what they can do to help you maintain your business? Or better yet, create more business?
All you need to do is ask. Many vendors in the golf industry have tools, tricks, and tips to make you successful at merchandising your shop. All you have to do is reach for it unless your vendors have already provided it. Some ways to help establish or further elevate your relationship with your customers are as follows:
Create an exciting entry way. Give your customers a reason to come in to the Golf Shop. Make an announcement on your clubs website about a new collection, or a promotion your running. One great example: Stop in the golf shop and receive a free lip balm for checking out our new Fall Women’s collection. It gives them a reason to stop in the shop and not make a bee line for the cart.
Add accents that you normally wouldn’t find in a golf shop. Incorporate candles, fragrances, candies, or even flowers to any display and your customers will be intrigued at the visual appeal alluring them to stop and check out the new or existing display.
So, what about those Millennial’s? They are the wave of the future right? “Millennials do not seek out products that show off their high status. Instead they are driven by experiences and opportunities to create memories they can share with friends” (Millennial Marketing.com) One suggestion we love, is host a Professional Mixer in the shop once a month. This invites the younger generation into the shop, and creates an awareness of support and creates an experience and opportunity that any Millennial is searching for. Teach them a few rules of the game to involve them in the conversation. Do a putting demonstration to show them a new technique if they are new to the game. Do something that engages them, teaches them, and creates buzz around the golf game.
Millenials are also searching for healthy, athletic, and organic options in their daily life. Provide tips about healthy living in your monthly newsletters. Millenials are also very visual. Look how popular Instagram became in such a short period. Create check in points around the course, have them take pictures and post to Instagram or Facebook for a chance to win a putter or a free bucket of balls. Or have a video looping in the Golf shop of a Golf Professional teaching a lesson, play music videos, or even a fashion show if it’s ladies day. Show something that entices them to hang around and watch a couple seconds. Sensory shopping experiences “attract customers and stimulate strong, positive and distinctive impressions across all five senses.” (Retail Design nad Sensory Experience: Design inquiry of Complex Reality by Jihun Song) Use multiple sensory cues around the shop. Scents, tastes, textures, and sounds all contribute to memory formulation and motivate purchasing. Your shops atmosphere doesn’t have to be stale. Remember, “emotions drive our behavior including buying. Experience is the best way for consumers to appreciate things, whether the service or the product; experience is usually the most memorable aspect of each thing we buy.” (Healy, 2008)
Which brings up the point, why should you spend time and possibly money on this generation? Well, the younger generation doesn’t comprehend why they should spend $150.00 for a round of golf when they could spend that on a plane ticket to Mexico. It is important to show this new age of professionals that you care about them just as much as you care about the baby boomer that is making 6 figures. To put things in perspective “There are roughly 80 million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion.”(Accenture – Who are the Millennial Shoppers) They are our future after all. If we cannot engage them and show them what the game of golf means to business, networking, and sales, then our industry isn’t fully utilizing what golf can bring to all age groups. It is a fun and competitive sport that not only is known for closing major business deals, but also teaching life lessons on sportsmanship, patience, and honesty. How are you going to make an impact on the future of golf and make more sales?
Lara Burchfield is the Marketing Manager for Sport Haley and Bette & Court. She started her career in the golf business 11 years ago with an internship at the Broadmoor Hotel and Golf shop as the assistant buyer. In 2004 The Broadmoor Resort won Merchandiser of the Year from both The PGA Magazine and the Colorado Section of the PGA for Resort Properties. In 2004 she became the Buyer/Merchandiser for Pinehurst Country Club, in Denver Colorado. Through the years she has worked as a Product Merchandise Manager for local corporate apparel firms, and a Sales and Marketing coordinator for a Women’s lifestyle/yoga company. She graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Apparel and Merchandising degree.