Country Club Pro Shops in the Post COVID-19 World
This is something no one was prepared for especially in the golf industry. Who would have thought golf shops would be required to close. That being said, there are numerous ways shops can be ready for the changing landscape.
1) Go Digital
If you aren't digital then you're missing out on valuable sales. People want convenience and ease. Given what has happened, people are going to want to shop online. There is no way around that. As a pro shop, if you have resisted taking your shop online, you can't wait anymore. You are in a unique position that you already have an email database to market products to members. Use that to your advantage. Beyond the initial set up, companies can easily send you product pictures and descriptions which you can tailor to your pro shop.
2) Unique Selling Proposition
Now that you are online, you have to offer something unique and special to your members that will make them want to buy from you and not straight from a company's website. Logos are important for some members while price is a huge factor for others. Your wholesale price allows you to work with the numbers and offer "member pricing". You might be worried about your margins but if you sell more at a slightly lower price those concerns ease over time. This is something you have to work with and figure out what works best for your club and members. Another worry is losing sales by members going straight to a company's website to buy. Again, if you offer something unique and special this won't happen.
3) Flexibility of Brands
Work with brands to be flexible on quantities, special orders, and quick shipping/turnaround time. Times are changing and both working together to be successful is a win win. Have open conversations with your reps from various companies about how you can work together as you transition to having your shop online. If you can't bring in a line or don't think it fits a majority of your members, have discussions about offering the members that are interested in brands you don't usually carry a discount code they can use on a company's website. This could even begin the discussion of having different programs offered to members to have access to various discounts they can use straight on a company's website. The option I like best is members getting a discount on a company's website and the club getting a percentage of that for credit to use on inventory. Companies could send a monthly report on the discount code usage and how much credit the club has for inventory. Or offer different programs for instance, program 1 members get x, y, z benefits and it costs this much, program 2 members get w, x, y, z benefits and it costs this much, etc. There are a variety of ways to work with brands depending on your club's particular needs.
4) Staple Pieces
As most companies suffered from cancelled orders and excess inventories, going forward they will be very cautious about their lines on all fronts especially size of each season. You want to look for pieces you can bring in that will stand the test of time. If this has to sit in the shop for a few months, what will people always be buying? What are items people will always want?
Beyond the struggles the industry has faced this year, we can rest assured that people LOVE golf and are itching to get back on the course if they aren't already which will definitely help get everyone through this.
What do you think about what will change? I would love to hear your thoughts. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org