The 2018 golf shop and the next great purchase

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The way we buy and sell things today is so vastly different from just 20 years ago, I hardly recognize it, even though it’s the business I’ve been in my entire life.

For many people nowadays, a few minutes with their phone, pad or laptop can result in hundreds of dollars charged to their credit cards. We can find almost anything anywhere, and there is no end to the choices. With a world now driven daily with more ads, more products, more deals, how can a golf shop still have a place in this world of the next great purchase?

There are probably more than 12,000 golf shops attached to golf courses and practice ranges throughout the United States. Most of these shops are small, less than 2,000 square feet. Most are not funded well, yet are overstocked with too much bad merchandise. How in this giant world of the next great purchase can a golf shop ever survive, when golfers can get a new driver, putter, shirt or cap with a swipe of their finger?

My belief is that golf shops can not only survive but thrive in this world. It takes care, attention, passion, a personal purpose and a reward system for today’s golf shops to build a loyal customer base.

In past years, the golf professional owned the shop. Today, the club owns the shop and the golf pro and staff work it. They have minimal incentive – or no incentive – and produce minimal results. It’s time to not only refresh the shop appearance and inventory, it’s time to refresh the opportunity. Allow the golf professional and key staff members to earn bonuses on successes both tangible and intangible.

Here are five ideas for creating a better golf shop in 2018:

– Sell off all poor and old merchandise ASAP.

– Work with the top brands to create an inventory program in which a reduced amount of inventory, together with more frequent deliveries, creates a new look every month.

– Create a product training and service program that generates excitement for the entire team.

– Create incentives for sales and service that makes every transaction count.

– Partner only with brands that provide support when there are inventory issues.

A successful golf shop should provide an extraordinary level of personal service. There must be strong brands. There should also be new brands and a variety of goods for men, women and juniors.

The golf shop must be a service place, not just a place to grab a glove on the way to the first tee.  The golf shop is part of the club’s service heart. If it is not providing a level of service demanded by everyone today, it can’t survive.

The team also must find ways to work against e-commerce, where service is based on algorithms that don’t have a club about a golfer’s handicap or his favorite cigar. Today’s golf shop can provide service, create new ideas and make money. it just needs to be held in higher esteem and given more care so we don’t end up with 12,000 new snack bars.

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Based in Orlando, Fla., he is a speaker, blogger and expert in all things golf. Contact him at 407-973-6136.

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