The finest fabrics, latest innovations and striking colours are all integral parts of selling apparel to golfers, but beyond the product photo shoots, marketing talk and inventive colour names, we asked golf’s leading apparel manufacturers what else they are doing to support the retail trade this autumn. This is what they said…
Jason Wade, Nike Golf European Apparel Business Director:
Moving into the autumn, we are very aware that golfers want to extend their season as much as possible but the weather is often the biggest problem, especially in the UK. Our new Hyperadapt suit that will be launched at retail on July 1 will help golfers to keep playing into the colder and wetter months.
We also believe that asking golfers to spend £380 on a waterproof suit without actually trialing it in a golf environment is an increasingly difficult thing to do. We would hope that every one who buys a Covert 2.0 driver, or Pro Combo irons for example, will have hit the product and based their buying decision on their experience. With this in mind, we will provide our key retail partners with a full size run of Hyperadapt suits for consumers to try on and use on the range or in hitting bays. What we believe separates Hyperadapt from the competition is that it will not hinder performance, because of the freedom of movement it promotes which hopefully golfers will see when they try the suit. Last year’s model was a huge success with our Tour staff, and Paul Casey actually won the Irish Open wearing the jacket.
In terms of retail support, we are also offering training to staff working at our key retailers so they can better educate the consumer on the features and benefits of the new suit.
Aside from Hyperadapt, we have moved away from knitwear products and into our Cover Ups, such as the Innovation Woven Cover Up. Like traditional knitted jumpers, these offer warmth, but in line with our Freedom of Movement mantra they also allow golfers to swing freely without restriction. Scripting is a key initiative for us to sell key styles, especially around the Majors. When Rory or Tiger are seen on the fairways and greens of Hoylake in July, people want to be able to buy what those icons are wearing. With this in mind, we invite retailers to buy the outfits that the guys will be wearing on the four days of the tournament, and to support this Nike Golf provides point of sale material and images of the guys wearing those styles free of charge.
Andrew Jones, Glenbrae, General Manager
We believe the strength and success of a brand in the modern market place has to be about one key element – focus. Our aim is quite simple: to manufacture the finest quality performance knitwear in the market. We do this by now becoming the only knitwear brand that spins, knits, dyes, embroiders all of our knitwear here in the UK and all ‘in house’.
We are very proud of our British heritage. Therefore this key message is something that features heavily within our branding and in-store POS, so the retailer is able to communicate this hugely positive and emotional feature to their end customer.
We then combine this with an increased interaction with our retail partners, so they are fully aware of what and who we are and what exactly we do. This takes the form of mill and factory visits, where retailers are exposed to the unique manufacturing process involved in the making of a Glenbrae sweater. This highlights our balance of traditional artisan techniques with the latest technical innovations in manufacturing, such as our seamless knitwear and the design of our own Spirol Yarn.
Together – brand and retailer – we then have shared commitment to ensure we create a visibly exciting environment that entices customers into the shop and to our brand. Knitwear is very on trend in the fashion world, however we have to ensure we balance this with the performance aspect that is relevant to golf.
Therefore we look every aspect of in-store merchandising, including the very basics of folding garments. Something as simple as this can have a huge impact. All of our POS has to offer something different and be of high quality as this reflects on the brand too. To this end we have introduced the ‘Centre of Excellence’ concept, which can involve up to a maximum of three clubs per county in the UK. These retailers become a beacon for the brand, carrying an extensive collection, beautifully merchandised, including bespoke POS. The sales within the concept have been fabulous. The latest recruits to this concept are Saint Enodoc, The Manor House and Bowood, who have joined the likes of Moortown , Fulford and Foxhills.
Mike Forsey, Ping Collection Global Merchandise & Strategic Planning Director
The primary feedback we received from our 2013 collection was that the customer expressed a desire to choose from a broader range of products than we offered previously for Autumn-Winter ranges. That’s one of the reasons why, for example, the number of polo-shirt designs on offer in our Autumn-Winter 2014 line has increased significantly. We’ve also introduced our new technological Sensor platform across our AW14 collection, which means each design is specifically engineered with the demands of the game in mind. It’s enabled us to develop creatively, while maintaining the exemplary standards by which we design and engineer each garment.
We’re also coming to the market with genuinely innovative products. For example, Typhoon is a trouser that looks, feels and wears like a chino, but is completely waterproof. We’re very excited to bring this to market, and it’s only possible thanks to the development of our Sensor platform. This technology has enabled us to expand our creative boundaries, which in turn has opened up new avenues for the trade. It’ll undoubtedly give them a well-rounded range to work with
Grahame Jenkins, director of international business, Bobby Jones
The Bobby Jones brand has a rich heritage and we have a responsibility to ensure that our customers respect and reflect this in the way that they present the product in store. We all know that customers shop with their eyes, then with their hands, so if products aren’t presented in an attractive way you will find it difficult to entice them. We try to ensure that all accounts have the collateral they need, whether that’s good looking point of sale, hangers or displays, but ultimately it’s down to the store manager to make sure that the shop looks the part.
Attention to detail: Oscar Jacobson’s ‘Shop-in-Shop’ concept is being rolled out to key accounts in 2014
Gunnar Hedendahl, worldwide sales and marketing director for Oscar Jacobson Golf, on OJ’s new ‘Shop-in-shop’ concept for preferred suppliers, which features free point-of-sale installations in three-year agreements:
At OJ, we view shopping for golf clothing and accessories every bit as much of the golf club experience as playing the course and socialising afterwards in the clubhouse. Modern golfers, men and women are more discerning and fashion conscious than ever and have never had so much choice in what is now a very competitive market.
Of course, we believe that OJ will always stand out from the opposition, but Shop-in-Shop takes the retail experience to a new level, helping our customers, our family of ‘Preferred Partners’ – primarily club professionals – to present one of their premium brands to maximum effect, making the purchasing choice by the consumer a more visual and tactile experience.
We have been very strong with trousers in the past, and then our focus grew to polo shirts, and now in 2014 I think we are very strong in outerwear too. We have a big range, which stays true to our tailored, Scandinavian style and we have high hopes for this range.
Our new four-way stretch rain jackets come with full zip or half zip, and they are made from fantastic fabric – it is flexible and light and breathable. The detailing on the product is fantastic, with excellent Japanese Velcro, and our manufacturing process is carbon free, which is very important.
Roger Tjernberg, chief executive of Oscar Jacobson Golf:
We want to see retailers challenge themselves a bit more. A lot of the time retailers can be cautious and very careful, but we would like to see retailers take a step forward. We also need to challenge ourselves all the time. The whole golf apparel business needs to be challenged. It needs companies to do the unexpected, and something new. If brands and retailers do the same, basic things every year then the consumers get bored, because they have already bought four pairs of navy trousers. We need to step out of the comfort zone.
Russell Lawes, FootJoy Marketing Manager:
At FootJoy, we pride ourselves in the support we offer to our retail partners. We do everything in our power to assist with high sell through levels of FJ products, whether this is through generating consumer demand via TV, print and online advertising, consumer promotions, as well as impactful in-store point-of-sale.
FJ offers a huge catalogue of free-of-charge POS to ensure our products are showcased in their best light within stores. We understand that consumers shop an impulse purchase within 15 seconds and our aim is to offer a level of POS that excites and inspires golfers from the moment they step inside each store.
As well as offering a catalogue of POS, FootJoy develops merchandising guides to help generate ideas and inspiration on effective merchandising displays.