The season may be over but don’t stand still

The golf season may have come to an end, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to shut up shop and wait for next year, there’s still plenty for you to do and money to be made. TGI Golf Managing Director Eddie Reid looks at what you should be doing to ensure your business continues to thrive.

September is upon us and with that the curtain comes down on the golf season – although we can usually rely a little on the ‘Indian Summer’ that invariably gives us some long spells of sunshine this month. However, the footfall enjoyed throughout the summer months will begin to dwindle over the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean we need to despair, roll down the shutters and sit tight until next year. We can still make hay even when the sun’s not shining. So here are some things you should be doing this month to keep your business running smoothly and customers coming through the doors.

Check what you’ve got
Now things have quietened down somewhat it is the time to take stock of what you’ve got. Gather your assistants together and start the stock take. This will identify which departments, and most importantly which products, you need to concentrate on selling through. Utilise your EPOS system, if you have one (if you don’t that’s another conversation, invest, you’ll never look back) to identify ‘Dead Stock’ – in other words, stock that has been sat in your shop for the last 9-12 months. The stock take is an essential process at this time of year so you can implement an end of season sale and clear your shop floor of the product that’s clogging up space that could be used for product that will sell.

Your end of season sale should already be in full swing really, having started in August while people are still playing and you should be approaching your targeted stock holding for the winter. Should we have that Indian Summer and you require more stock, it’s important to know that many brands will have stock clearance on hand if you need quick top ups.

Time for a change
If it hasn’t already landed then your Autumn/Winter apparel will be delivered very soon, so now is the time to have a look at changing things around a little. Regular readers of this column may have noticed a common theme in that I’m often discussing having a rejig of the shop floor. That shows the importance we place upon moving things around a little. Especially when you have new product coming in, it is even more important to identify where this new season’s product is going to go in-store to ensure you generate the highest impact of sales.

Remember, most of your customers will be repeat customers as club members pop in, so it is important to change things around otherwise they will get so used to the layout they will not notice new products. Also, make sure you tell your customers about any changes or new stock through your email marketing and social media. Talking of which…

Check your marketing plan
During those quiet dark winter days when things are really quiet in the shop you will hopefully have put together some sort of marketing plan. If not, it really is something that all businesses should be doing. Anyway, that’s something for the next column. Right now, in September, you should revisit that plan and re-asses it. During the busy summer months, there’s every chance you may have taken your eye off the ball and let some things slip by. The email marketing newsletters may have slacked off, so it is time to pick those up again, particularly with the end of season sale we spoke about earlier. Review the calendar of events coming up at the club and define what actions you and your staff need to take in order to maximise any sales during this time.

Hold your prices
As we do head into the ‘off-season’ it is important to remember, that with today’s emphasis on custom fitting, you can keep your hardware prices at a premium. In the bad old days products came into store in March and the high-volume retailers would reduce the price within six weeks, then by the time July and August came around brands wanted to clear your stock for more launches, so you effectively had four months to make hay on product with a year’s cycle.

Because product life cycles are now longer, the price on custom fitted products stays higher. There’s no clearance anymore so you should still be selling your hardware for the best price. When it comes to your sales always be aware of what the product life cycles are with the brands so you can tie your sale period in with it. There’s no point going into a sale with a product that has a lifecycle for another year, maintain the highest price you can on your hardware.