Big Max is a relatively new entrant to the UK market for trolleys and bags, coming to the UK only four years ago. But the company has been selling trolleys in Europe for over 20 years. Thomas Reiter, founder of the company discussed what the company can offer with Glyn Pritchard.
There’s no doubt that Big Max is big in Europe, with 38 percent of the trolley market according to a report by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc in 2013. “We are very strong in our home market of Austria and Germany and we have an even bigger market share in Sweden”, Reiter confirms.
The Big Max marketing strategy is definitely not based on price cutting. “We don’t sell cheap products. Everything we produce is designed to the highest standards and we constantly innovate to stay at the front of the market.”
The company’s top-end Nano Lithium power trolley is definitely a wonder of German engineering with an RRP of £1,495 to match. “The motors are contained in the wheels and the lithium battery is housed within the frame so it has the appearance of a push trolley with the smallest folded size on the market. The motors we use are gearless and brushless so they are maintenance free, with both forward and reverse drive. The battery will last 36 holes.”
Reiter claims Big Max was the first brand to produce the three-wheel push trolley. “I had worked in the golf industry and when I started the company I wanted to focus on one product area where I believed there was potential for improvement. Two-wheel golf trolleys were then pretty crude and 16 years ago we introduced the first three-wheel push trolley which was a big success.”
The company’s current top of the range three-wheel push trolley is the Blade which folds down flat for transporting, without the need to remove the wheels. A one fold mechanism means that the wheels automatically flip out when unfolding. Once again this level of engineering comes with matching price tag. With an RRP of £299.99 the Blade is more expensive than an entry-level power trolley.
Basing its marketing strategy on outstanding engineering instead of designing to a price point has been positive for the UK market generally, Reiter believes. “With our entrance into the UK market we have managed to raise the overall average price of trolleys and also raised the expectations of customers in terms of design and build. Customers are trading up because they now have a better quality alternative.”
While Big Max markets pull, push and power trolleys, it only sells the power models in territories where it can provide after-sales service. “Our policy is to offer sales and service for the Big Max power trolley range so currently that’s principally in the UK and the rest of Europe.” In terms of route to market the company sells through both on-course and off-course retailers including American Golf and Direct Golf.
Five years ago Big Max started producing golf bags and once again Reiter saw an opportunity to innovate, offering the market something better. “Bags were not really waterproof, so in heavy rain the contents would be soaked. We have designed the iDry Aqua series of bags to be completely waterproof with sealed seams and even with waterproof zips so nothing gets wet. Having got the technology right we’ve used a fashion designer to help us with the 2015 range of Aqua bags so that the bags look as great as they perform.”
Such high levels of design engineering don’t come cheap as Reiter confirms. “We spend about $200 million a year on tooling to make new or improved products and we have a policy of continual product improvement. Our trolleys and bags win awards and we have penetration in difficult markets such as Japan. I know that the UK market is very price sensitive compared to the rest of Europe, but I believe that if you produce an excellent product that does not compromise on quality and design, there will always be a market for it.”