Business Apps: why should the golf industry care?

    With data showing that apps are increasingly being used by all age ranges of society, Jenni Biggs explains why they are something that all clubs should at least investigate.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 09.39.30The ‘there-is-an-app-for-that’ moment disappeared several years ago; the focus has shifted from novelty to innovation and long-term profitability. The app business has matured and become part and parcel of the economy itself, and this is the reason that your business should stop and take note. As Ofcom say: ‘The UK is now a smartphone society.’

    This means that golf retailers looking to take advantage of the rise of online purchasing and golf clubs that are looking to recruit and retain the younger generation, without alienating their older existing members, need not fear: smartphones have become the hub of our daily lives and are now in the pockets of over two thirds of UK adults. It comes as no surprise that the vast majority (90 per cent) of 16-24 year olds own one, however 55-64 year olds are also rapidly joining the Smartphone revolution, with ownership in this age group more than doubling since 2012 from 19 to 50 per cent. This trend is set to continue.

    The usage of apps in the UK has also increased steadily over the past few years, from 32.9 million in 2013 to 41.4 million in 2015. The golf industry for apps is split into two different sections; retail and club, with the overlapping themes throughout of customer awareness, interaction and mCommerce. For retailers, research from Barclays in 2014 predicted that by 2024 UK consumers are projected to be spending £53.6 billion per year using mCommerce. That same research shows that in 2014 33 per cent of retail sales that were made on mobile devices took place on apps.Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 09.39.07

    Mobile Responsive Websites – The App Resistor

    Many savvy businesses have already built mobile responsive websites; an excellent start because without one Google will penalise you in the searches. Research has also shown a high percentage of smartphone users will not return back to your site if it is not mobile friendly. However, as you can see from the mobile app revenue statistics, having a mobile responsive website is the very minimum requirement. If you are not offering an app for your retail business or golf club, you are missing out on a rapidly rising revenue stream.
    I have lost count of how many times I have heard, “but I have a mobile website, I don’t need an app.” This often comes down to the speaker not understanding the difference in the roles that apps play and what they mean to their target market. This is crucial because websites and apps are not interchangeable. Although there are areas where they overlap, they have very different functions and used together they can make a very powerful business tool.

    • Most people will find your business via your website
    • Your website is an excellent place for in depth details
    • Apps are great for retention and repeat business
    • Used correctly, apps can build strong relationships with your target audience

    Apps – The Flexible Business Tool

    Apps can be used for so many things and the biggest decision is to work out what the primary and secondary aims are for your app. It has to be a win-win for both you and your targeted audience. Below are a few ideas of what two types of businesses could use an app for:

    Golf Retailer:

    1. Brand awareness
    2. Direct sales (both B2B and B2C)
    3. New and current product demonstrations
    4. Data collection
    5. Used at golf shows from data collection to product demonstrations
    6. Push notifications of new product releases
    7. Loyalty cards
    8. Advertising directly to the users smartphone via GPS location services (local or defined area) or iBeacon technology

    Golf Clubs:

    1. Data collection to aid all areas of club marketing
    2. Scorecards
    3. Course guides
    4. GPS location
    5. Tee booking
    6. Events and fixtures, including push notifications of updates
    7. Results
    8. Pro-shop
    9. Coaching – lessons, tips, bookings

    Promotion of other aspects of the business like hotel, food and beverage, weddings, etc
    Advertising and sponsorship via push notifications that are sent using GPS location services or iBeacon technology

    Apps are great for reaching out and speaking to your audience. Whether you are a fan of new technology or not, they are here to stay and used by ever increasing numbers. Isn’t it time your business looked at investing in these powerful business tools?

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    Miles is the Owner and Managing Director of Robel Media, and the award winning GOLF RETAILING Magazine. With over 25 years in the media business, Miles has a wealth of experience in magazine publishing, digital media and live events. HANDICAP - 7.2