Matt Barham Managing Director at Laps Europe, owners of Golfbidder.com explains the opportunity with re-commerce within the golf industry.
How has your first year been at Golfbidder?
In 2019 Golfbidder was bought by a Montreal-based company called Laps, who are the leader in North American golf re-commerce with Golf Avenue and they also own cycling re-commerce platform Cycling Avenue. The acquisition took place as we were going into lockdown and a lot of the growth plans had to be put on hold.
I joined Golfbidder in February 2022. It’s been my role to really focus on accelerating those plans now life has returned to normal as well as integrating the business into a larger organisation. The synergies between the two companies give us a fantastic advantage in accelerating the growth of our business.
Where were you before Golfbidder?
I was the UK CEO for eBay Classifieds Group, responsible for the growth of three re-commerce platforms Gumtree.com, eBay Motors and Motors.co.uk. For a number of years, I have focused on growing consumer-facing digital re-commerce businesses, and I’m really excited by the potential of re-commerce in the golf industry and the leading role Golfbidder will play in making golf more affordable and accessible across Europe.
Whilst eBay is a global corporate tech business, it’s been great to join Golfbidder at this stage in its evolution and following its acquisition. As well as thinking strategically about the business, I am also able to get hands-on and to work alongside the team to bring our strategic plans to life operationally. It’s a lot of fun!
The vision is to make re-commerce the new standard. Golfbidder is well positioned, sitting at the intersection between an increasingly conscious set of consumers in terms of the circular economy, wasting less and sharing more, but doing so within the golf industry.
Golf re-commerce is an increasingly competitive landscape. But that’s a fantastic endorsement of the opportunity that exists in quality authenticated pre-owned golf equipment. With the covid incited golf boom we’ve played a role in making golf more accessible through affordability.
How has the launch of the new website gone?
It’s early days having only launched our UK platform at the beginning of February. We’re currently working on the European sites which will go live by early May. Our new platforms represent a significant step change for the business. We’ve been running our UK website and our European websites covering six other countries on the same platform for quite some time.
These new sites are significant milestone in integrating our business into a larger organisation following the acquisition. We are now supported by a much larger Product & Technology team who are based in Montreal and who also support our Golf Avenue and Cycling Avenue businesses for the US and Canadian markets. It allows us to evolve our user experience and our online value proposition at a much faster rate, leveraging the scale of the business.
We have also been investing in the tools and capabilities that Golfbidder hasn’t had in the past. For example, more advanced CRM tools and Content Management tools, which allow us to build more relevant and meaningful interactions with our customers and to help people make informed decisions around what equipment’s right
How is Golfbidder Pro doing?
Golfbidder Pro is a quick, convenient, and trusted way for retailers to operate a trade-in service for their customers. It helps retailers drive their own sales by offering customers the ability to fund their new purchases.
Since it launched in the UK August 2021, we’ve seen some impressive engagement. We’ve got over 700 retailers that are using the site. It allows them to search and find specific makes and models going back over 10 years in terms of manufacturing date. It gives them instant trade-in prices so that they can be transparent with their customers. We’ve calculated since our launch in August 2021 that we’ve put £2.5 million back into the UK golf industry through these trade-ins. The customer receives their money back as store credit, keeping that money within the golf industry. We think that’s vital.
To build upon the success of Golfbidder Pro in the UK, we will be launching Golfbidder Pro across our European Markets in May and June. It is an important growth driver for the business that will continue to help us lead the way in offering an unrivalled level of abundance and choice of authenticated, warrantied pre-owned golf equipment for our customers.
You recently expanded into a new office as well?
We took on additional space on the same business park as our warehouse to help to facilitate the growth of the business. As well as creating space for ever-increasing levels of stock, we needed space for new members of the team. For example, in addition to our growing club inspection and customer support team, we have a new Finance Director who recently joined from Leicester City Football Club to help strengthen our leadership team.
The geographical expansion of the business is a big opportunity for us. As well as serving the UK, we also have a thriving re-commerce platform in six European countries. We’re working through plans to build a physical presence for the fulfilment centres in Europe which will help us better serve our growing European customer base.
What are the benefits of being part of the Laps group?
Becoming part of Laps creates multiple opportunities to accelerate the growth of our business. As per our current focus, leveraging the technical expertise and the scale of the organisation to create greater value for our consumers and retailers. Why is that important? It means that we can reduce the time to market for deploying new features and for improving the experience for our users.
We are able to share learnings of high-impact initiatives with wider colleagues who also focus on building a world-class re-commerce experience in Golf. These shared improvements have already benefited the 42 million sessions we have collectively served since the acquisition, which highlights the significant role we play in the golf industry across several markets.
We are also able to access further funding to really help drive awareness for and consideration of Golfbidder as a growing brand. Building upon our successful marketing initiatives such as our long-standing Social Media partnerships with Rick and Pete, we recently launched a campaign on talkSPORT and we’re looking at other channels to drive awareness that we wouldn’t have been able to in the past. You’ll see a much greater visibility of the brand moving forward! GR