Make hay while the sun doesn’t shine

    Ian Martin, senior retail consultant and Adele McLean, group services manager at TGI Golf Partnership offer some advice on productive and profitable activity for retailers during the winter months.

    With the end of the season looming and things potentially quietening down for many golf retailers now is not the time to put your feet up or even feel low about the slower times ahead. While things are naturally quieter during the winter months there is no reason why you cannot continue to make hay while the sun doesn’t shine.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.20.31The winter gives you the perfect opportunity to do some housekeeping and get your shop in order to ensure you’re in the best place for the summer, but you can also do a number of things to make sure you continue to turnover healthy amounts.

    One task, which takes on added importance throughout the wintertime, is communication. With your customers spending less time at the club it is vital that you find a way to stay at the forefront of their minds. Keep communicating with your customers through regular channels such as enewsletters and social media. You can run special promotions through these media channels, such as enews offers that need to be presented in store to receive the saving. This will increase your winter footfall.

    Within your store look at building bundles of winter necessities such as mitts, hats, baselayers, handwarmers and so on. This is a great way to increase item numbers rather than just selling the odd item. Also, take a look at specialist winter brands and make big announcements about them. Make your customers realise they require these products or garments for winter just as they would need shirts and shorts for the summer.

    During this time concentrate on areas of your businesses such as repairs and lessons. Lessons can be a great margin maker so introduce some winter lesson packages to get your customers ready for the new season. Perhaps include new sections such as gadget and gizmo training.

    Repairs is another area where you can make great margins. Display grips, shafts and studs together to make a dedicated ‘Club Repair’ section. You could even introduce a free club MOT, which in turn could lead to a number of high margin repairs.

    In years gone by there were two distinct seasons, but with brands now launching products throughout the year the lines are becoming more blurred and we move towards one season. With product drops becoming smaller and more frequent, it is essential that you plan ahead and sell off old stock that is going out of line to make way for the new stock.

    During this quiet period it is important that you take the time to assess your shop along with its fixtures and fittings. Is it time for a refit? If so, this should be planned towards the back end of the year and carried out early next year.

    Finally, use this time to plan for the year ahead. Take the time for a bit of staff training so that all your staff know the features and benefits of next year’s products. Don’t be afraid to ask some of your ASMs to come in for product training, this can be extremely beneficial in the long run. Study your EPOS figures for the previous year and identify what has sold well for you, as well as what hasn’t, and put together a plan and budget for the following year.

    Winter can be a tough time with the dark nights and quiet days, but by putting in the hard work and putting in place a few ideas there is no reason why you cannot run a successful business all year round.

    For further information on the TGI Golf Partnership visit

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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