Editor Dan Owen caught up with the Motocaddy Team at their HQ. Sales Director, Neil Parker and Marketing Manager, Oliver Churcher explain how the electric trolley experts are continuing to innovate and shape the future of the industry.
How has the start to the year been for Motocaddy?
Neil: It’s been a fabulous start for us. The season started early and sales have been strong. We’re currently 51% up on Q1 2018.
Oliver: We launched the new M-Series compact trolley range halfway through last year which really pushed us on to a strong second half of 2018 and helped us start this year with a lot of momentum. Our seven full-time Motocaddy Territory Sales managers started pre-orders in October, and they were 35% up on the previous year.
What’s been the driving factor in the M-Series success?
Oliver: The product offers a simple modern design with compact-folding capabilities. There’s a trolley option for every golfer, whether they’re looking for a simple easy to use trolley or whether they’re looking for more in-depth features. The design really helps break down the barrier between standard electric trolleys and compact-folding models, because it is so much easier to fold. Customers really like the inverted wheels, as it allows the trolley to fold down to a size that offers an 11% smaller folded footprint than our nearest competitor. The range has also proven to offer unrivalled reliability and outstanding performance out on the course.
What’s the advantage of the new more powerful motor system?
Oliver: The 28-volt high power system used on the M-Series is a massive leap forward from traditional 12V trolleys. Historically, electric trolleys have used 12V systems because they were designed to work with lead acid batteries. With the shift to Lithium it’s giving us more opportunities to explore other options. A 28V power system is more efficient, so the trolley doesn’t have to work anywhere near as hard. There’s less strain on the components, which is really good for reliability and longevity. Offering over twice the power of a traditional 12V trolley, the motor has more torque as well, supplying more grip on hills or steep slopes.
Lead acid batteries are no more. How important is it that Motocaddy is 100% lithium?
Neil: It’s genuinely grown the electric trolley market on a whole and we’re proud to have pioneered the shift towards Lithium. Previously one of the things that put golfers off electric trolleys was the thought that they would have to replace a lead acid battery after just a season or two. Not only were they heavy, they didn’t last very long.
It’s also allowed us to do things with trolley design that wasn’t possible before. The M-Series is the first model brought to market that hasn’t had to work with a lead acid battery and that’s really obvious in the design and how the battery is integrated into the chassis. The way it folds down would not have been possible with a lead acid battery. We also wouldn’t have been able to move to a 28-volt high power system if we still had to allow for lead acid.
Oliver: It’s five years since we launched our ‘Time to go Lithium’ campaign. Prior to that, around 20% of electric trolleys were sold with lithium. In those five years, we’ve gone from 20% of the market to 100% of our trolleys sold are with lithium batteries.
I got to see it back in Orlando, but Aquaflex is a huge launch for Motocaddy and a real departure from your current range. How has it been received by the trade?
Neil: Amazingly well. Traditionally we’ve just produced cart bags and we’re proud to have a proven track record in that market. It was difficult to predict the reaction to Aquaflex. We delivered the first orders in March and we’re already getting a lot of re-orders. The best part is it’s not taking sales away from our established cart bag models, we’re adding incremental sales.
Oliver: We pride ourselves on innovation and a lot of research and development went into getting the product right to go to market. Anyone who has ever used a stand bag on a trolley will know they rarely fit effectively. So not only did we want to produce a 100% waterproof lightweight carry bag, but also one that fits perfectly on any of our trolleys thanks to our EASILOCK bag-to-trolley connection system. It’s been so popular because it works perfectly as a stand bag, but for users with a trolley, it offers the ultimate flexibility.
How about the rest of the bag range?
Neil: Our 2019 bag sales are over 50% up versus the previous year. One of the big reasons our bag sales are so strong is because no other bag fits so well on to our trolleys. EASILOCK is a really important feature across all of our bags and trolleys as it holds the bag firmly in place and means that you don’t need a lower bag support strap. The golf trade has supported this feature as it’s easy to demonstrate to the customer as a real benefit.
Oliver: Retailers have really got behind the opportunity that bags and accessories offer them. We have a range of over 25 accessories and additional accessory sales have also become a much bigger part of the sales process.
The 2019 range includes 17 bags across five different models, which means we have options to suit all customers. Our 100-per cent waterproof golf bags have also emerged as an important category and we’ve been at the forefront of that. The Dry-Series is our top of the range bag and it’s also the top selling model in our range.
How is the brand doing internationally?
Neil: We are the world’s top-selling electric trolley brand. The biggest market for Motocaddy is the UK, but international sales are a vital part of our business. The biggest markets continue to be other parts of Europe, Australasia and Canada. We have a fantastic network of international distributors and localised customer service teams in the larger regions and it’s great to see how the brand is developing in newer markets such as Japan, Korea and South America. Pretty much everywhere you go in the world where golfers use electric trolleys, you will see the Motocaddy brand.
What about your Rental fleet and Push trolley success?
Neil: We were the number one selling push trolley brand in the UK last year for the first time. Golfer’s trust in the quality the brand has to offer through our heritage in electric trolleys. We’ve really focused on the category in the last 3 years and it’s made a world of difference. With our push trolley range from the top-selling CUBE to the new Z1, we now we offer some of the most advanced options on the market.
Oliver: Rental trolleys are incredibly important for the pro shop. Up until this year, our rental business was geared around the S1 model. But moving forward, our dominant rental products will be M-Series. The fact that they fold down so small makes them the ideal rental product. Lots of pro shops have the demand for 8 or 10 rental trolleys, but they don’t have the space for them. You can fit 15 M-Series electric trolleys in the space a buggy would take up. When people try an electric trolley using the rental product, it gives them a taster of what they’re missing.
What comes next?
Oliver: As a team at Motocaddy we are all golfers. We use the products and through using them we find ways to improve them. We appreciate the feedback we get from retailers and other golfers. That feedback does play a massive part in shaping future product development.
Neil: Another launch later this year will be the biggest we’ve had in years and will bring technology that’s never been seen on an electric trolley before. It gets harder every year, but we’re also working on some really exciting new product ideas that will come to market over the next couple of seasons. We’ve had a really strong start to the 2019 season with a lot of momentum behind us, so are really excited about the year ahead!