One year on from a private investment group acquiring a majority stake in the business, the CEO of the world’s top-selling trolley brand talks exclusively to us about record sales numbers and unprecedented demand; expansion into the U.S. market; and an exciting future for retail partners thanks to more ground-breaking products to come.
This year has proved to be a real challenge for most companies operating in the golf industry and Motocaddy is no exception. Poor weather and subsequent COVID-19 course closures severely dampened early season optimism following a record pre-sell period over the winter months. Securing sufficient stock to meet exceptional demand for both its electric and push trolleys once golf courses reopened proved increasingly difficult, as factory orders backed up and sourcing components from suppliers around the world became a logistical challenge.
At the same time, Motocaddy was set to launch its most ambitious and technically advanced range, while integrating key new staff members – from board level and international sales, to the UK sales team and warehouse operatives at the company headquarters close to Stansted airport. Plans to establish a U.S. subsidiary were then hampered by travel restrictions.
Faced with these challenges, employees across the whole company rallied together to ensure that retail customers were supplied with as many products as possible, so they could generate much needed income either from sales transactions or rental use. So how did Motocaddy fare?
“It’s no exaggeration to say that demand for our products has been through the roof since May and it’s taken a great team effort to respond effectively to the many challenges it presented,” said CEO John Helas, who has led the business for the past two years. “But thanks to the understanding of our customers, the dedication of staff and the high profile of our latest products, the resulting sales figures look incredibly impressive and we’re projecting a strong performance both at home and abroad in 2021,” he added.
September proved to be the biggest month in the company’s history in sales terms, beating another record the month before. During this period, the average unit price for electric trolleys grew by 15%, as increasingly active golfers decided to purchase models at higher price points.
“Between June and September our turnover was 55% up against last year and in September alone it was up 121%,” said John. “We’ve also managed to dispatch significantly more products over the last four months than during the same period last year – with electric trolleys seeing a 41% increase and bag volumes up nearly 50%. The focus has been on supplying loyal customers in our domestic markets and any delivery delays they experienced were due entirely to the sheer demand we’ve faced for all our trolley models during the second half of the year.
“It would be easy to pat ourselves on the back over these sales numbers, but that’s not our style. As pioneers in our sector of the industry, we also needed to find time to develop exciting new products for the future. The level of pre-orders for the next generation of Motocaddy trolleys is very encouraging and these models will enable our customers to sell with even greater confidence from next Spring. I think retailers recognise more than ever the importance of pre-booking to ensure they receive the stock they need,” he added.
Revenue growth over the past few months has been boosted by the success of the award-winning M5 GPS and M7 REMOTE models.
“The introduction of these two trolleys proved to be Motocaddy’s most successful product launches ever,” according to Helas, “We’ve been thrilled by the extremely positive reactions from the trade, as well as powerful media reviews that have undoubtedly helped to drive sales.
“In fact, the compact M-Series has been shown to be the most reliable trolley series ever. The reliability of the trolleys is built on sturdy, stable frames that back up the smart technology of the touchscreen and remote control functions that won prestigious media awards on both sides of the Atlantic this year,” he added, “At the other end of the spectrum, the popular M1 continues to be the ‘go-to’ entry-level compact product with the new styling and feature-improvements (USB charging port and Adjustable Distance Control) introduced earlier this season proving a massive hit with customers”.
Other important factors in the recent sales figures were the growing popularity of the game enhancing Downhill Control (DHC) models and the unrivalled M5 GPS rental trolleys (see panel).
Investment in growth
Since the acquisition by ETHOS Partners a year ago, investment to expand the business on a global scale has come not just in the form of new trolleys, bags and GPS units, but a new team assembled to see the company into a new era.
The new Chairman is David Hollander, former UK Managing Director of Dyson and an R&A member, while Richard Inglis was installed as Chief Financial Officer in the spring – just in time to put in place measures to support Motocaddy customers through the financial challenges posed by COVID-19.
With a decade of Motocaddy sales experience under his belt, Nick Brooker has been appointed as the new International Sales Director to help expand International sales opportunities and succeeds Neil Parker, who is set to take a non-executive role after fifteen years of impressive service covering both UK and International sales markets. Ian Smith replaces Nick as Territory Sales Manager in the West region, reporting to Steve Morris, Sales & Customer Services Director for the UK & Ireland.
Roger Teat, former Director of Sales Operations at Cobra Puma, is the new President of Motocaddy USA based in Carlsbad. He will be maximising sales opportunities for the brand that had two carts – the M7 REMOTE ‘Most Wanted’ model and the M5 GPS ‘Best Smart Cart’ – rated in the top three models of the 2020 MyGolfSpy test.
Looking to the future, John Helas added: “Having expanded our customer service team to help meet demand and provide an ongoing service, we also restructured it to better support our green grass customers. The goal now is to offer a best in class service and provide industry-leading experiences for all our valued customers.” GR