As more and more retailers turn to Motocaddy to keep the tills ringing this year, Editor Dan Owen visits the UK HQ near Stansted and spoke to John Helas, CEO, Oliver Churcher, Marketing Director, and Steve Morris, Sales Director to find out why the brand is excelling in all areas both on and off the course.
What does Motocaddy offer its retail partners this year that will stand out from the rest?
JH: The new S1 is a fantastic entry level product for retailers to sell. The quality is something you’d expect on our higher end products and there are some special features, including the 1-step folding that simplifies using the trolley, while the battery automatically disengages when you fold it down. It’s also a very stylish product and we believe many golfers will upgrade from the CUBE pushcart into the S1, especially younger players drawn to the way it looks.
OC: The S1 forms part of a truly comprehensive trolley range – starting at the Z1 push cart, through to the S1 and then there is a clear logical progression all the way to the M-TECH model. Not every golfer wants the same from their electric trolley. Some want a simple model and others want touchscreens, GPS and Remote-Control. Then we have bags and accessories, plus rangefinders. All of which makes Motocaddy a one stop shop for all golfers’ caddy needs.
SM: The exclusive EASILOCK system offers a great opportunity for retailers to sell a bag with a trolley and boost the sales transaction value. Product reliability also makes us stand out. Retailers can have peace of mind that they’re selling a brand offering top quality trolleys and a good after sales service. We’ve also worked hard to keep our products at attractive price points, giving the retailer really strong margin opportunities.
Unlike other brands in the sector, we have a team of full-time Territory Sales Managers out on the road visiting customers, which we see as an important part of our customer service. We also added a Key Account manager to the team to provide even more support where needed.
You’ve taken on some big rental fleets at prestigious courses. Why do you think they have turned to Motocaddy?
JH: Quality and reliability. While our sales have gone up significantly in recent times, our warranty claims haven’t – so that’s a good indicator of reliability. Stockists also know that our customer service will solve any problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. A rental fleet has to pay its way and to do that they need to be problem-free. Most rental fleets use the M5 model, which is great for someone who has never played a course before, as they have the GPS guide system built-in.
SM: This year a lot of resort courses are fully booked as people are travelling to play again. Rental fleets are getting bigger and since Pro’s talk to one another, they know we offer a good service and a reliable product. We’ve just added Hoylake and Dundonald Links along with Prestwick and Skibo Castle to our portfolio of top courses. It also gives a potential customer the chance to try the product before they buy, since it’s not a rental specific model. This makes it a much easier proposition to sell one to someone.
With more innovations to come this summer – like the M7 GPS & PRO 5000 Laser Rangefinder – how excited should retailers be about these products?
JH: The M7 GPS is going to be our flagship model. The M7 REMOTE has proved a popular trolley, especially in America, but we believe there are a lot of golfers here who will upgrade to a GPS and Remote-Control option. Across all our markets we’re finding more and more golfers want the best available, not just the cheapest model. We’ve sold many more M7’s in the UK than anticipated and demand is still growing.
I’ve been using the PRO 5000 for a while and have been really impressed how quickly it locks onto the target. Adding Bluetooth to give you front and back yardages is a real bonus. It looks great and has the Motocaddy name to lend it credibility. Most importantly, the price point is super competitive. It’s taken us a while to get it to market, but we needed to make sure it was right.
You’ve invested a lot in building up your customer service department, what level of support can your retail partners expect now?
SM: We want to be ‘best in class’ in terms of customer service, so we’ve gone from 8 to 14 people in the customer support team over the last 12 months, split across customer service and technical support. There is also a new structure with a Customer Support Manager and a Supervisor for each team. Along with the new software systems we have in place, the team is now geared up to offer retailers an outstanding level of support.
OC: We’ve also invested in higher stock levels. A big part of better customer service is for us to deliver product to customers when they want it. As demand has increased exponentially over the last two years, we’ve expanded our storage capacity and placed more forward orders to ensure we’re in a better position to supply product when retailers request it. Plus, we have a new warehouse in Germany to help with the challenges for our European stockists caused by Brexit.
Apart from the product launches, how are you building the profile in the UK and beyond?
OC: We’re always working hard to drive demand and help retailers sell our products. As well as investing a lot in marketing and traditional advertising streams, we’re building partnerships. This is the 17th year of our association with the PGA EuroPro Tour, supporting the next generation of professional golfers as both the Tour’s Official Trolley and Official Rangefinder and reaching more than 400 million households around the world. We’re also the headline sponsor of Golf’s Greatest Holes, the new TV show screened in 186 countries featuring Paul McGinley and Chris Hollins using our latest trolleys. As for point of sale, we’ve got the widest range ever to provide our stockists with really effective in-store merchandising options.
JH: We’ve invested in expanding the Marketing team and will continue to produce hard-hitting content for our domestic, European and North American partners. In the U.S. market we’ve set out to educate golfers about the value of using electric trolleys and partnered with the PGA Fitness magazine to highlight the benefits of walking courses. It’s going really well for us Stateside since we exhibited at the PGA Merchandise Show for the first time in January. We’ve now sold products in every State bar Alaska, and our research shows there is a lot of potential for electric trolley sales.
The recent Motocaddy report quoted estimates of significant growth for electric trolleys. So, what can retailers and their customers look forward to?
OC: The Market Report was an important project as no leading brand has provided an insight into how the caddie or caddy has evolved from the 1700’s through to the present day before. It features independent research from over 7,000 golfers, while explaining the product development process and how much testing is conducted before a product reaches market. The really exciting thing is that while the electric trolley market has accelerated in terms of technology and innovation over the past 18 years since Motocaddy was formed, there is still so much more to come. I think you’ll see some serious innovations over the next few years.
JH: One of the key things that came up from the research was the importance of the reliability of products. Style and shelf appeal are incredibly important too.
It also confirmed what we suspected, and that is different markets want different features on their products. And golfers now perceive an electric trolley as a performance enhancer.
You no longer see yourselves as just an electric trolley company but a caddy company. What does this mean to the retailer?
JH: As a brand we produce trolleys, bags, accessories and rangefinders to carry your clubs and provide distances. That’s every element of a human caddy’s job covered, as Billy Foster testifies. The retailer can offer a quality brand that offers the full spectrum in a way no other brand can. As part of our core identity, it gives us room for growth as a company.
SM: Retailers like to streamline the number of brands they work with. So, if they can cover their trolley, bag and rangefinder needs with Motocaddy, that saves them more time to do the rest of their job. Increasingly, retailers enjoy working with us and they know they can rely on us. GR