The key to strong pro shop retail sales is customers and customer spending.
Seems obvious enough, right? Then why in so many cases do I encounter clients that don’t know about their customers, yet along their spending habits? When a customer comes into your shop dressed fully in new sports attire, not purchased at your shop, then where did they purchase it? This would be the first question to find the answer to. They rightly can’t play the game without it, so their attire and equipment must be purchased at some point and I highly doubt their apparel came from hand-me-downs.
It can be said that staff at private clubs have far better ability to know their customer/members than those at public facilities, and in part I can’t disagree with this. These members are part of the club “family” and typically go the club at a more frequent and consistent basis. This said, your knowledge should not only be relegated to their name and bag number, you should also understand about their spending habits, or unfortunately sometimes their lack of. You need to pay close attention that not all members support the shop through retail sales. Does Mr. Smith, enjoy looking his best and is always browsing the new collections in the shop or does Mrs. Smith do most of his shopping. This is important information to know…especially if you should be focusing your sales skills on the Mrs. and not Mr.
In contrast and as much as private clubs have the ability to gain easier knowledge on their members, it does not mean that public and daily fee shops, do not have their own advantages. For example: the ability to capitalize on the first time visitor – and this opportunity is even greater if your facility is a resort destination environment. A high percentage of the players in these situations would like to take a part of their experience home with them, in the way of logo wear or logoed product (Refer to an upcoming blog about, “Is your logo working for you?”) Clubs should play close attention to these first time visitors and make sure their expectations are met at every step of their experience. You should ask during bookings if this is their first time to your facility. This way you will know in advance and can welcome them with insight or possibly a small retail gifts or spending coupons.
You need to also understand that people shop differently and have unique retail needs.
I have met many customers that simply don’t know how to shop for themselves. They don’t know where to start, what they feel comfortable in or in some cases handcuffed in worrying that they may make a wrong purchase – so they don’t. These shoppers should not be looked at negatively, but exactly the opposite. If you can understand their difficulties and assist them to learn and educate them, you will have become a trusted source for their retail needs. This can work for both soft goods within the shop and also equipment, which can start at the range.
All shops in all locations should set goals to gather customer profile information.
Use after purchase or yearly customer questionnaires to stimulate interest in the shop and educate your customers that you want to cater to their needs. The main take away is, the more you understand your customers, the more you can fine tune your buying and merchandising to their specific needs, and if you meet their needs sales will follow.