One of the few benefits of the latest pandemic is the huge interest and demand for golf equipment and apparel. To handle the increased demand, and exceed golfers’ expectations in the pro-shops, is not a simple task.
Hence, I was really happy to discover RepSpark a B2B wholesale e-commerce platform used by brands to manage their retail channel and their sales representatives. There are over 50 golf brands on RepSpark selling in more than 6,000 golf shops.
I believe it can help you a lot to succeed. To better understand my excitement here is a real-life example from Andrew Blatnik, the PGA Director of Retail at Oak Hill Country Club.
RepSpark case study: Oak Hill Country Club
As you know, I manage the retail operation at a private country club that has recently been ranked inside the Top 20 Courses by Golf Digest, so the retail environment I deal in is substantially different than that of a traditional operation outside of the golf industry or even in the pay-for-play sector of the golf industry.
While anyone can walk off the street into the Oak Hill Golf Shop and purchase merchandise, 90% of our sales are derived from members and their guests, with the majority remainder coming from guests that play in corporate tournaments we host throughout the season.
For this reason alone, the stress of finding customers is diluted due to the inherent customer base. Also, private clubs hold rights to their own logos, which is often the #1 selling point for merchandise bought through private club shops.
I felt it relevant to share that background before relaying my experience with ongoing retail difficulties. In recent years, as traditional retail sales decreased around the world due to COVID, golf retail boomed.
Golf-related revenues, including retail sales, have increased throughout the golf industry year-over-year since 2019. I expect that trend to continue with current events (LIV Golf speculations in mainstream news, etc.) and more forecasted growth in golf, in general.
In the private club sector, we have seen increased turnover and higher demand than ever before. The current complications lie in the ongoing supply chain difficulties:
- longer freight timelines,
- and more expensive shipping costs resulting from ongoing overseas production/freight slowdowns and
- domestic underemployment in the freighting industry.
How did RepSpark help?
In order to keep my inventory at levels to meet demand throughout the season, RepSpark allows me to see what product is available for at-once production should I need to fill inventory gaps, but more importantly,
I can use it to prebook products months ahead of my seasonal drop dates when buying for future seasons. The best feature of RepSpark is the ability to view live inventory levels, direct from the vendor.
Before the advent of B2Bs, buyers at clubs were clueless in regard to current product availability, so they had to reach out to individual brand reps to get the information, leading to long communication timelines and longer in-hand dates for at once products, including special orders.
The tangible benefit of having live inventory can be seen when you look at our historical special-order revenue. In the past, special orders were less than 20% of total annual revenue. In the past 5 years, special orders have increased to more than 25% of our annual total revenue.
The major reason for this increase is the ability of my staff and me to show customers what is available right now, even if we do not carry the style in the Golf Shop, and have it ordered directly with the vendor, bypassing the lengthy communication with sales reps.
With that being said, there is still a great need for sales reps as oftentimes I add custom requests, such as embroidery details or event dates.
RepSpark and Golf Genius Software
This integrated solution allows golf shop retailers to save time, improve member service, minimize errors, and streamline the ordering process with over 50 golf brands and manufacturers including Straight Down, New Balance & Callaway Golf Footwear, Southern Tide, Johnnie-O, Holderness & Bourne, Greyson, Summit Brands and many other popular brands outside the golf industry.
Moving forward, the more vendors that are added to the platform, the more centralized RepSpark becomes as a B2B for all brands that I work with; and therefore, the easier my role becomes because I view RepSpark as a “one-stop shop” for special orders and prebooking stock inventory.
This article was brought to you by RepSpark.
If there any further questions for Andrew Blatnik, please contact him:
PGA Director of Retail | Oak Hill Country Club
- Home of America’s 20th Greatest Golf Course
- Ryder Cup: 1995
- PGA Championship: 1980, 2003, 2013, 2023
- Senior PGA Championship: 2008, 2019
- U.S. Open: 1956, 1968, 1989
- U.S. Senior Open: 1984
- U.S. Amateur: 1949, 1998, 2027
145 Kilbourn Road | Rochester, NY 14618
Office: 585-586-1660 x 389
Golf Shop: 585-381-1900