I have got an impression that there is a quite big silence around Cobra Puma Golf. Last news I heard from them is that they have extended their sponsorship contract with Rickie Fowler.
Most recently in the UK, Cobra Puma Golf has joined Foremost Golf‘s Elite Marketing Programme (EMP) new Premium member service. The pretty obvious intention is that they want to deliver the most extensive digital and integrated retail support available in the industry for PGA professionals.
Cobra Puma Golf has already brought some new ideas to the table within the EMP ‘Marketing Supported Clothing’ initiative which ensures that member professionals can coordinate their buy-in with the comprehensive EMP marketing support.
The above-mentioned premium member service is enabling the group’s more than 380 PGA Professional members to deliver profiling of individual customers on their database, with these profile splits dictating the relevant content that each customer will receive.
What could be Cobra Puma Golf’s response to current shopping habits?
I think golf retailers have to rethink their store concept by making digital a core part of the store experience and be more than a store.
In 2018, video monitor usage is really an old-school solution when we can utilize such technology solutions like augmented reality (e.g. virtual fitting room), beacon technology, or artificial intelligence (AI).
I would enhance the visual communication by utilizing such social media platforms there were not able a few years ago to generate website traffic and revenues: Pinterest, Instagram, chatbots.
In the case of golf retailing, we cannot neglect the importance of constant (ideally on monthly basis because of the rapid changes) customer journey mapping to create smooth cross-channel customer experiences.
But this will require investing in research to have a rich customer profile or persona.
What is annoying me is that according to Altimeter’s 2017 State of Digital Transformation study, companies, including retailers, are out of touch with real-world customer behaviors and preferences in general. Only 35% (vs. 54% in 2016) of the businesses we surveyed had mapped the customer journey in 2017.
I see a significant change in customers’ behaviors, preferences, and values as a result of technology improvements and developments (including social media and mobile technology). However, the share of e-commerce worldwide is only 9.1%.
Don’t underestimate today’s customers even if we are talking about golfers, they are also empowered, discerning, demanding, impatient, and elusive.
Cobra Puma Golf and other retailers must understand that people got used to on-demand retail, Amazon conveniences, shopping through their mobiles, and so on.
Consumers will be loyal to those brands who can offer experiences, personalization, and services. I really liked in 2013 when Cobra Puma Golf came up with the Stylecaddie mobile application that helps us to select the best golf apparel from their collections.
All this happens as a result of access to a seemingly infinite number of brand choices at any time of the day without leaving our homes. The role of PGA pros will decrease and transform, but it will not be as it used to be before the Internet-era.
My recommendations for golf retailers:
- Invest in customer journey mapping;
- Invest in market research to find out what kind of innovations your customers are expecting from you;
- Prioritize connected customers;
- Acquire the right professional skills.