That was just one of the pieces of advice passed on to a record number of 250 Foremost members who attended the group’s ten Regional Workshops held at Exeter G & CC, Ross on Wye GC, The Drift GC, Toot Hill GC, Cosby GC, Normanton GC, Chester Le Street GC, Warrington GC, Deer Park GC and Edenmore G & CC in February and early March.
This year’s Worshops were run by Foremost’s Head of Membership Services and ProShop Revolution, Pete Durham, and the group’s Retail Development Manager, Steve Bird, and they were structured to highlight the key areas in which Foremost members can build their businesses during a recession.
Durham is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading retail experts and he provided attendees with valuable advice on how they could increase their turnover and also maximise their profits.
“We all know the market is tough at the moment but that does not mean we should shut up shop and go home,” he said. “I genuinely believe that all Foremost members could increase their income by adopting some of the simple but effective retail strategies used by the successful High Street stores and that is just one of the messages we wanted to get across during the recent Workshops.”
One of the key subjects Durham talked about during the Workshops was Maximising Gross Margin and he used a simple Q & A form to illustrate that it is an area in which PGA professionals often have much to learn from their High Street and On-Line rivals.
“The simple fact is they achieve much better margins than we do and that’s no accident because it’s something they are trained to focus on.” he said. “The average Foremost member is never going to sell as much product as a large High Street store but he can do a lot to improve his margins. What I suggest is that all Foremost members should learn to ‘Buy Clever’.
“One of the things we did during the recent Workshops was to ask the attendees to fill in a form listing the equipment they stocked and almost to a man they wrote down a combination of very similar products.
“The big nationwide retailers stock a lot of products that offer wide choice and that means they work to an average margin of about 45%. I would estimate Foremost members probably average about 25% across their product range but there’s no reason why they can’t get that margin up to 35% if they ’buy clever’ and consider the range on offer.”
Durham and Bird went on to highlight the success many Foremost members have achieved from recent Ball and Glove Multi-Buy promotions and showed how Foremost’s Shoe Display Project have increased sales across the country. Attendees also received advice on how to improve signage and ticketing in their shops, on how to empower and motivate staff, on how to build a better relationship with their golf clubs before moving on to explain how to maximise their margins across their whole business.
“‘Buying clever’ will help members maximise the margins they get from the retail side of their business but I would recommend they should go one stage further and provide their customers with a USP they can’t get from a High Street store or an On-Line retailer.
“Offering a Custom fitting service is a useful USP which has worked well for a lot of our members but it’s by no means the only one.
“A simple loft and lie machine can be one of the most profitable items in a shop but you can just as easily go one stage further by offering a club cleaning service or by marketing your business as a Repair Centre.
“Both will quickly provide new sources of income and while your assistants are running that side of the business you can concentrate on building a reputation as an expert coach or developing the relationship you have with your club.
“The great thing is that even in a recession there are a lot of things you can do to build your business and that’s the message we have been trying to get over at our Workshops,” added Durham. “It has been great fun and hopefully it has also been useful to the ** members who signed up for one of the days.”