The golf shop can be traced back to – who else – Old Tom Morris in the home of golf in St. Andrews, and over the past nearly 175 years, it has been a way for golf clubs to add value to their operation, increase their bottom line and offer a wide array of different products suitable for a very specific customer with very specific needs: the golfer. For a century, it was one of the very few places a golfer could purchase the necessary equipment to play the game. That is certainly not the case today.
Especially in the United States with a few clear exceptions, golf shops have become more of a loss leader and primarily operated by retail staff members hired by the golf club itself who do not have a stake in the company other than their job. And if that model is just fine with you and you aren’t looking at your golf shop as an opportunity to increase revenue and pad the bottom line, then this article won’t mean much to you. But, since people are still buying golf shoes at golf shops at the golf course instead of enlisting Amazon drones to deliver it to your house at a fraction of the cost, it means there’s ample opportunity for your golf shop to move from loss leader into a real revenue generating asset. Two tricks – upselling and cross selling.
What is upselling? Very simply. upselling is where you encourage shoppers to buy a higher priced item than the item that they’re looking at.
As an example, using those same golf shoes, somebody’s looking at a pair of Adidas golf spikes which retails for $79.99. Instead of simply allowing the customer to choose those shoes, instead you upsell them to the Nikes for $109.99. Providing margins are the same, which they likely are, this process increases your total profit. Easy. Right?
In the same vein as upselling, cross selling is when you sell complementary products to increase the overall basket size of this individual customer. Let’s use shoes again. If somebody is willing to buy shoes at a golf shop, they probably need socks as well. If they need a hat, they might need sunscreen or a towel to keep sweat off that brand new hat. This process can continue until the final moment the customer goes to pay. They might need balls, or a marker or a yardage book to go along with their Nike shoes, socks, hat, sunscreen and towel. All high-margin impulse buys to pad the bottom line one final time before they head to the first tee.
Easy in theory, harder in practice. What are some of the techniques for upselling cross selling that can make retail operators at the golf shop more successful than their peers?
Go Beyond the Counter
First, is personally interacting with the customer on the floor. Too often, especially in the United States, retail operators are stuck behind the counter. There are fair reasons for that – thwarting theft, answering phones, etc – but in order to really take your operation to the next level through upselling, retail staffers will need to come from behind the counter and work individually with customers to build rapport, and most importantly, ask questions.
Ask Meaningful Questions
A simple question with a yes or no answer isn’t going to build a ton of rapport and it’s not going to make the customer feel that you’re really engaging. Open ended questions are the best. Here are some questions for our shoes example. Why are you looking at this particular item? What did you like about your previous item in this? What didn’t you like? Was it too wide? Was it too narrow? Breathable? Weatherproof? Waterproof? Did it just not fit right? Do you play normally in wetter climates or drier climates? Are you noticing any changes in your stroke when you wear them? All of these questions are open ended and going to entice the potential customer to connect with you and give you reasons that they’re looking for this new product. By by asking and answering these questions for the customer, you’re adding value to the proposition and the overall experience, you’re building rapport with the customer and you’re gaining their trust. Once you have their trust, you can go for upselling cross selling opportunities that match their answers.
Keep it Simple and Connected
When you’re cross selling or upselling, it’s important to not betray that trust by delving into seemingly random or unconnected things. Let’s stick with shoes. Customer A comes into the shop looking for Adidas golf shoes. Based on your cross-selling training, you know you need to provide an additional item to increase basket size, so you suggest a pullover to go along with the shoes. See the disconnect here? The connection between these items is a stretch at best. You’re much better off suggesting socks, replacement spikes, different color shoelaces or upselling more expensive shoes than a pullover. It’s very important to connect the dots instead of throwing out random things just for the sake of checking off your cross selling to do list as a retail operator.
Prime Product Positioning
The rule of three isn’t just for aspiring comedians. Retail upselling comes in threes as well. When upselling more expensive items, make sure to present a retail customer three options while making sure to put the highest-margin item in the middle. Your customer might not want the highest priced product, but might be willing to pay for the product in the middle – especially considering the advantages and benefits it has over the lower-priced item. The middle product, in this case is STILL an upsell from the lowest-ticket item.
Want more tips and tricks for your retail operation? Visit 59club USA to inquire about training services.