Many club retail operations are managed by golf or tennis professionals who may have an incentive opportunity based upon gross sales and cost of goods sold. While such incentives may only be part of the professional’s overall income, there are some things that can easily be done to improve the financial performance of the operation.
1. Use an Annual Buying Plan – What and how much inventory you buy each year should be carefully planned. Your plan should be in writing and be revisited at the end of the year to see how well you did in buying and selling various categories of merchandise. Revisiting you plan at year’s end will help you improve next year’s buy. Good buying decisions are the most important thing you can do to be a successful retailer.
2. Benchmark your Operation – Retail operations must be benchmarked in detail to learn as much as possible about what sells and doesn’t sell. The more you know about your customer’s buying habits, the better your future buys can be to serve your market. It’s also important to analyze the results of buying and markdown decisions. What and how much you mark down represent your buying mistakes. You should always learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating them.
3. Use a Merchandiser’s Book – Proper management of retail inventories and good business practice require that retail managers maintain close scrutiny of their buying decision, retail benchmarks, inventory purchase orders, and a log of their major merchandising decisions such as markdowns, sales, inventory discrepancies, write-offs, and any member feedback about the retail operation. By maintaining this information in one location, retail managers have a convenient method of continually analyzing their buying and merchandising decisions with an eye toward continual improvement.
4. Know your Customers by using a Membership Retail Book – Each retail interaction with a member buying merchandise reveals something about his or her buying habits and preferences. A Membership Retail Book is simply a place to organize and record the information learned about each member. It is as simple as recording member information in an alphabetized ledger book under each member’s name or utilizing the member preference feature of your retail software. Once information has been entered for a particular member, it is easy to add more information each time that member shops. In time the Membership Retail Book will accumulate a wealth of information about members buying habits and preferences. This information can be used to better serve members and increase retail sales.
5. Have an Established Discount Policy – Inevitably some merchandise will not move quickly and will sit on shelves or racks for some time. Such slow-moving merchandise should be made more attractive to members by reducing the price through a series of pre-defined discounts. Tracking such discounts in the Merchandiser’s Book may help the retailer understand what didn’t sell at full price and this understanding will help improve future buying decisions.
6. Use a Sales and Promotion Calendar – An annual sales and promotion calendar should be developed to help the retailer market promotional and discounted sales. The more members that know in advance about promotions and sales, the more foot traffic you’ll have in your shop. It can also be used as an opportunity to learn more about your member’s buying habits.
7. Rotate Stock and Change Displays – Move merchandise around daily or frequently to keep the shop interesting and fresh. Use props and displays to showcase merchandise. Seasonal decorations offer many opportunities to make the shop attractive and inviting. Ensure shop clerks are familiar with all products in the shop. Staff must be familiar with their inventories and knowledgeable about products carried in inventory.
None of the above steps are rocket science. More than anything they are the organizational habits of a professional retailer. Implement any or all of these practices and watch your business and annual incentives grow.
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.
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