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The best retailers are planning their apparel and footwear for 2024 now

Steve Bird, Foremost Golf Business Development Consultant – SE England and East Anglia, offers advice on the importance of planning for 2024 now.

For a club professional or golf club retail business, investing a small amount of time now can help to maximise sales and profit down the line at the same time as avoiding the same mistakes of previous years.

Don’t guess! Use your till system

Apparel and footwear can be difficult to pre-book, but you can use your till system to take a lot of the guesswork out. It can show you basics, like how many pairs of shoes you typically sell each year, through to popular or unpopular sizes, and what price points work best in your shop. Don’t just guess or let suppliers put orders together for you when you have this invaluable data that will undoubtedly reduce the dead stock in your business at the end of the season.

Good practice when pre-booking shoes is to allow for around 15% of your annual sales to be additional custom orders. If you don’t allow for this 15% when placing your orders, you are effectively guaranteeing you will be overstocked at the end of the year.

Utilise your till system and take the guess work out of it

Plan your promotions well in advance

If you already know the promotions you will be running when you go into your pre-books, it makes the buying that much easier. Not just in terms of what products you will be marketing, but also if the promotions involve replenishment discounts or additional purchases, you can factor these in ahead of time.

If you can coordinate your marketing so that the exact garments and shoes you stock are the ones being promoted in your customer communications, it is a proven formula to drive sales and limits risk when placing pre-books.

Retail groups like Foremost Golf will be able to guide you on future promotions and also help you to get a marketing plan in place.

A marketing plan will offer you structure and direction throughout the year

Margin focus

Consistently, the best-performing businesses in terms of profit margin, are the ones that work to a buying plan when ordering. Overbuying is the biggest reason golf retail shops can struggle with margin. Having a big sale at the end of every year is guaranteed to kill your margin. It is only profit when it has sold.

Plan for a margin mix in your buying. Yes, you need the popular products which are often lower margin, but make sure you compensate for this with some high margin options you can turn to when the opportunity allows. These could be retail group-exclusive products, that come with a higher gross profit margin and also protect you from being price matched.

Make sure you consider your marketing support when entering pre-books

Make your shop look the part in 2024

Unsurprisingly, the brands enjoying the best clothing/footwear success in recent times have had the best in-store presence. Plan with your suppliers how you can best present their product next year. They will be able to help you with displays, shop in shops and shop fittings. Brands invest millions in this product presentation because they know that the first impression of their product is crucial to a customer deciding whether to make a purchase or not.

Create a hot spot area at the front of your shop and rotate the display every week or so. This gives the customer a fresh feel each time they walk in and will result in more impulse sales – especially from the large percentage of our customers that are in ‘golf mode’ and are not actively shopping.

For more information on how Foremost can assist you and your business in 2023 simply email or call 01753 218 890

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