As the sales staff and agents start beating a path to your Pro Shop door we speak to TGI Golf Partnership Managing Director Eddie Reid about how best to prepare for Prebooks.
Prebooks… a word that has been used in our industry for a very long time, but one that I’m not entirely sure sits right in the current climate.
We have seen the trend of placing large pre-book orders for hardware fall away, which has had a positive effect, but I fear we are moving in the opposite direction in respect of understanding current market forces and trends.
There have been a lot of serious discussions with the major brands as it’s becoming apparent the current model is flawed and perhaps not in the best interest of everyone. The challenge we have is trying to find an alternative.
On one hand you have the brands who need some sort of forward order to forecast. On the other you have the retailer who doesn’t want to over order, but at the same time want some new product coming in.
When I first came into the industry pre-book season was August to September, hence why the Golf Trade Show was in October or November. By the time the show ended, most apparel order periods were closed and hardware is no longer launched in the same way, leaving all parties with a headache in respect of forecasting.
So how can the PGA Professional best prepare for this prebook period and ensure they don’t come unstuck?
Take your EPOS reports, look at the stats, analyse them and then use them as a bargaining tool.
Look at the season as a whole, perhaps March to October. See what your sales were, what you bought, how much you sold at full price, what your margin is and how much stock you had left. Alternatively, you could do from January to December.
Most brands will probably say ‘well, you did this with us last year, could you increase that by 10%?’ However, that’s not the best way to look at it. We’re working in a very flat market where you cannot simply expect growth.
Over the last five years in the industry, across all outlets, the number of units we’re selling is dropping. The reality is we’re selling less product but maintaining a higher retail price and a higher margin from it.
So, a rule of thumb for me would be if you’re going to look at pre-book versus the previous year, use 80% of last year as a guideline, then if you get through the season and sell it all ‘Hallelujah.’ If you don’t, then you shouldn’t have too much stock left.
Different pre-book levels receive differing levels of discount. From your point of view though there’s no point in booking more product to get a larger discount if you can’t sell it.
You could buy product for an additional 5% discount, but end up having to sell it at 50% off to clear it. Don’t fall into the trap of ordering because it’s perceived to be a good deal. It’s only a good deal if you can sell it.
Make sure what you have ordered is written down and verified by both you and the ASM.
From the time you place the order through to delivery time continually speak to the ASM to ensure there’s no problems.
The reality with apparel and footwear is that if it doesn’t come in on time and is considerably late, you’ve lost those sales and you’ll never get those back.
In these meetings you must always be in control. Yes, isn’t always the right answer. Make the ASM understand the needs of your business, don’t feel pressured or pushed into an order you don’t need.
Just order what you need and what’s right for your business. Finally, there are many brands out there who will work in partnership with you to ensure the best for everyone, selection of who to work with is critical…but that’s a discussion for another time perhaps.
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