Buying Show Season 
It’s getting close to that time of year again, when golf operators across North America head to their annual zone, regional or national merchandise shows. It’s a lot of work to prepare your open-to-buy plans, book hotel rooms and manage travel schedules. Plus planning the all important team dinners after each day (the best part)!

Buying Merchandise For Retail
At CK Golf we are not heavily invested in retail, it is often high risk for low returns if you look at the total costs involved (time = money). We recently wrote a blog (direct to consumer sales are killing golf retail) that emphasizes how difficult golf retail is. When wholesalers are selling direct to consumers it tells you how tough a ‘racket’ retail is. 

Note: one of our clients has a Walmart 1km away from the club. Walmart has golf balls on their shelves that we carry and they sell them at our cost. Needless to say we won’t be stocking those models next season.

Four Questions to Ask Your Suppliers Before Buying 
Regardless of the colors, styles, sizes etc. there are four very important questions we feel you need to ask before entering into an agreement with a vendor for 2019. They are:

  1. What are the payment terms? If the terms are net/30 you may want to change your delivery date. Net 30 means the invoice/ payment is due 30 days after the product arrives. This means if you bring the product in April 1st you may have to pay for it before you might even be open. Manage your cash flow first. Terms of net/60, net/90 or 2% (discount) net/60 are the best!
  2. Are these products ‘green grass’ only? Not sure this term really exists any longer but you need to as what products are available for sale at Walmart, Costco and Golf Town and stay away from those. You also need to ask what products can be bought direct from the manufacturer online. Yes we have discovered some of our golf balls on our own suppliers websites with free delivery right to our customers homes! Stay away from these products.
  3. What is the return program? Obviously it will be zero on logo’d merchandise but for shoes, shorts, pants, clubs this is an important question. You should be looking for a minimum of 20% return on the above items.
  4. What are the programs you have available? Things like buy 10 get one free, buy 20 return 50% of the product or spend $10K get 40% off cost for uniforms are all out there. You just have to ask! My favourite term when dealing with golf retail is “program deviation”. Which is essentially my way of saying I don’t like your program, here is what I propose. It has to work for both parties, but you should start with what you need to make it work. Often quantities, delivery dates or terms don’t work for you (particularly depending on the size of your facility). Don’t be held hostage, be prepared to walk away! 

Negotiate with your suppliers. They want your business. Your job is to make the best decision for your golf operation.

We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf  for 9+ years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of August 2016 our life and our business is ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.