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How to Start an Online Golf Business
If you're a golf enthusiast with some entrepreneurial drive, the world of online retail presents a business opportunity. With disposable income dedicated to the game they love, golfers enjoy browsing the latest products from top manufacturers, whether in a store or on the Internet. Smart marketing plays will help you develop a loyal clientele and keep inventory moving.
Establish your brand identity with a close eye on how a potential clientele may perceive your products and your business. Golfers are always on the lookout for different approaches and equipment, whether it's an innovative driver design or a better golf bag. Build a website to emphasize your knowledge of the equipment and the manufacturers. Devote a blog page to new developments in course design, tournament play and golf equipment. You can run the site independently or use a web retailing platform such as Shopify, eBay or Amazon.
Investigate dealer arrangements with manufacturers, who have varying requirements -- in terms of your financing and business experience -- for carrying their products. Not all golf manufacturers will be open to online-only authorized dealers. Titleist, for example, requires a physical retail location at a golf course or driving range. You may also source your products through wholesalers such as GGolf and ProActive Sports. Hireko, a wholesaler, requires that you carry at least half your inventory in Hireko-branded products and that you've purchased at least of $2,500 in Hireko products in the last year.
Internet Retail Detail
Research the competition by browsing existing golf sites and investigating their inventory, services, and discounts. Study how they organize and present products such as clubs, balls, carts, shoes, accessories, golf vacations and club memberships. Find out if they have discount specials, e-mail newsletters or gift cards. Some sites, including Golfsmith, offer an affiliate program which allows you to earn commissions by driving Internet traffic to the main site. This would be a good way to learn the business as well as the needs of any retail platform you're planning to build.
Promotion and Marketing
Build public awareness of your online golf store. Post a blog with regular updates on new products, using keywords likely to be searched by golfing fanatics browsing the Internet. Invite subscribers to subscribe to an e-mail newsletter, in which you can discuss new and upcoming discount programs for your supplies. Advertise in local club newsletters and get your name out by sponsoring amateur and school tournaments. Send press releases to golf beat writers in the local media. Announce interesting new services, such as an online handicap tracker and "hole-in-one insurance" for tournaments offering big hole-in-one prizes. This can be done through underwriters such as Zurich North American.
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.
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