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August 2020

Personal E-Shopping Becomes Part of New Normal

By Steve Eubanks

Even with courses open, a lot of shops either closed or limited the number of people inside. So, for an entire season – the busiest season of the year in terms of golf merchandising – there was virtually nowhere to shop.

Perhaps nobody felt that more keenly than Caroline Basarab, the director of merchandising at Reynolds Lake Oconee, one of the Southeast’s premier golf communities. Basarab had six golf shops and was preparing for a banner spring when the world shut down.

The problem is that March through May in the lakefront area an hour’s drive from Augusta is when rounds skyrocket and the bulk of the year’s most profitable merchandise sales take place. Closing the doors was like canceling Christmas.

Basarab had to innovate. She did so through the only means available – technology.

“Not knowing when all or any of the shops were going to be open and not having a definite date, I was showcasing vendors through e-blasts, showing off men’s apparel, women’s apparel and hard goods, specializing in a specific vendor with each e-blast I sent,” she said. “That’s likely to continue, in part because of how we’ve had to change the shop operations.

“From what I’ve encountered, the new normal is less lingering in the shop and more of a personal touch.”

ShopTalk Tips:

  • Several businesses are getting creative when it comes to reaching their customers. Utilize your online platform to reach customers by partnering with vendors via e-mail marketing.
  • Promote sales on specific items
  • Showcase an exclusive brand
  • Encourage gift cards
  • Offer curbside pickup or shipping
  • Develop online shops
  • Increase use of social media shopping features like in Facebook and Instagram
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