- Jason Weaver, IT Director
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Consolidation within golf retail has created a trend away from personalized experiences in stores, but not for Worldwide Golf Shops.
Worldwide Golf Shops operates six brands across 14 states – Roger Dunn Golf Shops, Edwin Watts Golf, The Golf Mart, Golfers Warehouse, Van's Golf Shops, and Uinta Golf – and is committed to infusing a passion for golf into every interaction.
Creating that kind of true-to-the-brand experience every time, however, takes focus and dedication – the kind that's made possible with an equal commitment to solid, technology-driven operations.
For that, Worldwide Golf Shops uses Retail Pro POS and retail management software.
Jason Weaver, IT director at Worldwide Golf Shops, oversees the technology solutions, including Retail Pro, used in their 81 stores, which range in size from 5,000 sq. ft. to 60,000 sq. ft.
The retailer first implemented Retail Pro in its Santa Ana flagship store in 1996. Over the next decade, they acquired other brands, which used different POS software; so to streamline IT management and increase efficiency, all stores migrated to Retail Pro – a project they launched in an impressive 6 weeks.
"As Worldwide Golf Shops grew further and more than doubled its footprint with acquisitions, we saw the value of unifying our business on the flexible Retail Pro platform, so we chose Retail Pro for our 81 stores, with the goal of increasing efficiency," Weaver said.
At Worldwide Golf Shops, Weaver is responsible for solving store efficiency problems with technology, making the job easier for associates – so they can focus on customer experience.
With competition from giant sports retailers, Worldwide Golf Shops knows its associates are the primary touchpoint for most customers, and its staff sets them apart from the competition.
The retailer hires golfers. Golf is their passion. Because the associates themselves love golf, every customer is treated with that special personal touch. Customers like to talk about the game, about the pros and about technique. The staff gets to know customers by name. That's a striking difference from the impersonal experience most customers have with the huge competitors.
In addition, favorable customer policies go a long way toward putting shoppers first. Worldwide Golf Shops offers a 90-day satisfaction guarantee: Customers can return and receive store credit for any purchase for whatever reason within 90 days. In terms of keeping the customer happy, Worldwide Golf Shops is like the Nordstrom of golf retail.
"Our motto for every customer is, 'Sure, no problem,'" says Weaver. "We'll do whatever it takes to make our customers happy."
Golf clubs are difficult to purchase online – you need to be able to test them, feel them, see them. So Worldwide Golf Shops have specialized fitting technologies and hitting nets in their stores, so shoppers can test a golf club. The technology measures spin, speed, etc. and will generate the trajectory on a screen to give them an idea of what it would be like to use that club on the golf course.
This kind of technology helps create a more immersive experience in their stores.
Because Retail Pro keeps track of customers and their purchases, a robust loyalty program was a logical outgrowth for Worldwide Golf Shops.
The program's simplicity is responsible for its popularity: Once customers spend at least $250, shoppers receive a flat 2 percent of their total purchases as store credit. Twice a year, shoppers receive that on store credit gift cards.
Worldwide Golf Shops uses central gift card functionality in Retail Pro to ensure those credits get used only once and are not counted multiple times if a customer goes to one store and then to another the same day.
In addition, Worldwide Golf Shops has integrated its email service provider with Retail Pro to push customer information, including addresses, email addresses and store preferences, to personalize email marketing.
"We collect customer information in Retail Pro so we can invite customers to events at their local store, like sidewalk sales and demo days. This helps us stay top of mind and keep shoppers more engaged with our brands," Weaver explained.
Worldwide Golf Shops works closely with their Retail Pro Business Partner, Big Hairy Dog, to take advantage of many other existing plugins and integrations to Retail Pro which help them further automate and increase efficiency in their operations.
For example, the retailer uses a utility that allows them to import inventory from vendors, eliminating manual labor needed to add inventory and details. An integration with SPS Commerce EDI services automates the process for exchanging purchase order information to vendors, who then send Advance Shipping Notices, which also allows Worldwide Golf Shops to receive inventory by package ID on the box rather than having to input each individual inventory item.
Currently, Worldwide Golf Shops is working on a utility that will allow them to update approved purchase orders automatically, so purchasing and receiving are more streamlined and efficient. Images of these POs will be stored in the system so tracking changes and their histories will be easier.
They also integrated the Unite U omnichannel platform with Retail Pro to unify inventory and customer data across digital and physical channels, adding customer conveniences like the ability to check store availability of products online.
All of the technological improvements are geared toward helping their golf enthusiast associates serve their like-minded customers as if they were Arnold Palmer or Annika Sörenstam.
With operational efficiency secured in Retail Pro, Worldwide Golf Shops can focus on making their business truly customer-centric.