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The University of Texas Golf Club
2200 University Club Drive
Austin, TX 78732
|CLUB / RESORT DATA|
|Pro Shop Total Sq. Ft.||1,400|
|Number of SKUs||720|
|% of total revenues are hard goods?||36%|
|% of total revenues are soft goods?||64%|
|% of total revenues are online sales?||24%|
|Number of Demo Days||15|
|Pro Shop Ownership||Club|
The club’s golf shop carries upscale, high-quality products for the avid golfer—from classic drivers and stitched leather belts to sterling Longhorn wine glasses and Christmas ornaments, it is a one-stop shop for golf and gift needs.
The UT Golf Club has built on its shop’s on-site success by enjoying an explosion of growth in online sales, with each year breaking the previous year's record. Online sales now account for nearly a quarter of the shop’s nearly $1 million in annual revenues—an unprecedented statistic for a private golf club.
In an interview published in the November 2020 issue of Club + Resort Business, Kayli Lopez, who also manages UT Golf Club’s on-site casita lodging operation in addition to directing the shop’s online sales efforts, provided these insights into how that part of the shop’s business was boosted out of necessity during the pandemic, and has continued to grow ever since:
How were sales at the UT Golf Club impacted in the immediate wake of the pandemic?
As in-person sales declined, our online sales increased. We saw around a 20% increase of online visitors in March 2020 when stores were forced to shut down, and then about a 30% increase in May. The number of visits to our site continued to rise each month, as an option for safe shopping from home.
How did you initially address the decline of in-person traffic?
We promoted to our members the option of shopping online in conjunction with curbside pick-up, as the safest options.
Online sales are still fairly uncommon in the club industry; what’s been your thought process in emphasizing them?
As the University of Texas has alumni all over the U.S., we knew we had to promote online to garner the attention of our nationwide network. And with the pandemic, you had no choice but to reach your audience through online promotion.
What are the most effective ways to increase online traffic?
We are in a new age where information travels faster than wildfire. On top of increasing our digital presence, we also have great members who are out there representing and promoting our brand by word of mouth. We have also established a presence on social media, through which we enjoy sharing our content with all of our followers and fans. They get to keep up with what’s new, along with restocks as soon as they drop. We send a weekly newsletter and e-blast to our members with any and all updates, to ensure our network base is most informed. You can follow us on @shop.utgolfclub & @utgolfclub.
Do you offer online exclusives?
While we do have a few items that we carry both in-store and online, we offer exclusives in both realms from time to time, favoring both types of clientele.
How are you striving to increase in-person traffic?
We continuously update our pro shop with fresh merchandise so our members always have new items to pick up. On top of this, our golf tournament and club events tend to draw the social members to the club. Everyone knows where to get the hot gifts!
What other advice would you offer to clubs looking to bolster their pro shop sales?
Listen to your crowd and keep your eyes peeled for what’s new to come. It’s best to be ahead of the curve if you want to build your network and increase traffic.