What Frames Should You Stock?
Tips from a top tennis retailing pro can help find what will sell in your shop.
By Tiffany Grayson
If racquets are the root of tennis, having the right racquets in stock is certainly key to a successful tennis retail business. Selecting the right racquet assortment for your shop can be a daunting task, and it is also a major buying expense to any retailer or pro shop.
Although you can’t pull out a magic 8-ball and find the miracle solution to “what sells,” you can follow a few simple guidelines to help you get started. And you can also use our Racquet Selection map starting on page 36 to help you find exactly what your customers need.
1. Know your budget
Take a look at your payment terms with each vendor before deciding how many racquets you can afford to stock in your shop.
2. Know your customer base
Choose racquets that coordinate with your customers. If you are in a country club that focuses on game improvement, limit the number of heavy, control frames that you purchase. At the same time, you should offer some variety. Stock and sell racquets that will meet your customer’s needs and compliment the levels of play.
3. Be realistic regarding your service level
If you are a “one-man show” at your club or a store with limited labor resources, you may want to consider simplifying your racquet selection. If your customer is often shopping unassisted, a simple technology story is an easier story to tell. Lastly, if you have a part-time person working in the shop who doesn’t have the product knowledge to sell higher-priced technology, you may want to adjust your assortment in the short term while you train your staff.
4. Keep your wall simple
Know the space you have available for merchandising your racquets and related accessories. Too many brands or too many styles all hooked on the same peg can be confusing to the customer. Simplify your brand and/or style assortment to meet your spacing requirements.
5. Know your competition
If your competitor down the road is known for carrying a specific brand or racquet, you may need to adjust your assortment. Also note competitor’s prices and vendor pricing guidelines.
6. Partner with your vendor representative
Your vendor representative will inform you of buying programs to optimize your spend. When you can, take advantage of these plans to increase your margins and add to your assortment. Additionally, your vendor representative can give you guidance on what might work for your shop based on your overall needs.
7. Train your staff
Take the time to train your employees. Your vendor rep will provide you the product knowledge necessary to understand the differences in manufacturers and technologies.
Every store or shop is different. Having the courage to take a risk or try something new is part of being a retailer. Knowing what your boundaries are is part of being a smart retailer.
The game of tennis requires knowledge, skill, patience, and the ability to close out the point at the right time. Good retailers will apply the same logic—and hopefully still come out with a big win.
Tiffany Grayson is the Division Merchant for PGA Tour Superstore based in Atlanta, Ga. With 11 stores nationwide, she is responsible for all aspects of the business related to tennis, including buying, merchandising, marketing, operations, and grassroots initiatives. Prior to PGA Tour Superstore, Grayson owned and operated her own tennis specialty stores located in the Atlanta area.
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