Tennis Industry magazine

 

Racquet Service: It’s Time for A Tune-Up

Enhance your equipment service, and keep players playing their best, by promoting racquet tune-up packages.

Stringing and other racquet service items are the cornerstone of successful tennis retailing. These services are not only high profit centers but also generate foot traffic in your shop.

It is easy to let this part of the business run on auto-pilot but with a little bit of promotion, you can give them a boost and enhance your bottom line, too.

Your goal is to promote your services and get your customers to have their racquets serviced more often.

Education is essential in getting the point across to consumers that it’s important to keep their equipment in shape. Most players really don’t understand the importance of restringing — even some of the most avid and frequent players.

A good point to make to your players and customers is that you see most of the top pros going to a fresh string job on every ball change. While your customers cannot be expected to go to that extreme and take out a new, freshly strung racquet every nine games, it is a way to show them that strings do make a difference in the performance of the racquet.

Show ’Em What They’ve Lost

Having a way to verify tension loss also is a great way to show customers a measureable verification of what they are experiencing on the court. I often hear club and recreational players say, “I am not good enough to tell the difference,” but in fact, that isn’t true. Players of all levels can tell if a racquet doesn’t seem to be playing like it did a few weeks earlier.

When their racquet’s performance begins to decline, having a numerical verification can show them that they can feel the difference. For instance, using the Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center, Gamma’s ERT Tennis Computer or a similar device to measure and track the string-bed stiffness, and its decline with time and use, will convince them that a restring is needed.

When a player has a racquet freshly strung, put it on the diagnostic machine and get the initial tension, then make a note of it in the player’s file, with the date. Then, tell him or her to stop back regularly to check the tension. As the player sees the tension drop, he or she will have to determine at what point they should restring (and along the way, they’ll be educated as to how their racquet plays while their tension is declining). While it’s tempting to say, “You should restring when you lose X percent of your original tension,” it really is up to the player to figure out what percentage tension loss they can no longer tolerate.

Instead of discounting your services to draw more sales, try doing a value-added promotion, such as a bundle price for a string job, new grip and dampener. This ensures that you will get bigger sales and the customer is still getting a discount but won’t necessarily wait for you to have a “string sale” before getting their racquet serviced again.

An added benefit to bundling is making players aware of the importance of a fresh grip. This is too often overlooked and when they get their hand on a fresh grip, the racquet feels brand new again, especially if it also has a fresh string job.

Get the Word Out

The Tennis Industry Association is a good resource for advertising materials using the Tennis Tune-Up campaign.

If you go to PlayTennis.com, under “Offers,” then “Tennis Tune-Up,” there’s a “For Retailers and Stringers” dropdown that takes you to materials you can download and use to reach out to tennis players and consumers in your area about the importance of and need for tuning up your equipment. Some of the signs, banners and fliers are customizable so you can add your store’s name, location and contact information.

Use in-store signage, fliers and local ads to present a concise and consistent message about the importance of fresh strings and grips.

Also important, though, is making sure your business is listed on PlayTennis.com so when consumers in your area search for a place to bring their equipment, buy new gear or seek advice, they find you. If you go to PlayTennis.com, you can sign up as a “Provider” under the “Get Listed” tab. It’s all free and it will direct consumers to your business when they search.

 

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