Tennis Industry magazine


Racquet Tech: Taking Stock

Put some thought into your string inventory so your shop covers every type of player.

By Bob Patterson

With over 1,100 strings on the market, selecting your inventory can be mind-boggling, even for large shops. How do you narrow your selection to keep it manageable? And, how do you begin the selection process?

Determining the number of strings you can carry is not just about how much space you have to stock your inventory. There are other questions to consider: How much do you have to spend? How many inventory turns do you want? Do you need 10 SKUs to cover your needs, or 40 of each?

The decision process is easier than you may think. First, make sure you have a variety of strings to cover different playing styles and needs. This can be as few as 10 SKUs, but if you have the budget, the room and the volume, you may want to increase the offerings. Often, though, giving a customer too many choices will add to the confusion, so you want to be somewhat selective.

Using the tools and information on the site, USRSA members get all the specs from prospective strings for your inventory to not only make sure you have a wide variety, but to also make sure you keep similar-playing strings to a minimum.

Once you feel you have a good variety, you can expand to fill in gaps, or skew your inventory to meet your clientele. If your customers are mostly senior players who tend to like softer, more elastic strings, then beef up that portion of your inventory by adding more colors or gauges to meet their needs and expectations. On the other hand, if the majority of your customers are hard-hitting juniors who want spin and durability, go heavier on strings that accentuate those qualities. The key is to make sure you have sufficient inventory and variety to meet your primary audience, while still covering all the requisite bases.

Also, educate your customers! Don’t just take orders. If a client is using a set-up that you feel is detrimental to their game or their health, suggest a better string set-up and tell them why it will improve their play and their enjoyment of the game. Even if they stick with their same set-up, they may be willing to try something else — which your shop will have in stock — later on.

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About the Author

Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.



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