Acadiana Business among top golf e-retailers

by Leslie Turk

Local company is seventh most popular online retailer of gold equipment.

A national survey conducted by the respected research firm Longitudes Group ranks among the country's most popular e-retailers.

"Of those surveyed, 14 percent identified as one of the websites where they purchase golf equipment, making them the seventh most popular overall and fourth among golf specialty e-retailers," said Sara Killeen, president of Longitudes Group, in a press release.

Tom Cox, president and CEO, said the company began selling customized golf products online in 1998, and now two-thirds of its annual revenue comes from the sale of customized golf balls, apparel and accessories from brands like Titleist, Callaway, Nike, Bridgestone and TaylorMade. The company ranked No. 50 on ABiz's 2012 list of the top privately held companies in Acadiana with $14 million in 2011 revenues.

"Our focus on customized products has been the key to driving customer loyalty and our rank on the Longitudes survey," Cox said in the release. "Adding a photo, logo or other element of personalization to a product changes the nature of your relationship with your customer. It makes for a memorable experience. "

Cox added that the survey is the first comprehensive assessment of online golf retailers his company has seen.

Longitudes Group surveyed more than 1,300 golfers with established handicaps across the country and asked which online retailers they had purchased golf products from over the past year. Approximately 14 percent of that group identified as one of their purchase sites.

The survey gathered data on online purchase patterns of golfers and golf consumers, aiming to identify product categories purchased online and to determine the top online retailers favored by avid golfers. The survey, which was also broken down by age and ability level based on handicap, found that 84 percent of respondents had purchased golf products online during the past year.

"Over a decade ago, we bet the future of the business on product customization," Cox said. "Since then we have continued to reinvest in equipment and technology that improves our production capability and our online customer experience. Our rank on the Longitudes survey validates our approach and tells me that we are making a lasting impression on customers."

Nine members of the staff will be traveling to Orlando, Fla., Jan. 23-26 to take part in the 60th PGA Merchandise Show, where nearly 1,000 top golf companies and more than 40,000 golf industry professionals from around the world will be participating.

Golf Internet Shopping Survey

Which online retailers have you purchased golf product from?
(rank, company site, percent responses)

1. 42%

2. 37%

3. (The Golf Warehouse) 31%

4. 24%

5. 21%

6. 20%

7. 14%

8. 11%

9. 9%

10. 7%

11. 6%

12. 3%

Other 24%