The Art of Buying Women's Wear

By Vanessa Salomons, Director of Retail at Monaghan Golf Group

...and an aid to the men that have to do it!

I have been a purchaser in the golf industry for many years and still to this day, Women’s Wear remains my favourite category. I can already hear the grumbles! In my years of consulting and working in pro shops I have heard many of the male persuasion complain that this is indeed their nemesis.

I am here to tell you that leaving it out of your buying plan is not an option, because:

  • Women are the primary household consumers, for the whole family.
  • According to Bridget Brennan (one of the leading authorities on female consumers) 70%-80% of all consumer influence and buying power is driven by women.
  • Women consider buying impulse items.
  • Women know what they want and will tell you (if you really listen).
  • Once women find something they like, they will be back to buy more.

Now, a word about sizing…
Let’s begin with the Extra Small ladies. I am talking about your sizes 0, 2 and 4. They do not have many options in the golf retail world. My advice is this - gather up your teeny tiny ladies and consider purchasing for this group, ensuring you contact them when their sizes arrive in the shop. This is imperative; it is a guaranteed sale! I challenge you to look at your purchases over the years and to ask yourself the last time you met the apparel needs of this demographic.

Next let’s talk about the Plus-sized women. In my experience, this demographic is much more vocal about their clothing choices than others. The above premise applies to this group as well, however, in this case you must consider their in-shop needs to feel comfortable trying on items before purchasing. Consider a Plus-size section of apparel; consider your fitting room size (they are notoriously small and uninviting at many facilities); and consider training your staff to help service this group in your shop.

Finally, let’s not forget our bread and butter – the Small, Medium and Large ladies. This remains your largest demographic and the largest percentage of buyers.

Ok, so you have more inventory and more work… 
But here is some helpful advice:

  • Get to know your ladies and listen to them.
  • For your smaller ladies, purchase in small quantities three times per year.  Pull all of your X,S,M products for delivery 1, delivery 2 and delivery 3, then put them in a box and have the ladies come in over a determined period of time.  Or consider promoting it to the ladies group as a Teensy-weensy size launch.

  • A very special note here: By purchasing in small quantities and creating a demand you will rarely have to take discounts on this product. By creating a ‘3 times a year release’ approach, you will create a buzz. Do not let this product hit the floor until you have made contact with your small ladies; letting them know that the product will be on the floor for the general shopper in 3-4 days creates a sense of urgency. Create a Plus Size area. MERCHANDISE it. If you build it they will come.

  • For the love of all women – clean up your change rooms. No equipment, no boxes, just a nice place to try things on - with clean mirrors! This is not a storage room.

  • Hire some females. I mean retail-savvy females, and schedule them accordingly (eg: Ladies’ days, etc.) to capitalize on Women’s wear sales. I could write a whole blog post about this alone.

You will be surprised how your sales grow with these simple steps. Also, remember that this little bit of customer service will impact sales in your other shop categories.

If you are considering wanting out of this whole women’s wear buying thing - don’t give up - there is help out there!