When budget-conscious golfers are in need of discount clubs and gear, it’s Maple Hill Golf that they turn to. What began as a family-owned retail shop in West Michigan has grown into a 15,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar store and a successful specialty online retail presence with high ratings on thousands of globally shipped items. The company is known for offering many of the industry’s best closeout opportunities — from retiring lines of golf clubs and rangefinders to the latest apparel deals — on various marketplaces ranging from eBay and Amazon to Walmart.
For years, Maple Hill Golf has experienced tremendous success selling closeout and discount golf equipment on eBay and Amazon. Then, two significant shifts occurred: First, the online sales team identified new opportunities to reach more customers by branching out to Walmart.
“A different kind of customer tends to buy from Walmart,” said Internet Sales Manager Craig Vanderwier, noting that the additional channel has a positive impact on sales of GPS devices and other electronics.
Second, around the same time, the company began to notice a spike in custom orders as many manufacturers stopped upcharging for custom shaft options. While those customizations stood to be a big differentiator for Maple Hill Golf — many online golf retailers still offer a few basic options instead of dozens of variations — the company also knew it would lead to significant product management challenges. One driver, for instance, easily can result in more than 15,000 SKUs once customizations like weight, length and dexterity are factored in.
We definitely needed a way to easily manage the increasing number of SKUs,” Vanderwier said.
Vanderwier turned to ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces to ensure a smooth process as the company expanded to Walmart and began to offer listing variations on existing channels. Within a month, Maple Hill Golf was successfully selling on Walmart.com, where customers were purchasing more electronic items than the company had previously sold on other marketplaces.
“I’m surprised at the ease with which we’ve expanded, and how well our listings are doing,” Vanderwier said. “The scale of offering all those SKUs would be very difficult to manage without ChannelAdvisor.”
Within two months of selling on Walmart, the marketplace became Maple Hill Golf’s #3 channel behind eBay and Amazon. Not only are sales on Walmart exceeding those on the likes of Newegg and Rakuten, but increases are occurring with very little extra effort on the part of staff.
“I would definitely say we’re ahead of competitors in what we’re offering,” Vanderwier said. “It’s almost surprising to see how few companies are providing as many options as we’re able to. When someone wants a particular shaft and everyone else is offering a stock shaft, he can come to us and find that we’re able to fulfil the order.”
Best of all, adds Vanderwier, the company is now on track to have a record year… by a significant margin.