Gary Player Direct Transitions to E-Commerce

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Golf club manufacturer Gary Player Direct, Santa Maria, CA, has emerged from a merger and restructuring with a dedicated focus on e-commerce that will be promoted through all direct response channels.


Gary Player Direct will launch a revamped Web site today (www.garyplayerdirect.com) that offers a much higher level of e-commerce than its predecessor as well as a custom club-fitting capability, according to company president A.J. Cervantes. The site is the centerpiece of a series of DRTV, direct mail and e-mail campaigns scheduled to drop in the next month.


The March merger of Golf One Industries and Carrera Golf also provides GPD a distribution channel to Japan which it intends to expand to other international markets.


"Historically we were in telesales but we are migrating away from that," Cervantes said. "Our concentration going forward is one, e-commerce and two, international."


Separate infomercials touting a system of sand and lob wedges and a weighted training device called the Heavy Hitter will roll out in the next few weeks. The wedge spots will be broadcast in two 1-minute, one 2-minute and one 30-minute version testing two price points while the Heavy Hitter is a 2-minute spot. Both spots were produced by Caudill & Associates Productions, Anaheim, CA.


Gary Player Direct, which sells only Gary Player brand equipment with plans to add apparel and accessories, will also re-run a 1-minute lead generation spot for its Grand Prix titanium irons that features South African golf legend Gary Player and baseball great Steve Garvey. A media buyer had not been chosen at press time.


The company is forming a Gary Player VIP e-club loyalty program with a direct mailing to its database of 70,000 product buyers compiled over the last three years. The club will offer product discounts, access to early releases, golf tips and gifts. The mailing of an interactive CD-ROM with video Gary Player golf tips and a link to the Web site is also planned.


The VIP club and Web site traffic will be built though an alliance with GolfUniverse.com, an e-commerce site owned by LCS Golf, Lynbrook, NY, that maintain a database of 3.2 million golfers. The alliance will entail an e-mail marketing campaign of 1 million messages to the GolfUniverse database as well as the promotion of GolfUniverse Internet service and the PlayGolfNow membership card to the GPD database and through outbound calling by GPD's telesales force.


GPD is consolidating its two outbound and one inbound call center into two operations employing 100 full-time representatives. The company will continue to place outbound calls to golfers selected from rented lists. The GPD database is available for list rental through Acxiom/Direct Media, Greenwich, CT.


GPD just announced a marketing alliance with training device manufacturer Lazereyes, Burbank, CA, and is finalizing deals with e-commerce partners including buygolf.com. Cervantes is convinced that an e-commerce/direct marketing approach is the best way to compete with name brand retailers like Callaway, Cobra and Ping.


"We are unique in that we are the only golf company selling a full line of products that does not sell a single club retail," he said. "The others have a serious problem selling direct due to the massive infrastructure they have dedicated to retail. We can migrate faster and easier to e-commerce.''
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