Australia an easy if distant target for Rock Bottom Golf
Even with taxes and shipping costs factored in, online retailer Rock Bottom Golf is driving up more sales of golf equipment to customers in Australia and New Zealand as well as in Europe, Todd Rath, co-founder and chief operating and marketing officer, tells InternetRetailer.com.
“About 13% of our sales last year were to foreign markets, and this year it will be about 15%,” Rath says. Average order value for international sales is about $150, compared to $100 for domestic orders, he adds.
Rock Bottom Golf, No. 290 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, is on course to do $23 million in total sales this year, up from $18 million in 2005, he adds. About half of those sales are processed directly through RockBottomGolf.com; the rest of the company’s sales are through consumer trade shows and through third-party sites including eBay.com, Amazon.com and Overstock.com.
Australia in particular has emerged as a major market, where golf equipment sells for far more than Rock Bottom’s retail prices including shipping and tax, Rath says. “Australia is a huge market for us,” he says. “It’s great because it plays after our season in the U.S.—they’re just heading into their summer now—and we can ship them entire sets of clubs priced cheaper than Australians can buy in their own country.”
Rock Bottom sells a Ben Hogan driver, for example, for about $89, which amounts to $190 in Australian dollars including shipping and tax. But that compares to a price of about $259 for the same club sold at a golf equipment shop in Australia, Rath says. Australia’s golf equipment market is set up so that virtually all sales are through relatively high-priced golf pro shops, without a U.S.-style discount channel of large sporting goods stores, he adds.
Rock Bottom gets much of its overseas business through natural search and paid search on several shopping engines, including Shopzilla.com, Shopping.com, NexTag.com, Smarter.com and GolfReview.com, Rath says.
To push its foreign sales even further, Rock Bottom is planning to launch a multi-lingual site that will be capable of e-mailing promotions in the local languages of foreign consumers, Rath says, adding that he’s eyeing Japan as one of the next markets to serve.