October and November is when most of the staff at RockbottomGolf.com take their vacations-for golf equipment sales, the season’s sales have slowed down. Right after Thanksgiving, however, they start up again with a vengeance as shoppers seek gifts for golfers. That’s why 25% of the company’s online ad spend is packed into the approximately 25 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a strategy that’s helped push Rockbottom`s sales up 30% to 35% higher than last year, according to chief operating and marketing officer Todd Rath.
“From Black Friday on is go time,” says Rath. “Golf is a huge sport for gift-giving.” Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is widely recognized as one of the first major shopping days of the holiday season and the day when many retailers “go in the black,” or begin earning profits for the year.
Toward that end, RockBottom this year expanded its gift items significantly with more clothing and popular items like rangefinders. Rath also says the efforts of earlier in the year, to make the web site interface cleaner and improve navigation, are helping out during the seasonal crunch. “We have grown our RockBottomGolf.com business greatly through the year. I see fewer and fewer transactions coming to us through eBay,” he says.
Rath adds that increasing spending on Google AdWords and Yahoo Search drove significant new traffic to the site through the year. Based on those results and results from last year’s holiday season, Rath has upped his PPC ad spending on ad spending in the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, helping more shoppers to find the site.
Helping to drive sales once shoppers get there is a free shipping offer that’s run since Thanksgiving, with a twist: free upgraded shipping that reduces a normal four- to five-day shipping time to three days or less. “We are going to give you three-day shipping because we just want you to have your gift and be satisfied,” says Rath.
RockBottom is even promising three-day shipping on international orders, though it’s careful to note it cannot be held liable for the actions of in-country customs officials. However, “Fed-Ex, our core shipper, is pretty used to our international volume and the customs departments in the major countries are too,” says Rath. “So we’re able to push and reach that time limit. Three days or less has been a huge win for us.”
RockbottonGolf.com is No. 290 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.