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What's the Kikkor? (Blog)

Free Round of Golf with Every Pair Sold

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Telling your trusted retailers to basically go shove it wasn’t the easiest decision. But it was something we had to do for numerous reasons.

Before diving into those reasons I want to quickly thank all those retailers who did go out on a limb and bring Kikkor into their shop. Literally, without them, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now.

So why wave them goodbye? Great question.

It’s no secret that the fewer hands that touch a product along the supply chain, the less expensive that product will be for the end user. Every company will try to be as efficient as possible in this manner. Obvious.

The typical supply chain in soft goods is simple. Factory --> Warehouse --> Retailer --> End User (Occasionally there’s an extra distributor thrown in there too). This is how it has been done for decades, and when we entered the golf market in 2010 that was how we were suggested to do it. So we did it.

But things have changed.

First, our market has become extremely competitive. When I started Kikkor, nobody was seriously going after the alternative golf footwear market. Everything was the same. Everything was lame. There was an opening. Now, however, over half of the market is alternative or street inspired golf shoes. The market exploded.

An exploding market should be a good thing. The problem is that a typical pro shop really only has room for 100 or so pairs of golf shoes every season. When you have Nike, Adidas, FJ, Puma, and Ecco competing for that space as well, things get a little tight. A shop would have to essentially kick out one of the majors in order to bring Kikks in. That’s a tough sell.

Another major change even since 2010 has been the steady and continual rise of e-commerce. More and more people are buying online now, and more and more will buy in the years to come. It’s an unstoppable force. Just look at this graphic:

We’ve always sold online at kikkor.com, to the slight chagrin of our retailers initially. Times have changed though and retailers understand that brands will sell online. What some people don’t understand is that as a brand you can’t sell your products for a lower price than your retailers would, so you don’t undermine the retailers that have purchased your product.

But what if a company like Nike decided to lower their prices to 25% lower than all their retailers? Stores would probably stop carrying their product, Nike would be stuck with warehouses full of inventory, and their online consumer would be left with, well, $25 extra dollars or more in their pocket?

That’s the thing. $25 extra dollars in the pocket. That’s the possibility here. Without retailers a company can essentially sell their product for whatever price they’d like, and with fewer hands touching the product in the supply chain, that price is going to be lower. Unless they’re crazy.

I may be crazy, but I’m not that type of crazy. At Kikkor we have an odd luxury in that we don’t have thousands of retailers like the other guys. That position allows us to do something that none of the major brands can do – to sell ONLY directly to the consumer.

Because at the end of the day, it’s the people that choose to wear Kikkor that we really want to support. It may not sound like a lot, but saving you 25% is a big deal. It’s like every pair of shoes comes with a free 9 hole round, or maybe even 18 depending on where you play.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s something the golf shops out there will like too.


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