How a Tech Startup Changes Golf in the Southeast
Golf across the country, especially here in the Southeast, has never been more popular. This is evident with the announcement of the Lefleur’s Bluff Complex expansion, TopGolf officially opening in Memphis, and the annual Rapiscan Systems Tournament in Biloxi earlier this month. In addition, PGA Tour events in Memphis, Birmingham, New Orleans, and Atlanta feature huge crowds as more tournaments are
coming back since the pandemic. Additionally, more people are now playing the sport. The National Golf Foundation reports that the number of those just starting and those who played previously are returning to local golf courses in numbers not seen in decades. Millions of women and children represent a large percentage of those numbers new to the sport.
Local courses are offering more demo days on their driving ranges to keep up with increased demand. Major golf retailers in the area, including Mississippi’s Nevada Bob and Edwin Watts locations and Alabama’s PGA TOUR Superstore locations, offer more personalized demos and instruction with new club purchases. Other athletic retailers struggle or no longer continue to stock golf equipment, preferring only to keep quick pick-up items such as golf balls, shirts, and other apparel.
A new tech startup with an innovative kiosk may change how golfers in the Southeast purchase their next golf club. Cadi Kiosk, a Carlsbad, California company, is building a platform that may disrupt not only golf but sports retail as we know it.
What Does Cadi Mean for Golf in the Southeast?
Cadi Kiosk is a new omnichannel shopping experience coming to our area and across the country. With a team of entrepreneurs and former executives from RedBox, Coinstar, and Callaway, Cadi offers golfers a new channel to purchase clubs, unlike current retail channels. It is a simple concept – by using the eCommerce platform, a golfer receives personalized recommendations for the best clubs that work best for their game and can participate in a ‘try-before-you-buy’ demo on any golf course of their choosing. Instead of just the driving range, the player can use a club or clubs for all eighteen holes of a golf course and determine if they want to purchase the club.
The innovative kiosk works in coordination with the eCommerce platform. With the kiosk, the player has two options – walk up to the kiosk at a golf course, driving range, or entertainment venue like TopGolf, select a club available in the kiosk and try it out at the venue. Additionally, the eCommerce platform shows the player which clubs are available in which kiosk, offering additional options when making a selection.
The concept of ‘where and how to buy what I want when I want’ is the ultimate aim for Cadi, offering users an on-demand experience with personalization that best fits their skill set. Through this, the Cadi platform allows golfers to demo, compare, and purchase products when they want.
What does this mean for golfers in our area and the greater Southeast? Partnership agreements with local courses mean more revenue for golf courses, driving ranges, entertainment venues, and even some retail venues. As retail continues to shift more online and the pandemic closes many retailers, Cadi provides an opportunity for local venues to capture more revenue without increasing their overhead.
How Does Cadi Change Other Sports Purchases?
Through the pandemic, brick and mortar retail establishments closed and are continuing to close. eCommerce shopping has more users than
ever before, but with supply chain issues, understaffing, inflation and additional fees, and too many similar products and websites, eCommerce has issues of its own. While some niche platforms are thriving, most face new issues, such as the recent issues with Etsy.
Cadi’s platform attempts to solve these problems with golf. This industry is plagued with problems, including the significant rise in counterfeit golf clubs. With Cadi’s model, counterfeit clubs are eliminated, and the supply chain and understaffing are eliminated through their processes and nationwide network of micro warehouses and use of data. Additionally, Cadi illustrates how only-online purchases are not the only solution in a post-pandemic world.
Cadi is one to watch for future online purchases, first with other athletic equipment and then anything that first requires a demonstration. Through the autonomous shopping experience, the need for human contact is eliminated, either by shopping online or at the kiosk. Additionally, the platform offers the same conveniences matched with other online platforms, such as user accounts, mobile payments, and order tracking.
According to the Cadi website, a launch date is set for June 2022, after the conclusion of a crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine.