Field Report The Winmau experience
In a few months the darts season kicks off with the Winmau World Masters, and as Simon Hall tells Yvonne Holberton, the brand is planning exciting innovations that will keep players and retailers alike committed to the Winmau experience
t’s been a good year for Winmau. Last October’s launch of the 2010 collection has seen sales figures climbing, markets growing, improvements in the most popular board, the Blade 3, growth in the company’s darts ranges with technological innovations in darts construction, and continued player endorsement.
The trend looks set to continue, marketing manager Simon Hall says, with the company gearing up for the launch of its October 2011 catalogue and collection, promising greater innovation in products, retailer initiatives and merchandising opportunities, all spearheaded by Winmau’s flagship event, the World Masters in October.
“The demand for darts equipment has been pretty steady and our sales figures confirm that we have seen a double digit growth in the UK, USA and Canadian sales,” Hall says. There’s been more interest in the Australian market too following the signing of Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock. “The Australians are passionate about their nationals and Simon’s success has naturally contributed to this.”
Success stories for 2010 so far focus on the new improved Blade 3 board, the exclusive dartboard of the BDO and a firm favourite for the
There’s a slight fashion angle to this
dart, but looking good is not enough - these darts have been manufactured using 24 carat gold for quality play
“ Championship quality: darts designed in conjunction with Mervyn King and Ted Hankey 18 SGB SPORT AUGUST 2010
last five years. The company’s Players Darts have also proved to be a hit this year with the Ted Hankey range selling more than anticipated. There have been innovations on dart quality too, such as the 0.01grm weight match technology – which helps underpin the quality of the Winmau brand. The Golden Vanquish story is another example of the company’s thrust in innovation. “There’s a slight fashion angle to this dart, but looking good is not enough - these darts have been manufactured using 24 carat gold for quality play. It’s important to ensure that new technology has added value. We try to ensure that when we launch new products, they will add good value for the dart player and the retailer and that’s the way we intend to continue. We want our supporters to have some kind of experience with Winmau.” Sales of darts have started to catch up board sales over the last 3-5 years, Hall explains. “We have spent a lot of time listening to players and retailers and the last few years have seen greater interest in higher quality tungsten darts and Blade 3 boards.” The company’s tungsten capability has grown too, and Winmau’s main manufacturing factory is in Kenya, as that is where the raw material for its boards is grown.
In the meantime, Winmau is keeping its new ranges tightly under wraps. However, Hall promises exciting new products including a Mervyn King dart training aid, focusing on specialist alignment technology. There will be interesting retail initiatives too, with a complete new range of merchandisers, likely to be in place early next year, supported by retail friendly brochures, packaging with ‘wow’ factor and strong back-up in terms of quality guarantee. And there are initiatives in the technology sector – some still in the planning and progress stage.
On target: Winmau’s renowned Blade 3 dartboard
While the company runs promotions throughout the year for its retailers, the policy is to focus on well-marketed and supported quality products. As a response, Winmau has paid greater attention to a fully integrated approach to its packaging, the boxes, the brochures, the agent service, with colour-coded merchandising structures to identify professional, advanced and beginner equipment.
Retailers are supported by an efficient stocking policy too, ensuring that what is ordered on the shelf is available and is turned around quickly. “Our long term aim is to stay as market leaders,” Hall comments. “We don’t go after the price- point market. We are a premier darts equipment company, and for us offering quality service, products, brand support and merchandising together with a great presence in the market through our players and events, will continue to give a good value.”
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