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Brian Lutz / Text: 561-678-5740 with story ideas.
Slinger Bag continues to push forward with its aggressive plan to make ball launchers available to tennis players world wide.
The crowd funded company that had multiple delays in getting product launch to its founding members has created a strategic partnership with Dunlop that will help close the delivery times for its loyal and growing customer base as well as increase cash flow. By selling machines to Dunlop and allowing them to market and fulfill to their own customers the partnership relieves deliver strain and allows the brand to grow market share.
With delivery times of up to 60 days here in the United States Slinger has created a European partner that can not only take on some of the risk in their business model but also cut down on delivery time by selling inventory to their new partner who can add it to their product inventory as well as increase their tennis balls sales.
Slinger bag has similar strategic partnerships in Australia, Japan and Scandinavia to accelerate growth.
It’s unclear if Dunlop will develop a pressure less tennis ball for the Slinger Bag as Wilson has with Triniti ball.
Pressurless balls last longer and give more consistent bounce than regular pressurized balls that loose their bounce more quickly. This type of product stores better inside the machine and allows users to not have to replace dead balls as frequently.
Wilson’s Infiniti ball is a harder ball and flies faster but many of my own students who were 3.5 rated (Intermediate) and below didn’t notice the difference and I didn’t point it out.
If you are a advanced player with an aggressive swing you will be able to hear and feel the difference of a pressure less tennis ball. But if you are buying a ball launcher a consistent and long last bounce may be the over riding factor.
Note the Wilson’s Infiniti balls is more expensive than traditional balls and pushed prices up to $5 for sleeve of balls in recycled packaging.
To sweeten the deal with early investors Slinger smartly stuck up deals with Wilson for their pressures tennis ball as well as a ball tube. This bundled strategy was a smart move for the young company based in Baltimore, MD.
Now the question will be how will Dunlop proceed in Europe to extend the reach and marketshare for the ball launcher? Slinger Bag is able to store tennis racquets, balls, ball tube and accessories all with in one portable unit that fits in the back seat of your car.
The product itself is a head turner and with it’s packed features makes up for the lack of power and one hour battery life with convenience and playability.
Slinger bag is really nice for recreational tennis players. Although it has it limitations (it only shoots out topspin shots). It’s a great tool for grooving your strokes to refine technique and can be a surprisingly good workout when you add the oscillator.
Dunlop which is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions has merged with Japanese manufacturer Srixon in 2018 which sold tennis racquets and now exclusively golf clubs. The problem was your couldn’t buy Srixon tennis racquets in the United States.
To solve this problem Srixon was acquired by Dunlop and rebranded and greatly improved its reach especially in the US. With Srixon and Slinger deal and Dunlop’s aggressive sponsorship strategy with major tennis tournaments you will surely see their tennis balls popping out of Slinger Bag.
What does this mean for the co-branded agreement with Wilson in the US? Time will tell but I believe the co-brand was simply as sharing of logos on Wilson pressure less ball than a formal marriage.
Slinger is an interesting company. They are hyper aggressive and publicly traded penny stock that has big and bold plans and is burning through its cash flow fast after a selling additional shares to raise capital.
For Slinger, who has used a smartly executed Social Media campaign of tennis influencers has given away a lot of product to create buzz and interest in their product.
The issue isn’t people get excited about Slinger Bag but not delivering the machine in a timely manner (a week to ten days would be ideal). So with limited cash to increase inventory the partnership with Dunlop will relieve some of these pain points in Europe.
For the US market another stragetic partnership would seem like a logical strategy. Perhaps with Dunlop coming on board perhaps a competitor like Wilson or Penn/Head or a whole seller such as Fromuth could step up and take on the distribution here in the United States.
With slim profit margins around 45% (Slinger bag is made in China) the company needs to balance profit with market share. While at the same time limit risk and preserve capital to grow.
Slinger bag also needs more complimentary products and service to up sell and down sell to increase profit and add more value to its loyal customer base.
Slinger Bag’s biggest selling proposition is its affordability and convenience as they compete with more established and expensive brands such as Match Mate and Lobster that are designed for commercial tennis facilities.
They also have to prepare for new competitors who are also crowd sourcing innovative technology for the ball launching category.
Get ready for the next crowd funded launch the worlds smallest feature packed tennis ball launcher engineered by former Apple engineer Jonah Harley called The Proton.
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