Racket Review Site - Feedback Needed

joeyz101

New User
Hi Everyone -

I am taking a graduate class in entrepreneurship and would appreciate your help !

I am currently working on a project where we must 1st come up with a business idea and then gather feedback from the customer segment we think the business would serve. Based on the feedback we gather the next step is to determine 1. if the business can be a success as is, 2. if pivots are needed to find a successful business model or 3. if there is no chance the idea can become a successful business.

Pls take a look at the detail below - we are all tennis players here and I've always benefited from the discussions that take place in this community so I am hoping a lot of folks can share their thoughts on this thread !

Business Idea:
My team and I decided on a new tennis gear review site as our business idea. Ultimately our site would provide unique reviews across a variety of tennis gear (rackets, string, grips, shoes, etc.) but we would start with rackets out of the gate.

Challenge / Pain:
Tennis rackets cost a lot of money and are the central tool a tennis player relies on to play the game. It is difficult to know which racket is right for our ever changing games which makes it difficult to know which racket to purchase or even demo. Additionally demo rackets come with grip sizes and strings that might not be the type or tension we're used to which can also effect our impression for the few short days we have to demo the racket.

Value Proposition:
To build the most valuable tennis gear review site in the world for serious tennis players. Our site will analyze all of the reviews that exist for each racket (eventually string, grips, shoes, etc.) to help serious tennis players glean insights they might otherwise miss and efficiently evaluate tennis gear which will lead to the most informed demos / purchases.

Target Customer Segments:
My team and I believe 'serious' tennis players at all levels would benefit from our site. This would include male and female high school / college players, as well as USTA level 3.5 and above.

Key Activities to be Successful:
  1. A very structured content calendar to keep our growing audience engaged.
  2. An organic SEO strategy to drive our target customer segments to visit our site.
  3. Website traffic analysis tools (in place upon launch) to understand where our traffic is coming from
  4. Email list building tools (in place upon launch) to keep in touch with engaged users and entice them (with relevant content) to return to our site

Costs:

  • Fixed - website build
  • Recurring - monthly site hosting, Analytics Software, Paid Advertising Test Campaigns, Our time to create content each week, send out emails, work on SEO, social media, etc.

Revenue Streams:
  1. Affiliate Marketing: Initially we plan to make money by driving the in-market tennis players / buyers we inform to select partners who sell the products we are reviewing
  2. Banner Advertising: As our audience grows we plan to sell display media (banners, etc.) direct to tennis gear manufacturers
  3. Email Marketing: Again as our audience grows we plan to sell email marketing solutions to tennis gear manufacturers (i.e. tennis racket company can run an email marketing campaign to reach our email subscribers with a special offer on their newest racket, etc.)
  4. AND Beyond: If we can achieve continuous audience growth and cultivate an active user community we can offer other research / marketing solutions to tennis gear manufacturers
With all that being said, pls let me know if
  1. You would be interested in such a site.
  2. We want to get creative with the review data we analyze and offer serious tennis players of all levels the ability to see if a particular racket (strings, grips, etc.) might be a good fit for them based on their current level, style of play, etc. What would you want to see in our "review analysis" to really capture your interest and keep you coming back to our site ?
  3. Do you think our target customer segment hypothesis is correct ?
  4. What do you think of our revenue streams ? Costs ?
  5. What do you think we might be overlooking ? Forgetting ?

We are looking forward to the feedback ! I will most likely follow up with a 2nd round of questions based on your thoughts and suggestions - thanks again !

joeyz101
 
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Dartagnan64

Legend
What do you think you can do better than TW currently does with their equipment reviews? It's nice to have a few credible sources of reviews but I find the TW reviews to be top notch and you'd have to come out of the gate with a splash to supercede them as a go to place for tennis gear reviews.
 

CopolyX

Hall of Fame
First there are all ready tennis sites (and companies that sell tennis gear) online that provide reviews. Most of the online sites that provide reviews for racquets and tennis gear also have the balance and the draw of providing tennis news, info, instructional tips, instructional videos and more. So in my opinion you need a few keys elements to be a success / popular tennis online web site. You will need much more that just reviews.
There is no doubt and plenty of research that consumers are influenced by reviews. But lets take a snap shot of most successful online web site in the world , Amazon. These reviews are from consumers that have purchased that specific product. That is one of the most powerful means of review usage. We will go to the next form of reviews, a product video review. Now in order for this video review to be popular, do you think in needs an existing popular product?
Will enough people identify with the reviewers or the reviewer? Should a player take face value of a reviewed product and just go out and buy it? Or would you go to a source and try/demo a bunch of racquets to try before you buy.
How will you format these reviews? Will they be verbal only, will they be done by 4 or 5 reviews, will there any objective collected data during the review. Will your review be computer-monitored/playsight hitting session so you can objectively back up the hitting performance?
Do you review your rackets in coploys, natural gut, sync gut?
Do review them all in sync gut.
Will your preferred string influence your bias toward the racket tested? How does that help the wide spectrum of the targeted audience?


Business Idea: Building Tennis Site for players to play healthy, safe, guide and educating them to play a long passion tennis life with the right equipment for there level, body and game....

Reference:
Check out a good friend and long time business and life mentor:
Hopefully you get the message...

The biggest one you missed in your model is the power of social media and a plan on how build and sustain the biggest online community of tennis players. That gives you hopefully repeatable traffic, from there, hopefully they watch your proposed reviews. I think again, overall these reviews are subjective but giving a play four choices / four frames for a suggestion as a bundle for them to try. Guiding them , helping them cut through the sea of rackets, giving them no bull and all reviews must have no bias! Now how can you do that!!!!! Interesting twist....
Cutting out the marketing hype, nice balance of the experience and info about the frame..

Show them the unpopular frames, the underdogs , not the poplar one or the ones you are drawing revenue from.

I would also like to know how you define a "serious" tennis player?

Costs: I think you missed a boat load: Tennis racquets, gear, tennis equipment for testing, equipment, software for collecting and storing data, payroll, insurance, budget, basic business costs and over head.

Revenue stream:
Reviewing Racquet that help your revenue is already build on bias!
So will Ads, if they are included in your reviews.

Would I be interested: most likely not.
But I do hope you can succeed.
The basic business model I have used, is do the right things, listening, guiding and play attention to your customers, details matter, stay engaged with them, know them, and if you do the right things...the money will follow.
Don't make the money the goal....then you will lose most of the above ....

Interesting reference read:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/sports/tennis/smart-court-racket-australia.html

Sorry done for now, long day and I think I was all over the map.
But I hope you pulled out some stuff out that may help...
 
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joeyz101

New User
Hi Dartagnan64 and CopolyX - thanks for your feedback !

I'll quickly reply below to the points you mentioned and I will ask again if more from the community can share their feedback as we need a large volume of feedback from our proposed target customer segment for this school project.

Dartagnan64 -

You asked what we think we can do better than TW currently does with their equipment reviews?

First of all, we love the playtester reviews that TW provides and we all shop on TW. What we are proposing is different because 1. we will not be directly selling any rackets, strings, tennis gear in addition to providing reviews and 2. we will not be playtesting tennis gear, instead we will be analyzing ALL of the reviews for a piece of tennis gear posted on the internet to identify insights into who a particular racket (for example) might be best suited for. So in that way, we are not thinking of ourselves as better or worse than TW, just different by providing a perspective on tennis gear that an individual really cannot find on their own (without investing a ton of time into research and analysis).

CopolyX -

You raised a couple of interesting points (thank you !) and asked a few great questions - let me address them here.

Most of the online sites that provide reviews for racquets and tennis gear also have the balance and the draw of providing tennis news, info, instructional tips, instructional videos and more. So in my opinion you need a few keys elements to be a success / popular tennis online web site. You will need much more that just reviews.

We agree with this assessment and we will be adding a Tennis News section to our site as well as other topics that will be of interest (DIY Racket customization, Q&A Interviews with Tennis equipment manufacturers (as we grow), etc.). In addition to our own team research re: the additional content sections on our site we will get out to speak with as many tennis players as possible to make sure the new content sections added are what our audience tells us they are most interested in.

You also mention many of the different types of reviews out there on the web - product reviews (written buy people who actually purchased the product), video reviews (like the TW playtester reviews where the testers did not purchase the product). You brought up the great point of how we will address the issue of different strings in demo rackets as it relates to the influence that can have in our racket reviews. Finally you asked how we will format our reviews, will they be done by 4 or 5 different reviewers and will we collect PlaySight data to show objective performance.

As I mentioned to Dartagnan64, we will not be playtesting tennis gear, instead we will be analyzing ALL of the actual product reviews posted on the internet written by individuals who purchased the product to identify insights (that might otherwise be missed by in-market potential buyers who only reading a handful of reviews) into who a particular racket (for example) might be best suited for. So in that way, we hope to provide a perspective on tennis gear that an individual really cannot find on their own (without investing a ton of time into research and analysis). We also plan to slice and dice the review data gathered for every racket (string, grip, etc.) to visually present our findings in a way that is highly useful to those who visit our site (i.e. 4.0 tennis players with X playing style love the Wilson ABC Model racket with copolys but not as much with synthetic gut).

You mentioned that we missed the power of social media as a way to build and sustain the biggest online community of tennis players, gain repeatable traffic and attract people who are interested in reading our reviews.

This is a great point ! I failed to mention it in my initial post but we do plan to launch our site with a few social media channels. We were thinking of Instagram and Twitter to start. What do you think of that - which do you use most and which do you hate ?

You also mentioned bias (specifically you said: "helping them cut through the sea of rackets, giving them no bull and all reviews must have no bias! Now how can you do that!!!!! Interesting twist....Cutting out the marketing hype, nice balance of the experience and info about the frame..Show them the unpopular frames, the underdogs , not the poplar one or the ones you are drawing revenue from.

We completely agree ! And hopefully based on the answers I've provided here you see that although we propose to generate revenue from affiliate marketing and banner ads we are not selling any racket or tennis equipment directly and all of our reviews will be completely unbiased because we are simply analyzing ALL of the reviews that exist for every piece of tennis equipment and providing unique insights for our audience to consider when potentially making a purchase. So to be clear, we plan to review all rackets, all manufacturers, all tennis equipment (the top sellers as well as the underdogs). We hope to become a destination that our audience can trust when they are in the market for tennis gear because they know all we are doing is helping to make the research process more valuable and efficient for them. This initial revenue model of affiliate advertising and banner ads is similar to another highly trusted website in a different space - DPReview.com (probably one of the most trusted sites for camera reviews).

Lastly you asked how we define "Serious Tennis Players" ?

That is a great question ! We are thinking of "Serious Tennis Players" as both male and female, high school and college level competitive players as well as USTA levels 3.0 and above. What do you think of this definition ? Do you think there are other tennis players that we should be including as a target customer segment for our site ?

Thanks again to Dartagnan64 and CopolyX - we can't thank you enough for taking the time to share your feedback for our project. Hoping others can share their thoughts as well !

Very sincerely,

joeyz101
 
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mpournaras

Hall of Fame
You asked what we think we can do better than TW currently does with their equipment reviews?

First of all, we love the playtester reviews that TW provides and we all shop on TW. What we are proposing is different because 1. we will not be directly selling any rackets, strings, tennis gear in addition to providing reviews and 2. we will not be playtesting tennis gear, instead we will be analyzing ALL of the reviews for a piece of tennis gear posted on the internet to identify insights into who a particular racket (for example) might be best suited for. So in that way, we are not thinking of ourselves as better or worse than TW, just different by providing a perspective on tennis gear that an individual really cannot find on their own (without investing a ton of time into research and analysis).
So you are just aggregating and analyzing reviews? I feel like that will be fairly useless. 90% of reviews online just echo what the racket manufacturer has on their marketing material. Which are only positive remarks. Occasionally you'll get reviews that call out rackets for their garbage feel. That's why we come here into these Talk Tennis boards for. Detailed long-term user reviews. people who have more than A single hit the day the racket is sold. Granted the forums can be hard to navigate and good reviews can be buried in pages and pages of unrelated content on some threads... buts that's what we call character around here lol

IF you aggregate the above reviews from other sites and what not 90% of your content will come up with "good spin, controllable power"

I look forward to seeing what you come up with. But I am skeptical. I look forward to being surprised and proven wrong
 

danbrenner

Hall of Fame
This is a pointless idea I’m afraid. I live tennis gear etc etc. but tw has akready reviewed the bejesus out of everything. And unless you are personally giving us your opinion of the goods it’s pointless. Meaning if I can’t see you personally using a racquet and then giving your opinion then I’m out.
 

ONgame

Semi-Pro
The thing about tennis racquet reviews that is fundamentally different from electronics and gadgets reviews is really, how do you describe what you FEEL?
Electronics and gadgets have much easier ways of bench marking, that produce stats, numbers, in the case for cameras - picture and video qualities, which people can understand and compare.
They often have multiple usage as well.
Tennis racquets are hard to describe, many users on here don't even take TW's review seriously, they also don't do very much besides whacking balls.

I think you have to go big, not only tennis, but all sporting equipment, golf, table tennis, hockey, workout machines, etc.
 
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