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Make Your Pro Shop ‘Recession-Proof’—Part 1

These days, archery consumers spend their hard-earned dollars where the excitement is—where the positive energy is infectious and enthusiasm is high. If your store isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it may be time to consider some the following energizing, excitement-building updates:

1. Liquidate Old/Dated Merchandise

The first step on the “update stairway” is to liquidate old merchandise. Outdated packaging and product features are taboo for savvy customers. Once in your store, customers expect to find the exciting new merchandise they’ve seen advertised in recent magazines and television commercials—not the stuff advertised five years ago.

The fastest way to liquidate outdated merchandise is to sell it through auction listings on eBay. There is no an easier way to market those would-be dust-collecting, shelf-space-robbing products to such a huge audience. And the prices! You wouldn’t believe what eBay users will pay for things until you’ve seen it firsthand. If you aren’t registered and selling items on eBay, get on it!

2. Reset Product Displays Regularly

To give your store a consistently fresh appearance, regularly reset your product displays. Feature “brand new” items on stand-alone displays that quickly grab customers’ eyes the moment they enter. Highlight seasonal products similarly. For example, you certainly don’t want the spring turkey hunting gear tucked in a corner during the months leading up to the season. Display it in plain sight where customers will often “impulse-buy” items they can see and touch.

Make it a habit to change things around periodically, but not so often customers struggle to find popular items. Done correctly, customers will notice the changes and appreciate your efforts to keep things looking razor sharp.

3. Shine Some Light

Your products will appear the most valuable when you spotlight them with top-notch lighting. If your lights flicker three times each time they’re flipped, go shopping for some upgrades—and install them in a fashionable, “product spotlighting” sort of way. Adjustable “can-style” spotlights work best in most cases. Make sure your store is well lit throughout so that locating specific products isn’t a challenging game of “hide-and-seek.”

4. Display Manufacturer Banners

Colorful, well-known manufacturer banners give your store credibility. When they arrive do you display them prominently or relegate them to the trash? Hopefully, you answered with the former. When new versions arrive be sure to “trade out” old or dated signs. Newer is more exciting!

5. A Fresh Appearance Pays

If your “welcome rug” is old and worn, replace it. Do the same thing with ratty customer stools and other subpar seating. Even old, dusty taxidermy can hurt your “cutting edge” image. Try stepping back to take a good look at the “big picture” your shop portrays. Is there anything that doesn’t say “fresh and new?” If so, get rid of it. Anything outdated prevents your store from achieving the desired effect. You would be surprised at the huge impact such little updates can have on your shop’s performance.

6. Feature Pink Products

Pink products? Yes! They’re trending hot in the archery industry right now and have been for a few years. Have you jumped on the pink product bandwagon? To gain more women customers, in many cases your products have to stand out. Pink products have that ability in spades—they stick out like a sore thumb. These bright, colorful items quickly grab the eyes of women who may come in alone looking for gifts for husbands or boyfriends—or are maybe just tagging along with significant others. Now they’ve got several reasons to try archery.

As a bonus, shops that cater to women customers and their needs establish a very good image among the general public. Suddenly, your shop gains more respect because you’re making archery and bowhunting a family affair.

7. Consider A Strategic Move

Moving an archery store can be expensive and a lot of work. But even a slight move to a better location might be exactly what it takes to gain a whole lot more customers—and otherwise avoid being trampled by your competition.

Given the current density of archery stores nationwide, customers no longer have to drive long distances to find a reputable shop like they once did. They can easily choose to patronize a more-convenient store—the reason it’s so critical to offer a super-convenient, easily accessible location.

Suppose your business is doing reasonably well in its current location. You should be able to obtain traffic counts for your current location, and compare them to several other workable locations. These counts can usually be obtained through your state’s Department of Transportation. Your research just might uncover an affordable location that will offer both higher visibility and easier accessibility.

A stand-alone building is often the best fit for an archery pro shop due to the extreme visibility it creates. And a highly visible, ultra-convenient location is often the key ingredient to winning more out-of-town customers.

Obviously, a move is huge decision. Never think short-term when considering any move; instead project what a new location can provide over the long-term. If the benefits far outweigh the negatives (and they usually do), it might be time to make a fresh start.

8. Upgrade Your Cash Register

The availability of modern inventory management systems has basically replaced the conventional cash register. These modern systems make inventory analysis a snap—allowing you to buy smarter and so be more profitable—and they also provide faster, more-professional sale transactions for your customers.

These systems can also reduce profit loss due to costly mistakes that cash registers aren’t able to completely avoid. For example, modern bar code scanning capabilities eliminate the costly mistake of entering an incorrect price—a relatively common misstep. Even a one-dollar differential on any given sale transaction quickly multiplies into large profit-eating mistakes. Get rid of that old, dust-coated cash register and invest in a profit-protecting, computerized inventory system!

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