Are you delivering quality customer service at your archery store? You know, the kind that builds loyalty through high-end expertise, well-stocked shelves and reliable repairs? Chances are, you could use some help from ATA ePRO to capitalize on what you’ve built so far. After all, you can’t get there by simply greeting each customer as they arrive, being polite as they shop or leave their bow for repairs, and then saying “come back soon” when they leave.
Those three steps are a good start – and a key to success 15 years ago – but today they’re just basic expectations for most archery and bowhunting customers. Customer service in this era of smartphones and online shopping also requires these basics: Do what you say you’re going to do, and then inform your customers seconds later via text message, email or both.
Those basics aren’t easy, however, unless your store uses a helpful business software like ATA ePRO, which stands for “electronic Proshop Retail Organizer.” In simpler terms, just call it “archery shop in a box,” the nickname bestowed by its developer, Randy Phillips, an archery-store owner and manager with over 25 years of pro-shop and manufacturing expertise.
ATA ePRO is easy to install, easy to learn, and easy to merge with your store’s current business software. And once it’s up and running, it boosts your profits by helping you and your staff work more efficiently in sales, service and inventory planning. That’s because it’s designed specifically for archery retailers by an archery retailer.
Phillips estimates that retailers who install ATA ePRO’s full suite of job tasks can improve their store’s efficiencies by 20 to 25 percent, which means a 20 to 25 percent reduction in personnel costs.
“If you’re always studying your service/repair list to see what needs work, what’s been overlooked, or what’s been finished, you’re probably also wasting time trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong,” Phillips said. “You can only remember so much before your service falls apart, which reduces the quality of your work. Eventually, that hurts your business. And if you’re also answering phone calls that a website or software can handle with some FAQs, you’re costing yourself sales and customers.”
Let’s review how ATA ePRO increases profits and improves overall customer service by tracking 12 common issues of bowhunting and archery retailing.
1. Instantly manage your store’s inventory.
“Most retailers spend too much time figuring out what they’re doing wrong,” Phillips said. “If you’re walking your floor each week to identify what you need to restock, you’re losing money.”
ATA ePRO’s point-of-sale system instantly alerts retailers when a product reaches its minimum number in their inventory. ATA ePRO then automatically orders the right amount to achieve the item’s maximum number for the store. And don’t worry about figuring out those minimums and maximums for each item in your inventory. ATA ePRO can handle that chore, too.
“I know an archery pro who spent time each week looking for things that were out of stock,” Phillips said. “I studied his files, identified 12 good sellers, and showed him that those items were out of stock more often than they were in stock. As a result, he missed out on $8,000 in profits on those items alone. If he was doing $300,000 per year overall, he was losing nearly 3 percent of his business on just 12 items because of poor inventory planning.”
2. Easily add products to your inventory.
If you’re at the ATA Trade Show and see a product you want to order, or customers keep walking into your store and asking for the same product but you don’t currently stock it, ATA ePRO can quickly make it part of your inventory.
The software comes preloaded with many manufacturers’ entire catalog of products, including their SKUs and UPC barcodes. And it updates those catalogs regularly. Retailers simply find the product on ATA ePRO’s master list, click on it, and download its information without any key strokes. They can then place their order.
“The less time you spend adding or subtracting items from inventory, the more efficiently you meet your customers’ demands,” Phillips said. “This keeps you flexible and more responsive to an ever-changing market.”
3. Get to know your customer quickly and thoroughly.
Savvy retailers in the past used index cards or a Rolodex to keep track of each customer’s draw length, draw weight, bow model, arrow models and other relevant information. ATA ePRO collects and organizes all that data and information, and makes it more accessible than ever to the retailer. Further, today’s consumers aren’t as reluctant to share their cell-phone numbers and email addresses with businesses, which makes communication with them fast and efficient. Phillips said it’s time for archery retailers to catch up with other businesses already using that technology.
“When you walk into a restaurant today and hear your table will be ready in 15 minutes, they get your cell number and text you,” Phillips said. “New people coming into archery today are used to sharing their contact information. When we tell them we’ll send them a text when their bow is ready or their arrows are ready, they love it. They don’t want to talk to you on the phone, anyway.”
ATA ePRO tracks progress of work orders. It automatically orders parts you pull from inventory, logs who made the repair, tracks how much labor went into the order, notifies you if you’re behind schedule on the bow’s work, and calculates the bill for you and the customer. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
4. Update your service/repair orders.
“When you take in a bow for repairs, write down all the information, and three days later answer a phone call from ‘Bob,’ he wants to know how it’s going,” Phillips said. “Most archery pros don’t know offhand, so they walk over to the service desk, find the paperwork, look at the bow, and then update the caller. In busy stores, that happens every day. But why did Bob call? Because he hadn’t heard from you. Today’s customers expect you to keep them up to date. Amazon helped create those expectations. You get an email when you place your order, when the order’s received, when it’s shipped, and when you’ll receive it.”
ATA ePRO keeps retailers and their customers up to date on the repair. It also automatically orders parts you pull from inventory, logs who made the repair, tracks how much labor went into the order, notifies you if you’re behind schedule on the bow’s work, and calculates the bill for you and the customer. When the bow is ready for pickup, ATA ePRO notifies the customer by email or text message.
“This is how people today do business, so they expect archery pro shops to be the same way,” Phillips said. “They expect to be able to inspect the bill on their iPad, and pay it by credit card while sitting on their couch. Then they just pick it up the next time they drive by. It saves you time at the cash register, too.”
5. Advertise to your customers subliminally.
Speaking of electronic bills, each time ATA ePRO tallies the customer’s total, it can use information about the sale or work order to suggest items in stock that a customer might want to purchase. Each suggestion is tailored to each customer’s sales history and the equipment they already own.
“ATA ePRO uses an algorithm to analyze UPC codes and information about the customer to match their needs,” Phillips said. “Anytime you visit Amazon, you’ll see sales suggestions based on your buying history. That boosts Amazon’s sales by about 30 percent. It suggests items they might not even know about."
6. This year’s sales data is next year’s profits.
When you know what you’ve sold, when you sold it, and how much you sold, you can buy more efficiently at the ATA Trade Show. That knowledge often lets you buy more items in bulk, schedule purchases more strategically, and serve your customers more consistently and professionally.
“If you aren’t automatically logging sales information, you’re trusting your memory to make too many important decisions,” Phillips said. “When you try running your business based only on what you remember, you’re limiting your store’s potential. It won’t take long before you start irritating people and discouraging customers.”
Buying in bulk and buying on schedule also saves money on prices, freight and shipping. “If you wait until you run out or nearly run out, you’re not getting the manufacturers’ best deals, and you’re paying extra in freight,” Phillips said. “When I’ve studied some of those extra costs, it’s biting off 5 to 10 percent of a store’s profits.”
ATA ePRO automates online booking for leagues and classes. Once the customer arrives, they sign in to verify their starting time, practice their designated time, and sign out electronically. Upon sign-out, ATA ePRO automatically calculates their range fee and bills their credit card. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
7. Reserve a specific lane and an exact range time.
Why waste your time and your customers’ time by making them call to reserve range time for practice, or show up when the lanes are already full? Every time you answer such phone calls and record the information into a logbook, you’re making inefficient use of your time.
“ATA ePRO lets your customers check their iPhone to see what times are available, and instantly pick a lane and a time they want to practice,” Phillips said. “It can also show them their options, and maybe steer them to an off-peak time when you sell the time at a cheaper rate. Customers enter their information, and receive a text message confirming their reservation. I can’t do all that as efficiently as a computer can.”
Once the customer arrives, they sign in to verify their starting time, practice their designated time, and sign out electronically. Upon sign-out, ATA ePRO automatically calculates their range fee and bills their credit card.
8. Automatically register for classes and leagues.
Phillips said if retailers do things right, they’ll never need to explain their pricing and payment options for lessons, archery classes and archery/bowhunting leagues.
“All that information should be on your store’s website and easy to find,” he said. “Most people today don’t want to call and ask for that information, and you shouldn’t make them call. You and your staff should be concentrating on sales and service.”
ATA ePRO is capable of selling lessons, classes and leagues online automatically, and letting everyone know when to show up. It can even send reminders so they don’t forget, and process auto-payments via credit cards.
“The more you learn about your range, and how and when customers are using it, the more profitable you’ll be,” Phillips said.
ATA ePRO’s point-of-sale system instantly alerts retailers when a product reaches its minimum number in their inventory. ATA ePRO then automatically orders the right amount to achieve the item’s maximum number for the store. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
9. Track employee hours and efficiencies.
Say goodbye to time clocks, punch cards and tracking your employees’ weekly minimums or maximums. ATA ePRO can log each employee’s start time, break time and finish time; continually update their weekly totals; and calculate their paychecks and deductions.
ATA ePRO can also track each employee’s sales, how many bows they repaired, how many arrows they made, or how many students they taught. Therefore, when analyzing all such data over time, a store’s owner or manager can assess each person’s effectiveness and reliability. After all, their name will be tied to each sale, lesson or work order, thanks to ATA ePRO’s multi-tasking capabilities.
10. It is easy and intuitive to learn.
ATA ePRO earns high marks from its users for its easy, intuitive operation. After just a couple of training videos, store owners and part-time workers alike operate the software with ease.
“This isn’t one of those complicated programs you have to use all day, every day to stay proficient,” Phillips said. “Even employees who only work two or three times a week quickly learn it, and don’t need constant help and reminders. It’s very intuitive.”
11. It folds into existing systems.
What if you already have a point-of-sales system or “tried-and-true” software programs that handle some ATA ePRO tasks? Simply install ATA ePRO and “migrate” the old system into it. Phillips and current ATA ePRO users swear by its efficiencies.
“This is the only business software that was designed by archery retailers for archery retailers,” Phillips said. “A retailer might only use one part of it at first, but as they use it and start understanding the many powerful ways it can improve their operations, they’ll keep expanding its areas of responsibility.”
12. ATA ePRO runs on all mobile devices, including smartphones.
Whether you’re on your desktop computer at work, or checking in via your smartphone from the airport 2,000 miles away, you can monitor your store’s activity and assess everyone’s performance.
“Everything is integrated into a system you can access remotely, so you should never be surprised when you return home,” Phillips said. “You can see everything in real-time, or review it by day, week, month or year. The more you let ATA ePRO help you, the more profitable and efficient you’ll become.”
To learn more about ATA ePRO, contact Kurt Smith, ATA’s senior manager of retail programs.