Owning an archery shop is an experience filled with both rewards and challenges. The Archery Trade Association wants to help its retail members face these challenges head-on as they head into a new year, full of opportunities to grow their businesses. At the 2017 ATA Trade Show, we asked retailers to tell us about the challenges they are facing in archery shops throughout the country. Here’s what we learned:
1. Bow Sales are Down
Although the national survey conducted in the states found that archery participation was at an all-time high with 23.8 million Americans participating in the sport in 2015, some retailers are reporting double-digit declines.
In the blog, “The Certainty of Uncertainty,” author and CEO of the Archery Trade Association, Jay McAninch, explains since the demographics of our customers have changed, purchasing behavior has also changed, accounting for loss of sales and profit. He encourages retailers to talk to their customers and to understand their purchasing behavior to adjust their strategy accordingly.
2. Bows Are Getting Pricy and Customer’s Interests Have Changed
Multiple retailers find it difficult to sell high-end, expensive bows to customers, especially women, youth and beginners. And, more avid bowhunters are often using their bows for multiple years, buying used or purchasing less expensive bows because they work just as well, and are as enjoyable to shoot as the expensive models.
To better understand the purchasing behavior of our consumers, ATA will conduct research in 2017 to determine the what customers believe is a reasonable price point.
Many retailers are motivated in their endeavors to talk strategy here at the 2017 ATA Trade Show. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
3. Internet Sales Complicate Brick and Mortar Transactions
Brick and mortar retailers provide service, instruction, technical support and a friendly face-to-face customer experience. They factor their service and support into their pricing model whereas internet sales limit those opportunities.
Personal service is essential to the recruitment and retention of archers. Since that aspect of the business is stripped in an online sales model, our industry must figure out how to universally adopt strong minimum advertised pricing policies (MAP).
4. Small Shops Can’t Afford Credit Card Processing Machines
Many small, rural retail shops are feeling the pressure to obtain or upgrade to an EMV-compatible machine. However, the high price tags associated with the machines make small business owners hesitant to conform. Shannon Shipley of City Boy Archery in Chillicothe, Missouri, likely turns away business because of his cash and carry policy. Shipley said, “We are located in a rural area and don’t accept credit cards because there are so many fees associated with them that it takes away from our profit.”
While electronic efficiencies can be expensive and difficult to implement, the Retail Growth Initiative offers a wide variety of deeply discounted services to better serve your customers. Visit the Member Services Area at the 2017 Show to learn more about the programs available to help increase your profit and improve efficiencies such as ATA’s new ePRO software and free website consultations by FootSteps Marketing. Also, learn how to negotiate rates, save money, please your customers and find a credit card processor that best suits your needs here.
Having knowledgably certified instructors on staff and throughout the country ensures newcomers learn proper form, which ensures fun, positive experiences. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
5. There Aren’t Enough Certified Archery Instructors
There is a direct correlation between the number of archers and the number of certified archery instructors. To extend our reach and increase archery participation nationwide, the number of certified archery instructors also needs to increase.
Having knowledgably certified instructors on staff and throughout the country ensures newcomers learn proper form, which ensures fun, positive experiences. Here are five reasons to become a certified archery instructor. We offer instruction certification at the 2017 Show, learn how to sign up here. If you’re interested in these certifications but can’t attend classes at the Show, visit USA Archery to find a class near you.
6. With Bow Sales Down, Retailers Badly Need to Move Year-End Inventory Before the Release of New Bows
At the end of the year, many retailers find their shelves lined with inventory from the years and struggle to sell-off the equipment before new products arrive. Jeff Barrackman with Great Lakes Outdoors Supply in Middleton, Ohio, said, “I wish all manufacturers would launch at the Show. When they launch before the new year, we get stuck with a lot of excess inventory that no one wants because it’s ‘old.’”
Bow manufacturers and retailers need to work together to ensure that old inventory is sold and sales of the new bows get off to a great start. A smooth transition between the bows of a new year mean that retailers and manufacturers will both be profitable.
The ATA is dedicated to helping retailers succeed by providing business boosting programs designed to promote archery and bowhunting. Our goal is to help retailers overcome their daily challenges to make 2017 the best year yet.