While handguns are still selling well, the discounting responsible for a lot of it isn't sustainable in the long haul. As such, there's a fantastic opportunity for gun store owners and managers to get back to marketing basics and exercise some good 'ole creativity in reaching customers --demonstrating not only the benefits of handgun ownership but also outstanding customer service. To this end, here are five tips for greater handgun sales gathered from experienced industry professionals around the country.
FIND CREATIVE WAYS TO INCREASE COMMUNICATION WITH CUSTOMERS.
Today's technology offers multiple media outlets to push your message to both current and potential customers. Make no mistake, they must hear from you--in all areas of shooting. Will Ceron, co-owner of Denver, Colo.-based Check 6 Arms, says to boost sales in today's market, his team is expanding their presence on social media and encouraging customers to sign up for their monthly email sales newsletter --tried-and-true means of marketing.
"We will still focus on the self-defense aspect of firearms, but will push some more of the sporting and fun-time aspects of it as well to reach a different type of gun owner," Ceron lends.
But increasing communication means listening to customers just as much as it means pushing communication out to them. If the fear of anti-gun legislation played a part in driving innovation and sales for the past several years, the inverse of a mostly pro-gun climate will demand retailers take greater care to listen to customer needs. If you don't listen to them, they'll find someone else who will. 2.
KEEP THE "FUN FACTOR" IN THE FOREFRONT.
Ceron's comment about the "fun-time aspect" of shooting bears keeping in mind in the current market climate. As worthwhile and important as self-defense and hunting remain, many people will be introduced to guns and gun ownership because someone takes them shooting--just for fun. Columbus, Ohio-based Vance Outdoors has taken this approach with customers as well, increasing the amount of advertising for .22 rimfire firearms as .22 ammo is readily available again.
According to Ceron, his store is also starting to post more range pictures and videos on social media, and talking about the simple enjoyment of shooting. "It doesn't always have to be so serious, with the exception of safety," he shared. "Shooting can be very cathartic and enjoyable. We want to be able to convey this to potential customers."