Handgun accessories.

Author:Taffin, John

There Are A Lot Of Sales To Make, Even In A Soft Firearms Market.

In 1994, we saw unprecedented sales of handguns. In 1995, the bottom fell out of the handgun market. But that's all history. What about today?

If dealers are to survive they must be tuned into every possible way to increase sales, even in a soft market. When handguns are selling, there's a market for handgun accessories. When handguns aren't selling, the market is still there for handgun accessories. Shooters may not need a new handgun but they may very well be open to embellishing the handgun they already have.

Mark Shapel, a gun dealer in Idaho, points out that a dealer often makes more money on a $100 sale of accessories than from a $500 handgun sale. Dealers not stocking accessories are losing substantial profits.

What can you do to increase accessories sales? SI called dealers around the country to gather sales ideas that work. Ideas that can help you increase sales even when firearms are not selling.

In our informal survey, SI found that approximately 30 percent of dealers do not stock accessories while 50 percent indicate they do. Dealers interviewed were asked about holsters and related equipment such as padded rags and hard cases, grips, sights and compensators. We covered all parts of the country, talking with successful dealers in Idaho, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and California.

One common factor reflective of these dealerships was a combination of friendliness and enthusiasm. Such conduct costs nothing and requires no extra space but pays huge dividends.

Shapel & Sons in Boise, Idaho, is a third generation gunshop that has expanded with each generation. Through wise use of space it is able to stock more products than shops two to three times its size. It is also the type of store where one feels comfortable just dropping in for no particular reason except to see what is available.

A customer is not pounced upon, nor ignored. If one wants help it is available. Conversely, if someone simply wants to browse or just "hang out" in a friendly place for awhile, Shapel's is the place. I have been there at least once a week for the past 30 years, and I have yet to see a customer treated disrespectfully. Nor have I ever run into the "know-it-all" attitude that can destroy a gunshop or any other business. Again, this is an attitude that costs nothing but pays huge dividends. It builds repeat business.

Shapel's maintains a large, easy-to-see display of holsters covering...

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