Across the industry, there is a collective sigh of relief--the summer doldrums are ending and the industry's money-making season is about to begin. It is time to sell hunting products!
For most gun dealers, the fall and winter months are the make-or-break season of their businesses. While not all gun dealers depend upon hunting to keep them in the black, the majority do, and maximizing this season is vital for profitability and survival.
That means stocking, promoting and selling hunting products. Yes, you have set some heavy goals to sell a lot of firearms in the next few months, but a lion share of your profits during this time of the year is likely to be in selling all things hunting. And while you have sold a few hunting accessories already this year, the selling gets serious now--and there are customers ready to spend their money.
In 2001, hunters generated more than $67 billion in sales, according to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. More than 13 million Americans, ages 16 and older, hunted in 2001.
"On average, each hunter spends $1,896 per year on hunting, which is 5.5 percent of the typical wage-earner's annual income," reports the association.
That is a lot of hunting products flowing through the industry's pipeline!
Don't Lose That Sale!
How critical is it for a gun shop to carry a wide variety of hunting accessories in today's marketplace?
"We consider it to be pretty important. It's our forte," said Pat Hopkins, general manager of Green Top Sporting Goods, an independent dealer located six miles north of Richmond, Va. "What we've created here since opening in 1947 is a reputation: One Stop--Green Top."
Green Top's best-selling hunting accessories begin with scopes, mounts and scope accessories.
"Black powder accessories are also big in our area, because of the extra hunting season available to hunters," said Hopkins. "There is money in scents and calls, but it's important to know that customers don't want to go into a gun shop and only see two types of scents. We carry 60 to 70 different brands of scents and lures. In game calls we carry 12 to 14 brands and more than 300 SKUs. This is a very important category."
Hunting clothes and gear is also essential for solid sales at Green Top.
"In clothing, a lot of customers go to a big box and find one style, one brand: and once they've sold out of larges and extra...