Author: Michaelean Pike
Knowing your core customer base is critical to retail success. You need to understand who your core customers are, what they want from your shop, what they value, and how much they want to spend.
You’ll find a big difference, for example, between a consumer who purchases a Rolex and one who grabs the cheapest watch they can find at Walmart—not only in terms of budget and priorities, but also the use of effective marketing techniques. A message that works on the average Walmart shopper will probably not work on a patron of luxury brands.
The task of identifying the needs of your core customer can seem daunting; you could spend hours doing the online research. But marketing expert Whitney Beatty of LongPlay Communication said defining your target audience doesn’t have to be time consuming.
“It’s easy to overthink market research,” she said. “A lot of people go too far into it, especially when they’re thinking about social media. A brick-and-mortar retailer doesn’t have the same needs as, say, Coca-Cola. When you’re talking about core customers, small retailers already intuitively know this information. It just might mean laying it out in a different way so they can understand it better.”
Instead, she recommends simply asking yourself the following five questions.
Decide who you're trying to target before choosing your marketing medium. Photo Credit: ATA
Who are you trying to reach?
Think about who your customers are: gender, age, socioeconomic level, education level, etc. You also want to consider their values, lifestyle and priorities. Does your primary customer care more about price, quality or convenience? Do they prefer to shop/shoot after work on a weekday or on a Saturday morning, and is your store open at that time?
Do you have the products they want?
Once you know who your customer is and what they value, review your current product mix to make sure you’re offering the kinds of items they want to buy. If your core customer base is shopping on a budget, stock a variety of products at a budget-friendly price point and reduce the amount of high-end gear on hand.
The younger generations will be more likely to notice an ad on a music streaming service or Instagram. Photo Credit: Verywell Mind
How do your customers get their information?
Older consumers are more likely to favor more traditional media, such as newspapers and radio. Younger consumers, on the other hand, are more likely to stream music from services like Spotify than tune in to the radio. You can’t expect to reach them the same way you reached their parents and grandparents.
Millennials and Gen Z also choose different social media platforms than older consumers. While you can still reach Baby Boomers and Gen X on Facebook, you’ll have better luck reaching young people on Instagram.
What do your competitors offer?
Once you’ve analyzed your core customer, turn your attention to the competition. What do your competitors offer, and who do they serve? Where do your competitors advertise? Does the competition stress price, quality or convenience?
Keep in mind that your competition is not limited to other archery shops. If you have a range where recreational archers shoot, you are also competing with other recreational options, like bowling, axe throwing and even those places where you pay to bash furniture with a sledgehammer. If you offer lessons for kids, you’re competing with karate, gymnastics and dance. Your core customer has limited dollars for entertainment and recreation, so anywhere they spend those dollars that is not your shop is a competitor.
Try to grow your youth demographic if that is an area where you're lacking. Photo Credit: ATA
Are there opportunities for growth?
Now that you’ve defined your target audience and reviewed your competition, look for opportunities. Is there a consumer demographic that is underserved by your competitors? Are there products your shop currently doesn’t sell that would appeal to your core customer?
In many areas, youth and kids are an underserved market. Does your shop have programs, classes and products targeted at young people? A well-designed, progressive series of lessons and classes can turn archery novices into lifelong shooters. ATA members can download lesson plans at the ATA’s Resource Website. Kid-friendly outdoor-themed products, such as The White’s Tale board game, are great too.
To help you better define and analyze your target audience, take advantage of ATA Connect to talk with other archery retailers. You might also start researching new vendors to meet at the 2020 ATA Trade Show in January.