To make it big, you have to make smart business decisions and outcompete your competition. Many successful retailers pride themselves on exceptional customer service. While that certainly draws customers back to your shop, there are other ways to get them to return, too, and maybe even more often!
Consider these seven low-cost things when trying to improve your retail operation.
Host a fun holiday event. Photo Credit: Music City Archery
Events are a great source of supplemental income. They give people a reason to visit your shop, practice their skills and connect with your staff and the community. You can host archery shoot-offs, bowfishing tournaments, holiday-themed archery parties, a bowhunting bash, back-to-school gatherings, and whatever else your team can brainstorm. Whatever you do, ensure there’s an archery spin, make the event fun and engaging, and advertise it like crazy to encourage community members to attend. Events don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to organize. You can keep it as simple as you wish. Use the ATA’s “Archery and Bowhunting Event Idea Guide” for ideas and planning tips.
Give people a way to try archery risk-free. Renting bows makes archery accessible to everyone, and if they like it, they’ll often come back to buy equipment, take a lesson or attend a future event. Make sure the bow rental, in addition to the range fee, is affordable. Then, provide a little instruction and set them free. You can check in on them periodically. Rental programs serve as steppingstones to more archery sales and activities. Once you have rentable equipment, start advertising and ask each participant to sign a waiver before they shoot. The ATA created a sample rental agreement waiver for ATA members to use. The document is available upon request. Contact ATA’s Nicole Nash at (507) 233-8146 to get the document.
Make your business a place where customers can talk products and hang out while they wait. You don’t need to renovate or give your shop a total makeover that has a big price tag. Instead, add a couch, TV and coffee table. Put out some hunting magazines and encourage people to relax in the space as they wait for their turn. Or go a simpler route with seating and free Wi-Fi. If you have extra space, you can also add a kids’ entertainment center with toys, play stuff and a TV turned to a kid-friendly channel. You can also put crayons or markers out and print off hunting-themed coloring pages from ATA’s Kids Coloring and Activity Book. Give parents the option to leave their kids in the designated area while they shop or work with a sales member. These spaces help customers pass the time and feel less stressed, which makes the store visit more enjoyable and more likely to happen again in the future.
Leagues are great for beginners, intermediate and advanced archers. Participants get to use their equipment regularly while improving their skills and making more friends. Leagues also help retailers sell more range time and equipment while connecting with customers. You can offer one league in the winter or year-round leagues. You can also get creative with categories if you have enough interest. For example, some retailers have had success with their couples league.
Archery Connection offers moving targets that move back and forth from the wall to the archer at the front of the range. Photo Credit: ATA
If you want to do something really unique, make pulling arrows a breeze for customers by installing a moving-target system. A few ATA-member retailers did this in various capacities and found their customers enjoyed practicing more and returned more often to practice, which increased their profits, making the investment worthwhile. Retrievable targets also make indoor archery ranges safer because customers don’t have to walk downrange. As a bonus, customers can place their targets at different distances to challenge themselves and customize their practice session. Get creative to come up with an affordable option or make an investment with tools and technology.
A hunting mentoring program provides support for newcomers and gives mentors the chance to step back and share their wisdom. It also helps retailers meet new people, increase their community awareness and build partnerships with like-minded people and organizations. You can have staff or your customers mentor people interested in learning to hunt. Creating a formal program creates loyal customers who return regularly for equipment, service and support, further increasing sales and business relevancy. If you want something less involved, host a mentoring event or partner with your state wildlife agency. You can increase your visibility as a mentoring host or affiliate and still provide education and support to newcomers.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP THE INDUSTRY, TO HELP INDIVIDUAL BUSINESSES GET THE MOST OUT OF THE INDUSTRY, AND TO HELP YOU.
Offer a customer rewards program on service items. Photo Credit: ATA
Customer-rewards programs, aka customer-loyalty programs, reward customers when they buy items, further increasing brand loyalty. Well-designed rewards programs make buying easy and offer exciting incentives, which entice customers to return and buy more. They can create loyal customers, attract new customers, increase sales and profits, and improve your business’s reputation. Be strategic with incentives so you don’t hurt your cash flow. For example, customers desire two-for-one range rentals and discounts on service items, and neither option is detrimental to your register. Also, allow customers to earn by spending money or interacting with your business in other ways that will benefit you. For example, you can ask them to write reviews, refer friends, share social content or subscribe to your blog or newsletter.
Need someone to talk to about one of these ideas or perhaps something completely different? No problem! ATA staff are always here to help. Contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s senior manager of outreach, at email@example.com or (507) 233-8146.