Retail

7 Ways to Kickstart Your Busy Season

Try these strategies to draw customers to your shop long before the season.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

If you’re like most archery retailers, you’re likely hustling more than ever this year to stay afloat because of COVID-19. And now that the busy season is almost here — a time you probably live for — you might want to consider these seven ideas to attract customers and kickstart your summer.

 

1. Hold a Workshop

Give customers the knowledge to succeed with a seminar or workshop. Being helpful and informative builds trust and appreciation, which leads to more sales and repeat customers. Focus that education around your products so people have more reasons to buy. Consider holding virtual classes or workshops to allow social-distancing. Start with these four ideas:

– How to Start Bowhunting: Discuss basic equipment needs, places to hunt, shot placement, and shooting techniques.

– How to Fletch Your Own Arrows: Discuss the materials needed to fletch arrows, and provide step-by-step directions. Consider assembling DIY kits so customers can try it during or after the demonstration.

– How to Find the Best Release Aid: Explain the pros and cons of each style of release aid, and help customers test the options you stock.

– Evaluating and Maintaining Bowstrings: Showcase the bowstring brands you stock, and help customers determine if they need a new bowstring. Also list products and care tips that prolong a bowstring’s life.

 

2. Offer Service Deals

Use financial incentives on services to coax customers to come in early. Your hope, of course, is to distribute your workload over a few month to relieve preseason pressures on your employees. Folks procrastinate, so help them think about the upcoming season and how they’ll benefit by acting now. Remind them they can bring in their equipment early to save time and money, and avoid stress. They can capitalize on service deals, get their gear back quickly, and not worry about missed practice or hunting time while their bow gets serviced.

If you have a traditionally “slower” weekday, advertise a themed service day to attract customers and fill the gaps. Perhaps “Tune it Tuesday,” “Fletch it Friday,” or “String-Change Saturdays” will grab them.

Hold contests or raffles for customers to win free gear. Photo credit: 3Rivers Archery

3. Run Contests

Tap into your customers’ competitive side. Set a specific time period, and enter customers into contests whenever they buy a predetermined qualifying item or bring in their bow for maintenance. You could say, “If you buy arrows or a target between (date) and (date), you’ll automatically be entered to win a prize.” When the period ends, pick one or more names (depending on entry numbers) to win a gift card, free range time, or waived league fees. People love to win free stuff, which is a powerful motivator.

 

4. Host Shooting Events

Organize a league, tournament, date night or other events to inspire folks to use and inspect their equipment. Remind them to practice regularly long before the season opens. Give them reasons to visit your shop and buy items that prepare them to bowhunt.

Use the ATA’s Event Planning Workbook to help craft and organize your events. The workbook simplifies the planning process, and provides tips and insights for making decisions. Click here to learn more. To download the free Event Planning Workbook, log into your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources.” Search for “Event Planning Workbook,” print them, and add them to a three-ring binder to start planning.

Offer discounts on range time and encourage patrons to bring friends. Photo credit: Dewclaw Archery

5. Offer a Range Discount

If planning an event is too much trouble, consider these fun ideas for your range:

– Hold a “Bring a Friend” range night to build camaraderie, mentor newcomers, and introduce friends and family to archery.

– Set up 3D targets to simulate lifelike scenarios that help bowhunters think about shooting angles and shot placement.

– Decorate the range to provide a fun, unique shoot involving zombies, superheroes, Robin Hood or other props and targets.

Consider offering range discounts for customers who bring in bows for maintenance. Maybe you can offer half-priced range time until Aug. 1 for those getting their bow tuned or cams synced.

 

6. Prepare Your Inventory

Order and stock up on “must-have” products after consulting your sales reports to maximize buying decisions. Click here to learn how to study your sales reports. Then, stock your shelves so your shop offers quality products and options.

Create multi-item packages, too. Bundling items makes buying easier. Most newcomers don’t know what to buy, and they value your input, so help them out. Bundles also increase the items’ perceived value, which boosts sales.

 

7. Feature Products Weekly

Promote new products weekly to introduce customers to the best gear and latest technologies. Let them know items are in stock, and list each product’s quantities to create urgency and compel sales.

Also, create a 30-second video about a product, and explain why it’s a must-have item for this fall. Post the video to your social media, and encourage folks to like, share, react and comment. Ask them to tag friends who probably don’t know about the product. The more people who interact with your post, the more visibility your post generates on the platform. Click here for more social-media tips.

 

Communicate

It doesn’t matter if you use one, two or all seven ideas. Just communicate them to current and potential customers. Be creative and put your business in front of people. Use your social media, work with partners, and hang flyers in schools, at churches and on public bulletin boards. Talk to newspaper editors and TV producers. The more community members hearing about your business, products and opportunities, the more likely they’ll visit to check things out. That lets you welcome them to archery, introduce them to its many disciplines, and get them started with the right equipment and shooting technique.

It’s OK to use smart, funny, punchy and witty phrases to get attention. Ask: “How many arrows did you lose last year? We can help reduce that number.” Or ask: “Want to impress someone? Let us help you shoot consistent bull’s-eyes.” Or how about this: “Don’t knock it until you nock it. Try archery today!” Also, avoid swearing, or discussing politics and touchy subjects when promoting any aspect of your business.

Want more tips and information? Read last year’s article for six ways to prepare for the busy season.

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