Author: Cassie Gasaway
Whether in business or everyday life, everyone must continually learn and evolve in order to succeed. The ATA asked retailers and manufacturers at the 2020 ATA Trade Show what they learned in 2019, and how they would use that knowledge to improve this year. Let’s review their insights.
Provide opportunities for your customers to try all archery disciplines. Photo Credit: Archer's Edge
Redge Grant, owner of Archer’s Edge Equipment in Pretoria, South Africa
“We’re going to focus on maintaining current archers, so we don’t lose the business we have,” Grant said. “We want our archers to cross-pollinate into different archery disciplines. We hold days where they can shoot all archery activities, including 3D, field, target, indoor and outdoor, so everyone gets to try everything. We hope that exposure encourages them to get more involved in other disciplines.”
Read the ATA article “Help Customers Explore Archery’s Many Disciplines” to learn more about this concept. Then, consider offering classes and programs to give customers options. If you can’t host events, use partnerships to boost your business.
C.J. Davis, president of Montana Decoy in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
“It  was a strange year for us because we had a slow spring,” Davis said. “It picked up in the fall so we had a decent year, but that slow spring hurt us. I need to shore up that business and stop making assumptions. I must touch all my accounts, not just the big accounts.”
Davis also said it’s a constant struggle to find new customers, so he’s trying to sell existing customers more products. “That doesn’t mean instead of selling them 10 of one SKU I sell them 20, but rather I sell them eight of SKU 1 and eight of SKU 2,” he said. “I’ll try to get them to branch out into what their possible product selections could be, based on what we’ve learned from other dealers. We may have two dealers in adjacent towns, and one sells deer [decoys] well (while) the other sells turkeys [decoys] really well. They’re in the same environment, so they should both be selling deer and turkeys [decoys].”
Davis also wants dealers to use his products more often. “That always makes a big difference because they’ll get out, use it, see what it does [to generate exciting hunts], and talk about it with their customers,” he said. “Education and getting them to use it: Those are key things.”
Rey Cortez, archery coach and bow tech at High Altitude Archery in Longmont, Colorado
To improve business, Cortez reviews his complete process. “We value the entire customer-service experience,” Cortez said. “We want to ensure our customers have a good experience in our shop, know exactly and fully what we’re about, and that we’ll help them achieve their goals. We hope to develop each aspect of the customer experience so our customers have the skills and knowledge to succeed.”
Check out these ATA articles to improve your customer relations:
Andrae D’Acquisto, owner of Lone Wolf Customer Gear in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
“We need to be better organized in manufacturing to fill all the orders we receive,” D’Acquisto said. “We left a ton of business on the table last year. We didn’t anticipate the demand for the product, so we’re expanding our manufacturing system to handle more volume in 2020.”
Crooked Creek Outdoors hosts S3DA events, including a recent scholarship shoot. The students pictured here are learning about the S3DA events at a meeting. Photo Credit: Crooked Creek Outdoors
Greg Myers and Jeff Hudgens of Crooked Creek Outdoors in Macomb, Illinois
“We learned kids are our future,” Myers said. “We do a lot of S3DA stuff now, and have a club with instructors who offer structured content to participants. The kids love it. We’ve seen a big difference in the number of kids in our shop since we started the program.”
Hudgens agreed. “That’s huge because you can’t get archery in every school,” Hudgens said. “Retail shops need to take the initiative to create programs in their shops to get more kids involved. Those who do create lifelong customers.”
Read these ATA article to learn how to recruit youths into archery.
Make sure you manage your time effectively to release products on schedule. Photo Credit: Nose Jammer Facebook
John Redmond, CEO/owner of Nose Jammer in Winona, Minnesota
“We need to allocate more time to research and development so our products launch on time,” Redmond said. “That was a nasty lesson. It didn’t hurt us, but it didn’t help, either. We have some new products in this phase, and another upcoming idea, but we’re still feeling it out. Being two years ahead with product development will help us continue to grow.”
Jackie Wyatt of The Archeryshack in Anderson, South Carolina
“We have to convince hunters to get their bows set up earlier in the season and not wait until the last minute to come in,” Wyatt said. “August is so busy for us, and hunters don’t want to wait on their stuff for two weeks, but there’s only so much time in the day. We’re going to offer an early-bird incentive in 2020 to motivate customers to come in earlier to buy arrows or get their bow worked on. We also need to communicate better.”
The ATA article “Service Deals Pull Customers in Early” explains how to entice customers to bring in their bows before the busy season. Another good article is “5 Ways to Reach Your Customers,” which lists crafty ways to encourage customers to visit your shop early, and spare everyone stress.
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Companies must evaluate their business to identify mistakes, remember highlights, and prepare for the future. Each new year is a reminder and an opportunity to analyze your business to set goals and make improvements. Stay tuned for an ATA article about evaluating your company’s performance to succeed in 2020.