Author: Cassie Gasaway
How did you get started in archery or bowhunting? Did a friend or family member introduce you to it, or did you learn from a school or Field to Fork program?
No matter how archers get started, what matters most is what they do next. Too many archers settle into one discipline soon after starting, and never expand their opportunities. But retailers can often get them to try other options with a little encouragement.
What’s in it for retailers? Besides helping your customers explore many fun options, you can expand your business, make more money, and grow the archery and bowhunting community.
Let’s review Scott Einsmann’s archery journey, which shows how one person can enjoy archery many different ways. Einsmann, the ATA’s digital manager, helped find his career through archery, but that passion spurred him to explore several other disciplines while immersing himself in the sport.
Einsmann has explored every aspect of archery throughout the years. Photo Credit: ATA
Introduction to Recreational Archery:Einsmann started shooting archery at age 6 after seeing an old fiberglass bow hanging in his grandfather’s attic. His father helped him string the bow and taught him to shoot. He shot that ’glass bow for a while, but stopped for three years after outgrowing it. He simply didn’t know which step to take next. When he was about 12, he read the “The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible.” The book inspired him to start making bows. He bought a hatchet, wood rasp and red oak from Home Depot to make his first longbow.
Transition to Bowhunting: Making bows and listening to his father’s gun-hunting adventures piqued Einsmann’s interest in bowhunting deer. His dad bought him a Martin recurve after he earned his hunter-education certificate. He used the Martin for a year, but was accurate only to 15 yards, so he never shot at a deer. To increase his range the next year, he bought a PSE Nova SU compound bow. He shot his first deer two years later at age 17.
Pursuing Competitive Archery: The more Einsmann bowhunted, the more he visited a nearby archery shop to buy hunting supplies, tune his bow, and practice on the range. He also noticed a Junior Olympic Archery Development class during those visits when he was 16. A few weeks later, he read a magazine article about John Magera, a U.S. Olympic archer, who introduced his son to competitive archery through JOAD. Einsmann dreamed of shooting in the Olympics, and started taking lessons.
Finding his Niche: To pursue his dreams, Einsmann shot competitively during college. He also became a Level 2 certified instructor to share his archery passions. After four years of intense competition, however, he burned out after graduating, and returned to bowhunting and shooting recreationally. He also pursued work in the industry. After an internship with USA Archery, Einsmann landed a job with the ATA, which helped spur his interest in bowfishing.
Scott now bowhunts in fall, bowfishes in spring, and competes in two or more major tournaments annually. He also dabbles in coaching, 3D archery and shooting just for fun.
Have equipment/accessories for every archery discipline in your store. Photo credit: ATA
Einsmann encourages retailers to look for opportunities to teach customers about archery’s many opportunities. That includes not only stocking varied equipment, but also displaying pictures and posters that show tournaments, bowhunting, bowfishing and backyard fun.
“Those of us in the industry know all the ways to enjoy archery, but a new archer can’t know all that,” Einsmann said. “Even someone who shoots a lot in their backyard might never think to try bowhunting, bowfishing or competitions.”
Kurt Smith, ATA’s director of industry relations, said retailers shouldn’t assume customers aren’t interested in other aspects of archery. Some bowhunters might want to try target archery, and some competitive archers might want to try 3D archery.
By helping them seek new opportunities, retailers can expand their recreational interests and reduce their burnout rates while cashing in on more sales. Backyard archers who expand their interests and pursue competition, bowhunting and bowfishing suddenly need more than just one bow and a six-pack of arrows. “You just turned one customer into four,” Einsmann said.
How do you introduce them to all that fun? Create triggers. Einsmann, for example, saw a bow, read a book, skimmed an article, and noticed a JOAD class. All those interactions and visible “suggestions” sparked thoughts that led to action.
Demonstrate and coach the customer through the discipline they are curious about. Photo Credit: ATA
Making the Connection
Consider these aids for showing, or teaching, your customers their options:
– Hang inspirational posters and hand out fliers.
– Post photos and share videos on social media.
– Offer lessons for hands-on learning.
– Teach a class such as “Introduction to Bowhunting.”
– Offer educational programs such as Explore Archery, Explore Bowhunting or Explore Bowfishing.
– Host a Field to Fork or Learn to Hunt event.
– Hold a social hour so customers can mingle and discuss their archery interests.
– Hold seminars so speakers can share shooting tips and hunting strategies.
– Demonstrate different equipment.
– Sell books, magazines and DVDs. Leave copies in your store’s restrooms or near the checkout counter for customers to read or buy.
– Create a mentoring program, or ask volunteers to share their passion with customers who want to learn more.
– Stock a few products from all archery disciplines.
– Talk with customers about their archery goals and interests, and suggest more options.
– Be open. Ask customers if they want to learn more about bowhunting, bowfishing or competitive archery.
Always strive to help customers understand their sport’s many options, and help them find more information. By helping them you’ll always help your business.
To learn more about archery programs, contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will also work with you to identify ways to expand your business and offerings.