Author: Jackie Holbrook
Top archers don’t shy from competition. They thrive on challenge. When facing fierce opponents, they stay focused and use their skills to find winning advantages. Successful businesses apply similar tactics. Competition forces stores to find innovative ways to encourage customers to spend.
Personal connections with customers in-store are what separates brick and mortar shops from online stores. Photo Credit: After Hours Archery
Focus on Your Strengths
Customers have many options, especially as more shoppers buy products online. But retail shops offer value that customers can’t get from the couch. “There’s no way we can fight the internet for customers,” said Mason Smith, manager of Archery Connection in Phenix City, Alabama. “Instead, we give them a personalized experience.”
Smith tries to connect with every customer. “We talk to them and make sure they get what they’re looking for,” he said. He then takes that opportunity to assure customers his shop’s prices are competitive with those of online retailers and bigger stores, so there’s no need to leave and buy the product elsewhere.
After Hours Archery in Oskaloosa, Iowa, prides itself on being a family-owned business. Owner Jeff Greenhalgh runs the shop with his two sons. “We’re knowledgeable and we spend the time it takes to help educate the customer,” Greenhalgh said.
After Hours Archery is over 50 miles away from the nearest multi-chain retailer. Greenhalgh said customers have no problem traveling to his shop because of his reputation for service. “We get lots of customers through word-of-mouth who weren’t satisfied by big-box stores,” he said. “We then build relationships with the customers.”
Sell With Your Service Desk
Your shop’s customer service shouldn’t stop at the sale. Bow technicians play a huge role in giving shops a competitive edge. “People don’t have to get off the couch to order (a bow), but they have to bring it into a shop to get it worked on,” Greenhalgh said.
As a part of the purchase, After Hours Archery installs products it sells. “It’s going the extra mile on the service side of things to solidify the customer,” Greenhalgh said.
Archery Connection also provides setup services when customers buy products. “If you buy an arrow rest, we will install it and paper-tune your bow for free,” Smith said. “We won’t charge you for labor. It cuts down on our profits, but it’s better to sell product rather than not sell at all.”
Holding tournaments on a regular basis can generate repeat customers. Photo Credit: Archery Connection
Events, leagues and lessons are great ways to get new and returning customers into the shop. “We do a kids tournament, ages 5 to 18, every Friday night,” Smith said. “It brings in a lot of kids and their parents.”
Use your range to generate profits and sell product. Set up a seasonal or new-product display within sight of the range. Customers using your range might not visit the shop intending to buy something, but that doesn’t mean they’ll leave empty-handed.
Keep Up with the Industry
The business landscape is always changing, and it’s hard to keep tabs on those changes, but that’s why you joined the Archery Trade Association. The annual ATA Trade Show helps you connect with other retailers and manufacturers, and get the latest industry news. The Trade Show offers educational opportunities where experts help you create lifelong customers and partner with recreational archery programs.
The 2020 ATA Trade Show is Jan. 9-11 in Indianapolis.
The Resource Website offers documents and photos that shops can use for their business. Photo credit: ATA
Use Your ATA Resources
Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned pro, you’ll never stop learning. ATA’s Resources Website provides exclusive access to free resources that help grow your business. This microsite includes educational materials, comprehensive guides, and high-quality images and videos for marketing and education. If you have industry-related questions, My Resources likely has answers. Reviewing that information sparks new ideas.
Competing in the field and in the shop requires hard work, innovation and excellence. When shops serve customers the best they can, everyone wins.