Business

Make the Slow Times Work for You

Consider these tips to take advantage of those inevitable slow times in the shop.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Jackie Holbrook

The holidays are long gone, turkey hunting is weeks away, and sloppy weather is still keeping people holed up indoors. Archery retailers often endure slow times in late winter and early spring, but don’t panic and count down the days until business rebounds. Use those slow days to your advantage.

You can wisely use slow times to boost business, make your shop more efficient, and scratch everything off your to-do list. When you’re not focused on a shop full of customers, you can set your sights on everything you’ve tossed onto the backburner.

Consider these tips to take advantage of those inevitable slow times:

With your shop clean, now’s the time to strategically organize your sales floor and merchandise displays. Your shop’s floor plan determines customer flow and which products catch their eyes, ultimately generating sales. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Spring Cleaning

No matter how clean you keep your shop, it can use a good “spring cleaning” at least annually. Spring cleaning isn’t your standard cleaning session. It involves everything from moving furniture to washing light fixtures. Look around the shop. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned it, do so now. Here’s a spring-cleaning checklist for retail shops that ensures every inch of the shop ends up looking new.

Organize the Floor

With your shop clean, now’s the time to strategically organize your sales floor and merchandise displays. When customers walk through your doors what do they see? When was the last time you walked your aisles to see how your store and its merchandise looks to customers? Your shop’s floor plan determines customer flow and which products catch their eyes, ultimately generating sales. Those strategies take skillful planning and execution. With the right visual merchandising, you can boost sales.

Computer Maintenance

After putting your shop’s floor in order, it’s time to tackle your computer. How often do you press “later” when your computer asks for an update? By ignoring regular updates, you put your computer at risk of slowing, crashing, losing vital information or catching a devastating virus. Back up all important files on your computer, and install the latest anti-virus software to keep bugs away. While you’re giving your computer all that TLC, consider these additional maintenance tips.

ATA ePRO was designed by archery shop owners, for archery shop owners. It will boost your profits and increase your efficiencies by tracking inventory, tracking and updating service work, and helping customers sign up online for range time. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard

Discover ATA ePRO

Once your shop’s files are organized and backed up, it’s time to maximize your shop’s software and help your business run smoother than ever. ATA ePRO was designed by archery shop owners, for archery shop owners. It will boost your profits and increase your efficiencies by tracking inventory, tracking and updating service work, and helping customers sign up online for range time.

Take Care of the Taxidermy

A well-done wildlife mount is a piece of art. But if you neglect it, trophy taxidermy can turn into crap taxidermy. Simple maintenance keeps your shop’s trophies shining for years. Fur can fade if it’s in direct sunlight or too close to a heat source. Consider moving mounts around to give them breaks from the elements, and use a feather duster to gently keep them clean. Consider these additional tips for taking care of taxidermy.

Employee Training

When your shop is slammed with customers, every employee must be able to pull their weight. Take time during slow periods to check in with staff. Do they understand the computer software and your store’s new products? Consider holding a retreat. It doesn’t need to be over-the-top. Consider setting aside one afternoon outside the store. Checking in with staff helps you determine shop morale, identify things to improve, and seize opportunities to inspire.

You could also devote time to software training or hold bow-maintenance clinics to ensure every bow technician understands your shop’s repair process. By holding tuneup clinics for staff during slow periods, you ensure everyone is ready when sales and service/repairs pick up.

When business slows, look ahead. If you’re unsure where to begin, or you’d like outside opinions, ATA can help! Photo Credit: ATA.

Swap Stories with Other Shops

The ATA Trade Show is a once-a-year event that brings retailers together, but connections made at the Show shouldn’t remain on the floor. ATA Connect helps retailers network with each other year-round. This new online platform provides a safe space for retailers to discuss archery-industry issues. ATA members who sign up for ATA Connect can ask questions, share ideas and get advice from industry peers.

Renew Your Membership

Keep your ATA membership current. By being an active ATA member, you can capitalize on everything the ATA does for your store and the archery/bowhunting industry. ATA membership benefits include exclusive access to the Trade Show, free subscriptions to three industry trade magazines, access to industry research, and tools to help you boost your shop’s profile.

Study and Plan

When you’re focused on surviving the moment, you can forget to plan for the future. A business plan is the key to consistent success. When business slows, look ahead. If you’re unsure where to begin, or you’d like outside opinions, ATA can help! Through its Retail Growth Initiative, ATA has resource materials that help you make step-by-step strategic goals.

When slow periods arrive, your shop can seem empty. Don’t worry. By taking advantage of periodic downtime, you’ll be more ready than ever to profit when business picks up once more.

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