Author: Cassie Scott
Bowfishing season is almost here. Is your shop ready to help customers searching for bowfishing gear and information? Use these tips to “wow” your regulars and attract new customers.
Move bowfishing gear to the front of your store and post your inventory online. Photo Credit: ATA
Stock, Advertise Bowfishing Gear
Bowfishing is an excellent sport for beginning archers because it requires little extra gear. All they need is a bow with a few accessories, including a bowfishing rest, a reel with line, and arrows tipped with a barbed point. Stock these items in multiple styles and brands to give customers options.
Several manufacturers make bowfishing kits, which help customers easily convert their bow into a bowfishing setup. You could also bundle products to create your own bowfishing packages. Newcomers often don’t know what to buy, so you can remove barriers for beginners by grouping accessories into packages, or selling assembled packages.
Don’t forget to offer helpful items like gloves, towels, a fish club and polarized sunglasses. Stock all bowfishing equipment in one section near the entrance so it’s easy to find. Stocking multiple bowfishing-related items helps your shop rise above the competition. Advertise your gear and services on your website and social-media accounts so customers know you have them covered.
Be an Information Hub
Next, show your customers you can help them embark on this new adventure. Ease the transition by providing and explaining your state’s bowfishing rules and regulations, such as bag limits, where to go, which fish to take, how to use the fish, and which licenses or permits they need. Be sure to recommend bowfishing hotspots and tips to help them succeed. That’s the surest way to help customers have fun and get hooked on bowfishing.
State agencies often list bowfishing rules and restrictions on their websites. To make those details more handy, create shop-branded handouts. Your flyers can double as marketing materials for your shop when customers share them with friends and other bowfishing newcomers. Convenient, educational tips build trust with customers, which increases their loyalty to you, your shop and your brand.
The Explore Bowhunting program teaches bowhunters the basics in both a classroom and outdoor setting. Photo Credit: ATA
Teach ‘Explore Bowfishing’
Customers appreciate educational flyers, but many need more extensive bowfishing knowledge, so consider hosting an Explore Bowfishing program. Explore Bowfishing helps retailers, educators and instructors teach basic bowfishing skills. Students learn about bowfishing gear, fish habitats and fish species they can pursue. The hands-on program gives students tools they need to succeed, which makes bowfishing more fun.
ATA staff and partners created the program. It’s available free to ATA members by contacting Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at (866) 266-2776, ext. 116; or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partner with Guides, Organizations
Bowfishing can help you generate customers by partnering with schools, agencies, fishing clubs, bowfishing guides, parks-and-recreation departments, nongovernmental organizations and other groups that might partner for success.
If bowfishing is popular in your area, many groups might already have educational programs. If so, offer equipment for shooting exercises, or host a segment that discusses gear so you can publicize your business. Also consider offering equipment coupons or free lessons.
Barb Gigar is a training specialist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Her team often partners with archery retailers to teach classes and programs. Mutually beneficial partnerships boost license sales for states, and equipment sales for retailers. Gigar recommends retailers contact potential partners to discuss duties, concerns and expectations for joint ventures.
By working together, retailers and their partners can promote archery and generate interest in bowfishing and bowhunting. Partners can also serve as mentors – or help find mentors – for your customers.
By hooking your customers on bowfishing, you can also encourage them to bowhunt, shoot in leagues, and invite friends to your shop. Either way, by preparing your shop for bowfishing season, you can reap multiple long-term benefits.