Business

Streamline Your Product Lines to Boost Sales

Archery products are so awesome it’s tempting to stock your shop with every possible option. But too many choices is a bad thing!
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Jackie Holbrook

Have you ever shopped for groceries on an empty stomach? You likely walked out with double – maybe triple –what you initially intended to buy. When consumers are motivated to buy (i.e., hungry) but have too many options (i.e., a store full of diverse foods), it’s more difficult to make focused decisions (i.e., meet your grocery budget). In grocery stores, where customers expect to make many affordable purchases, lost focus works in the store’s favor.

As a bow-shop owner, you might be tempted to offer customers every possible new product, hoping they’re motivated to buy everything they see. However, studies show the opposite: Customers faced with too many choices often walk away empty-handed because the options overwhelm them. If you stock too much eye candy, it will likely go stale on the shelves.

A study that proves this point used jam to analyze the psychology of choices. The research paper, “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire be Too Much of a Good Thing?,” reviewed two jam-tasting sessions at a grocery store. One station with 24 jam choices attracted 60 percent of the customers, only three percent of whom bought jam. The other station offered only six jam samples and attracted 40 percent of the customers, but 30 percent of them bought jam.

As a bow-shop owner, you might be tempted to offer customers every possible new product, hoping they’re motivated to buy everything they see. However, studies show the opposite: Customers faced with too many choices often walk away empty-handed because the options overwhelm them. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Lots of specific merchandise might attract lots of customers, but they’ll likely buy fewer products. Several other studies support those findings. When and why does too much of a good thing become a bad thing?

Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory and social action, wrote “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less.” Schwartz thinks a culture of abundance robs people of satisfaction. In other words, it creates “the grass is always greener” mentality. Schwartz says too many options create analysis paralysis, buyer’s remorse and decision fatigue.

In archery retailing, “decision fatigue” could also include physical fatigue. Imagine a customer coming in to buy a bow and then testing 12 or more models. After all that shooting, such customers will likely be tired and confused. And if Schwartz is right, if those customers then make a purchase, they might develop buyer’s remorse because they’ll always wonder if they made the right decision among all those options.

To reduce doubt and confusion, streamline your product lines. The benefits to streamlining include reduced overhead and more discounts from vendors. Smaller selections help you improve relationships with your remaining vendors. Buying more of the same product can also reap discounts while letting you stock up on inventory that moves. That way you’ll always be in stock when motivated customers come in.

In other words, retailers must protect their customers from tough choices. Where do you start when deciding what stays and what goes in your store? First, study your sales history. Keep your bestsellers and shed your dust-collectors.

ATA ePRO is an advanced POS system automatically updates your shop’s inventory, and you can program it to suggest purchase orders based on your desired minimums and maximums for each product. Barring the unforeseen, you’ll never again be left with empty pegs.Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

ATA ePRO can make that job even easier. This software was designed by archery shop owners for archery shop owners, and it can integrate with your existing point-of-sales system. Its advanced POS system automatically updates your shop’s inventory, and you can program it to suggest purchase orders based on your desired minimums and maximums for each product. Barring the unforeseen, you’ll never again be left with empty pegs.

Look around your store. Are you carrying overwhelming, underwhelming or just enough product options? Identify good, better and best-selling products in each category you carry. Also identify the products that offer your highest profit margins. If a product’s profit margin is only 20 percent, consider dropping it in favor of more profitable products.

The timing of when you offer products can also boost sales. Newly released products get all the buzz, especially on social media, and customers are eager to own the latest and greatest from their favorite brands. You can prepare for that frenzy by attending the annual ATA Trade Show, testing the newest bows and accessories, and ordering those worthy of your shop.

For more in-depth tips for streamlining product lines, take advantage of ATA’s Retail Growth Initiative. The RGI program is free for ATA members, and helps retailers maximize their strengths and explore innovative ways to serve new and potential customers. RGI helps identify your selling strengths and installs systems that make your shop more efficient and profitable.

And while you’re at it, analyze all your programs. You might stock perfect amounts of product, but if your customers aren’t “archery-hungry” your shelves will stay full. Leagues and lessons with certified instructors help create customers. You could also bring in wildlife experts to host seminars, which coaxes bowhunters into the store to try new things like bowfishing.

For a more in-depth look at how to streamline product lines, take advantage of engaging with other ATA member retailers on ATA Connect. ATA Connect is free for ATA members and helps retailers explore new methods for serving new and potential customers by creating discussion with retailers like you.

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