Q. Rationale 1 discussed how fourth-quarter product releases devalue existing products during the year’s busiest season. But releasing new products in the fall causes another issue, too: their availability. How does that affect retail shops?
Owner, Archery Only, Newark, California:
Because I’m on the West Coast, my busy season comes earlier. I’ve sold out of most of my inventory before new products drop in October or November. That works in my favor, so I don’t have the issue guys in the Midwest and East have when it comes to new products devaluing products in stock. This year one of my bow manufacturers worked hard to get me the two demo bows, media kits, pricing and specs as soon as the new product dropped. The demo bows and materials were made available for every retailer nationally the same week. So that’s improvement.
BUT here’s the downside:
They sent me two bows. That’s all I’ve got. It’s been 10 days since the new product dropped and I have no inventory to sell. I can’t get the new bows, either. So even if every archery shop’s sales were through the roof in quarters one, two and three – and no one was concerned about moving existing inventory during hunting season – the alternative is my scenario, which doesn’t work either. Even worse, I don’t know if it’s going to be another two weeks or two months before I see the new bows, and the manufacturer won’t let me know. How crazy is that?
Q. When customers respond to the product release and come into the store, what are you doing in light of no inventory?
I’m giving them updates on availability if I have an idea of when we should get the bows and, when the bows don’t ship — which often happens — when they’re supposed to. It makes me look really bad. New-product releases, coupled with manufacturers not being able to ship once the product is released, are killing us.
Midwest Cimmarron Archery, Richmond, Illinois:
A good 50 to 60 percent of people you see come into our shop looking to buy a newly released bow think they’ll either a) walk out that day with the bow, or b) think they’ll order and get it in a few days. But when you tell them it could take two to eight weeks, in most cases they hold off altogether and spend their money elsewhere.
All Star Archery & Marine Electronics, Dallas, Texas:
Customers who come into the shop in response to a new-product release have clear expectations of how long it will take to get the bow. They have no intention of buying or ordering. This guy has been trained by the bow manufacturers, and he knows their release dates. He’ll start waiting and watching, and then he comes in the store and says he wants to shoot some bows. And then he says, “Well, I’ll just wait till the new bows come out ’cause they’ll be out in a few weeks.” Then he walks out the door
That customer had no intention to buy. He just wanted to check out the bows from the current year. That way he could compare the bow’s features to the new bow’s features when it’s released. And this all happens during our busiest month because our manufacturers have mapped it out that way. Never mind that it takes time away from the fourth-quarter customer who is motivated by Texas’ hunting season and is looking to buy.
Next week we’ll post the third article of this six-part series to review rationale No. 3 in supporting the ATA Retail Council’s request to release new archery products in January. If you missed the first installment of the series, click here. If you’d like to weigh in on the best-practices statement or, if you’re an archery retailer and want to share your experiences with product-launch cycles and how it affects your store, post a comment in the section below or email us at email@example.com.
The Retail Council meets weekly to discuss pressing issues raised during the ATA’s 2016 strategic-planning meeting, including the current product-launch cycles. To learn more or to get involved in the Retail Council, contact the ATA toll-free at (866) 266-2776.