Industry

The Consequences of Launching New Product When it Isn’t Available

Customers expect to be able to test new archery products when they launch. In reality, it may be months before the archery retail shops have the new bows in stock.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Scott Gieseke

The ATA released a best practice statement Oct. 26 on behalf of the ATA Retail Council:

Industry Best Practice Statement

To maximize annual sales and margins for all sectors of the archery and bowhunting industry, the ATA Retail Council, the Archery Range and Retailers Organization (ARRO), and the National Archery Buyers Association (NABA) support the release of new products in January. These groups want manufacturers to know that retailers prefer to buy and take delivery on the latest archery products at the ATA Trade Show, ARRO and NABA shows starting in 2017 for as many products as possible. They want that request to cover all archery products by January 2018.

The statement above is supported by six “Best Practice Rationales.” Each week we’ll review each rationale via Q&As with retailers, and study the challenges of introducing products in the fourth quarter. If you missed last week’s look at Rationale No. 1, check it out here.


Best Practice Rationale 2

“Advertising new products during the fourth quarter creates excitement among customers, yet these customers cannot find those products in stores.”

Manufacturers drive impulse buyers into archery stores through product-launch promotions. But when customers show up, shop managers must tell them the bows aren’t available. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

RETAILER Q&A

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?

Wayne Piersol
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?

Piersol:
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.

Peter Gussie
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.

Gary Kinard
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 info@archerytrade.org.

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.

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