Grow archery

The Market is Changing. This Program is the Fix.

By offering equipment that's tailored to the needs of women, youth and newer archers, shops can take advantage of pop culture excitement around archery and bowhunting
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Jackie Holbrook

Do women really like pink camo? Is there a target that’s better for youth archers? What’s the best beginner bowfishing setup?

Designing the right archery and bowhunting gear can be a challenge for manufacturers, especially when it comes to creating products for women and youth archers, which are growing in number. In 2015, 34 percent of archers were female, meaning manufacturers and retailers are missing out on a big chunk of change if the right products aren’t on the market. Luckily, the ATA is here to help. The goal of ATA’s Archery Equipment Development Program is simple – connect manufacturers and customers. AEDP uses field testers to review manufacturers’ products. The field testers are youth, women and beginning archers.

ATA carefully selects field testers from its many partners including summer-camp programs, parks and recreation groups and archery range operators. Field testers review the products in an unbiased way and provide feedback to ATA through surveys. This information remains confidential and summaries are provided to the manufacturers. Upon receiving the results, manufacturers can use the feedback to market the product and improve its design.

Do women really like pink camo? Is there a target that’s better for youth archers? What’s the best beginner bowfishing setup? The Archery Equipment Development Program aims to answer these questions, helping retailers and manufacturers to develop sustainable new markets. Photo Credit: Heather Koehl

AEDP has been underway for almost a year. Manufacturers that have taken part in the program say the feedback has been very helpful. Darton Archery submitted its Exciter bow, a product targeting youth and women. “We had great feedback from it,” said Ted Harpham, the sales manager for Darton Archery. “What we’ve done from the feedback that we got, we were able to target what we wanted to go forward with this year.”

Field testers also reviewed Accubow. “I think our feedback was mostly 9’s out of 10’s,” said Matt Pell, Accubow’s CEO. Field testers found Accubow to be helpful during group instructions and appeal to a wide-range of users. “Our goal from day one has always been to cater to all groups,” said Pell.

Several of the AEDP-tested products are on display in the Member Services Area. Retailers are encouraged to stop by and see what products were tested, and see what field testers had to say. Retailers can also learn how to become product testers and get the opportunity to speak with manufacturers about their product needs.

Manufacturers should also swing by the AEDP area in MSA to learn more about how to get their products tested and how that can lead to improved marketing strategy, product improvements and the development of new products.

Manufacturers can also contact Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s director of bowhunting and archery programs, at (301) 580-1238 or Jennifermazur@archerytrade.org.

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