You’ve got to look at the firearms like how Hooter’s uses their lovely girls. The girls are what brings the guys in, they are not making any money from the girls themselves. Stay with me here. You have a store full of Merch. For most Gun Stores most everything else in that store is a higher Margin item than most every gun you have in inventory.
I’ve witnessed the fall of some very good stores because they only Sold the guns. Oh, they had everything else for Sales, but they only Sold the guns. Watch that profit margin. Keep an eye on the Cost.
Make your Gun Displays as attractive as possible. Put some bright sales tags on some of those guns and make the whole thing a great presentation. Get INTERESTING GUNS, guns that are new and different and highlight those.
Different is Cool in the industry now… Traditional Classics are always good – but they are not what Shooter 2.0 cares about. Shooter 2.0 doesn’t know the history of Winchester and doesn’t care. Them seeing it on the shelf isn’t going to make them interested either. Come on, they are on their smart phones pulling down videos of the new guns coming out, and that’s what they are wanting to look at.
Now back to the rest of your Merch. This is where you need to be making your money. Concentrate on making those sales. Take a look at your Knife Case. Knives are great because they are a lot cheaper than guns to buy and we still don’t have to do a 4473 on a blade. You can move a lot of Edged Inventory if you put some effort into them. In too many stores, the knife counter is an afterthought. Just in case a customer needs a pocket knife. That’s not the way to do them. To do knives right, you got to have a good display that will pull a customer over to it. That gets them looking at it.
Now to really sell them, you gotta have product knowledge. Either you or your Sales Team really need to know the details on these knives so they can actually talk shop instead of saying a knife is COOL. They need to explain why it’s cool. Task them on this. It’s part of their Job to be Product Experts. Test them on this.
Now move that to other areas of products. Holsters. Hunting Calls. Lubricants. Your Sales team need to become Product Experts on everything in the store. I’m not talking about just having Opinions on everything… we all have that already and quite often that’s the problem. Product Experts though are different. They need to be able to answer questions about differences between brands, pros and cons of each, and they need to be able to talk about applications where one brand or item is better suited to the customer’s requirement.
Now let’s talk about Cool.
Firearms Retailers need to understand that they are not in Retailing Necessity Items. Food, Shelter, Hooter’s Girls… These are necessities in life… a 4th gun isn’t a necessity, you don’t Need it. It’s a Want. So what you the Retailer needs to do is make that Want become a Need. The entire country is built on WANT. This is why Chevy can sell a $78,000 Camaro and have the entire production run sell out in the first week. Because of WANT. To the American Buyer, price doesn’t matter when the WANT is high enough. That Cool Factor in the Gun Industry is what really drives it. You have got to make your Customer WANT… no… LUST after that gun you want to sell. Or Car, or Boat, or Tent, or whatever it is you are selling it. You do that by giving them a little taste.
Always – put the gun in their hands.
Never – take it out of their hands before they give it back… unless they are doing something really stupid.
Let them take a Selfie with it. Let them point it – In a Safe Direction. Let them dry fire it. Once. Speaking of Safe Directions… Put up a DRY FIRE TARGET. High up and in a safe direction so customers have something to point at. But let the customer get a feel for how cool that thing is and let that WANT start to boil.
I’ve been in some gun stores that don’t have a layaway program. Not having one is a mistake. Another mistake is making it too rigid.
20% Down for 90 Days. Any payments accepted during that term. 5 bucks here, 100 bucks there… doesn’t matter. The 20% Down is non-refundable if they default. Keep it easy. WORK WITH THEM. If it’s passed 90 days, but they have been consistently coming in and handing you dollars… Let them keep doing that. That’s putting money in your Till. You’ll keep customers that way and help sales down the road. Because you want that customer to say that your gun store is the one to go to because you guys are awesome.
That’s not a reputation that many gun stores have. And if you have it, it’s one that’s easy to lose.
Build the Want.