Recently there have been a lot of reports and chatter about the state of the firearms industry. First you hear that the industry is in the toilet and then the next report tells you it’s never been better. So which is it?
This post was written by Scott Drzonsc.
To be honest, I would say the answer is both! The conflicting reports seem to be time-specific; as in pre or post election. If I wrote this article 3-4 months ago, I would report a “shaky at best” industry. Now, I would report the market has stabilized and is in an upward growing trend.
So what is really happening? In my opinion, I think we are seeing a market correction, somewhat like what we see in the stock market or the housing industry. The strong business-minded survive, and the weak struggle. What are YOU doing as a business owner to adapt and evolve to fit the current firearms market?
As National Sales Manager at Gearfire, I get the privilege of seeing and hearing what is happening in all 50 states during my interactions with dealers. In this opinion piece, I will give you an insight into what I hear and see at Gearfire, within our network.
What are Gearfire’s successful dealers incorporating into their business?
Evolving to match the current buying market
Who is looking to purchase firearms today?
I hear from dealers that there is a major movement in women who are purchasing firearms, with the majority being first-time buyers. Is your store women-friendly? Other segments that are growing are folks that are looking for personal protection and those who want to have fun shooting at the local range.
What type of firearms are they looking to purchase?
I can tell you this, semi-automatic handguns are most often searched on our network when it comes to page views, and by a large percentage. With many discounts available from distributors and manufacturers currently, now is the time to feature some semi-automatic handguns on your website. Strike while the iron is hot!
Give your customers what they are looking for! (Gearfire tip) Look at your web traffic matrix on the dealer portal of your website. This will provide insight into what your visitors are looking at the most. If you need help finding or using this tool, contact your dedicated Account Manager at Gearfire.
How are you marketing to the growing segments of buyers just mentioned?
Marketing is a key component of being successful in our current industry. The most successful dealers are those who market heavily to their local community. When someone in town asks where the best place to buy a firearm is, would your business be mentioned?
Get involved with your local community, and offer them your services. Training or CCW classes will give buyers more confidence, and legitimize your business within your community. Become the local “go-to” dealer. (Gearfire tip) Offering a free safety class to first-time (possibly women) firearm buyers is a HUGE incentive to your customers.
What additional services or do you provide to your customers? Do you have a gunsmith in-store? Are you offering training/safety classes? Do you have a range? What additional customer service do you offer to a new or existing customer?
There is a large trend of dealers that offer additional services to their customers on the Gearfire network. For example, offer a free gun cleaning demonstration to a new firearm customer or your most loyal customers. This can help increase foot-traffic in your store.
Providing additional services to current and new customers will also keep them loyal, and help expand your brand. Plus, it may help you to up-sell ammo and accessories to outfit their new firearm purchase. Increase your foot-traffic and show them a special level of customer service.
What separates you from your competition?
Dealers who are successful on the Gearfire network differentiate themselves from their local competition. How do they do this? They have something that they are great at, or specialize in. Then they market and promote whatever that specialty is!
One specific dealer on the Gearfire network specializes in Cerakoting. They promote that they are the “best”, and offer the latest and greatest Cerakoting machine available in the industry. AND, they differentiate themselves by promoting the Cerakoting service on their Gearfire website, as well utilizing social media by posting finished Cerakote product pictures on Facebook.
This is just one of the examples from our network that demonstrates differentiation when dealing with competition in your local community. Think about what you are great at, run with it and own it in your store!
Thank you for taking the time to read my Gearfire “insights”, and I hope that you find this helpful. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a message in the comments box.