11 Tips for Improving Your Archery Shop

Become the talk of the town with these 11 tips to spruce up your archery shop.

11 Tips for Improving Your Archery Shop

I travel outside of Wisconsin several times annually for hunts and trade shows. I also leave my hometown to visit other Badger State cities on short getaways or to take my wife shopping. Occasionally, during my travels, I will stop at archery shops as part of my writing duties.

I’ve seen some sharp shops. Others, not so much. Some put off a musty smell, were covered in dust and/or had outdated merchandise. For a few more-hidden stores, it took a trained eye just to spot their storefronts.

Upon entry, though, a warm greeting followed by a “How can I help you?” would often come from somewhere behind a cluttered workbench. Often, the customer service these shops offer has that down-to-earth, make-sure-you’re-happy nuance, but that alone doesn’t make me or most customers hang around, much less make a purchase.

Atmosphere is important. Give me a clean, well-lit, fresh-smelling, easy-to-find, up-to-date store run by the same friendly shopkeepers I mentioned above, and I’ll gladly peruse merchandise, visit with the staff or admire the shooting range. Those elements make it a fun, exciting place to be. Obviously, not all archery consumers have my high standards, but many do. Further, even folks who pay little attention to details would likely visit more often and stay longer, if the atmosphere was brighter and more exciting.

Following is a list of 11 ideas to make your shop THE place to be. Let’s review.

1. Rebrand your store and develop brand recognition.

Your logo is your brand. Intuitively, every day consumers who drive by your store, whether they realize it or not, associate your logo — if you have one — with feelings. The question is, what chord(s) does your logo, or lack thereof, evoke from your customers?

If you don’t have an actual, factual logo or your existing one is dated, you could probably benefit from rebranding with a new logo. Examine your current logo and compare it with others. Don’t study other archery retailers’ logos only; look at any and every logo you can put your eyes on.

You’ll likely encounter logos you recognize. Pay close attention to those, evaluating why you know them and the feelings they trigger. Perhaps you associate trust with the mark, or maybe it conjures up feelings of distrust based on some type of poor experience(s). Now, compare them against your logo. How does it measure up? Is it outdated or missing something important? Does it share like attributes of the logos you studied that are tied to trustworthy brands?

I believe a powerful approach to updating a logo is to involve a couple of your closest customers, and maybe one or two you don’t know as well. Invite them to collaborate with you. As a team, you’ll discuss the logo elements and attributes required to convey a positive message that accurately represents your business. Input from outside sources can be positive in developing an out-of-the-park, effective logo.

Next, meet with a graphic artist to discuss preliminary designs. Within a couple weeks, the designer should supply several proofs for you to review with your logo team. Further, don’t feel obligated to pick from the first round of proofs if you don’t like them. Give the designer feedback so they can tweak the designs.  

Whether you get a new logo or already have a nice, attractive one, how you use it matters. You want to develop brand recognition in the minds of as many consumers as possible. When they see your logo, you want them to associate it with your store and positive experiences in an instant.

To create brand recognition, put your logo in high-visibility places. Maybe that means creating a more prominent and attractive sign for your storefront. Incorporate it across all print, digital marketing and other promotional channels. Don’t buy a newspaper ad with your shop name in plain text, use your logo. Remember, brand recognition is the goal.

It’s important to wear uniforms so that customers can readily identify you. Further, develop brand recognition among consumers by putting your logo out there, like Music City Archery has done on the back wall of its shooting range.
It’s important to wear uniforms so that customers can readily identify you. Further, develop brand recognition among consumers by putting your logo out there, like Music City Archery has done on the back wall of its shooting range.

2. Build a social media presence.

Many shops are already on this bandwagon and doing it well. Others aren’t, and they’re missing opportunities to reach customers beyond the store’s brick-and-mortar confines. Social media surely doesn’t replace face-to-face interactions. Rather, it’s an alternate communication channel for you to connect with consumers, more frequently.

If you aren’t gaining traction or simply haven’t launched a social media campaign, let me offer a few tips that have helped me get positive results on Facebook. First, I incorporate a picture with every post. An interesting picture attracts attention, which causes viewers to pause and read. Hopefully, they’ll like the post, share it and comment on it. I often end my posts with a question to encourage engagement from my audience.

If I’m promoting an event, I’ll pay to boost the post. Boosting a post allows you to choose specific demographics, so your content reaches a larger and more specific target audience.

I post no more than twice daily. Posting too often can cause posts to go unnoticed. I also post at or near peak activity times. Several online sources I’ve read suggest 8 a.m., 12 p.m. (noon) and 8 p.m. I’ve had good results posting at these times.

I’m not going to pretend I know anything about the other social media channels like YouTube or Instagram. Don’t worry because many social media gurus share their secrets online.

3. Hire a cleaner.

Too busy to keep your shelves dusted, floor vacuumed and bathroom clean? Hire someone to do it. Nothing repulses shoppers like dusty packaging, grimy floors or a yellow toilet bowl.

Commercial cleaners often charge more, but if you hire a reputable one, the results will likely be worth the moola. If you’re on a budget, advertise your need in a local newspaper or shopping guide. Individuals looking to earn some side cash will likely contact you. Consider interviewing them or requesting references to gauge their experiences and qualifications. Alternatively, if their rate is reasonable, you could have them clean one time and then inspect the thoroughness of their work to determine if it meets your expectations.

A sparkling-clean store will attract shoppers and cause most to stay longer. That’s always a positive thing.

4. Reposition merchandise and displays.

When you come home and see your spouse’s vehicle in the driveway, you think nothing of it. It’s there every day. But, if you come home one day and find an unfamiliar car is parked in the driveway, it puts you on alert. Something has changed.

The same is true in retail merchandising. If you display a ground blind in the same location for 6 months, then most of your customers will have become so accustomed to it that they virtually ignore it. However, if you pull it down and set a brand new 3-D elk target in its place, most customers will notice the shift.

Repositioning merchandise implies that things are selling. It also gives you opportunities to highlight new arrivals or seasonal merchandise. Regular shifts will keep customers coming back frequently to see what’s new.

Customer service is a must, and a bright, exciting atmosphere is the perfect complement.
Customer service is a must, and a bright, exciting atmosphere is the perfect complement.

5. Repaint the walls.

Often, giving your store a facelift is as simple as a fresh coat of paint. Maybe the existing color is outdated or too dark. In any case, $25 can get you a decent gallon of paint. Choose an airy color to make the space appear larger than it actually is. Buy topnotch brushes and rollers for even coats.

Prepping before painting can be tedious, but ultimately worth it. Place drop cloths on the floor to catch spills, and tape trim and other permanent fixtures you don’t want to get paint on. Take your time while applying the first coat. Let it dry. If needed, follow up with a second coat.

6. Replace light bulbs.

Flickering light bulbs or low-wattage bulbs scream dingy and outdated. For a quick fix, upgrade your store’s light fixtures to more efficient LED bulbs. Choose bright white or daylight bulbs in the 3500-5000 K range to significantly brighten up your store and to more effectively highlight your merchandise.

7. Remove stagnant merchandise.

I believe dealers sit on outdated merchandise for two reasons: First, they feel they must make a certain profit margin. Second, they don’t really know what’s on their shelves or how long it’s been there.

Be observant. Old merchandise with yellowed packaging tells your customers that you aren’t selling much merchandise, and it diminishes their reasons to stop by your store. Plus, it makes your retail pegs and shelving less enticing.

Strike outdated package barcodes with a red marker and purge the system. Have a blowout sale. Sell outdated stuff at or just above cost. In some cases, you might even lose a buck or two just to sell something. So be it. That’s better than wasting precious space and creating a distasteful appearance.

8. Create an entertainment space.

People will stay longer where they feel comfortable. Think about customers who stop in with their spouses and/or children. If kids have nothing to entertain them, or a spouse isn’t interested in archery or hunting, they’ll often rush your customer. Consequently, they’ll forget something or end the shopping trip early.

A waiting area or entertainment space is a boon for your business. Start by choosing a location. I’d suggest keeping it away from the door so the temptation to leave early doesn’t strike. Of course, the waiting area should be easy to find; accessing it shouldn’t require negotiating through a dark hallway and into some dingy room. Outfit it with sufficient seating. I’m not talking about a free curbside couch littered with stains and animal fur. No, get nice furniture — maybe a couch and two comfortable chairs — that cleans easily. A TV, Keurig and several kid’s toys complete the ensemble.

A bored child or spouse can rush your customer to end their shopping trip early. Provide a nice entertainment space of one fashion or another to keep non-shoppers occupied, giving you more time with your prospect.
A bored child or spouse can rush your customer to end their shopping trip early. Provide a nice entertainment space of one fashion or another to keep non-shoppers occupied, giving you more time with your prospect.

9. Wear tasteful uniforms.

I suggest being flexible here. Bow companies are sometimes willing to provide shooter jerseys gratis or at reduced rates. They benefit because it’s free advertising. Any type of recognizable uniform will make you appear more professional. Sew names onto them so that customers can connect names with faces.

10. Jazz up your storefront.

If possible, shrubbery and landscaping rocks can transform a drab storefront. Showy manufacturer banners can also jazz things up.

If your blacktop parking lot is faded and packed with potholes, have it repaired and sealed jet black so it looks new again. Do what it takes to make your storefront clean, bright and inviting. It’ll attract more customers.

11. Host events.

Draw folks to your store with free seminars — elk calling, bowhunting turkeys, intro to archery, etc. Hold “fun shoots” where anyone and everyone is welcome to attend and shoot free or at a reduced rate. Paid birthday parties with Genesis bows or Archery Tag can expose kids to archery who may not otherwise experience it. In turn, they could become customers.

A Brighter Future Awaits

You’re probably overwhelmed by the time and expenses needed to pull off these 11 tips. I understand. Investing thousands of dollars all at once seems ridiculous if you’re already battling just to make ends meet. You’re right; it is ridiculous.

Good news! You don’t have to tackle all 11 this year. Look ahead, set some goals and make yearly projections for what you hope to accomplish over the next 5 years. And if you’re low on funds, cherry-pick the affordable and less time-intensive tips I’ve outlined here. Paint a bright future for your store and make it THE place to be.


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