We asked the following question to three veteran archery shop owners from across the country: So far in 2018, are most customers purchasing a new bow or just upgrading accessories on their existing bow?
Check out what they had to say below.
Last year, our bow sales were OK, but most customers upgraded accessories for their existing bows. For that reason, we are expecting a serious climb in new bow sales this year. In fact, I’m looking for as much as a 15 to 20 percent increase.
We’ve sold some new bows already this year, but we haven’t seen the peak yet. We’re getting hammered almost daily with questions about the new bows, and guys and gals are stopping in to test them out. We carry Elite and now Bowtech. The Bowtech line has generated tons of interest this year, and I really look for that to be our top-selling brand. The Bowtech brand has a strong following in this area.
For the most part, mid-priced bows seem to really outsell the high-end bows. It’s been that way for us for the past 2 to 3 years. It’s difficult for most folks to swallow a $1,000 bill for a bare bow. Rather than buy a high-priced bow, lots of folks choose something in the $500 to $700 range, then buy higher-end accessories. I work to put customers into the best equipment they can afford. And I make approximately the same profit margin on a mid-priced bow as I do on a high-end bow.
Now, when someone is contemplating a new bow purchase versus upgrading the accessories on their existing bow, I ask several questions to learn about their individual situation. I find out how old their current bow is, and whether they have a budget for a new bow. I simply won’t take advantage of anyone. I want people to buy what they can afford. Our store thrives on repeat customers, so if I was to be a pushy salesman and get people to buy a new bow they can’t afford, chances are they won’t come back here. In a situation like that, everyone loses.
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
It appears that our customers are mostly going the new bow route. We sold a lot of bows last year, and we see that trend continuing this year. We’ve seen crossbow sales dip a little bit, and as a result, customers are buying more vertical bows again.
If someone is choosing between buying a new bow or just upgrading their accessories, I let them shoot one of the new bows to try it out. It’s often beneficial to let them shoot their bow next to a new one.
Another thing that helps us sell more bows is our layaway program. The bow stays at the shop here, and they can come shoot it at the shop and make payments on it until they own it. When it’s paid in full, they can take it home. We don’t charge interest, either. As long as they’re putting in effort and making payments, I’m fine with that. The layaway program has been a big hit.
Guys in their 40s and 50s account for most of our new bow sales. They seem to have a little more money to buy the high-end bows. But, we do sell lots of bows across the board to all customer categories, including youth. We run kids’ programs, and the Diamond Atomic practically flies off the shelf. I order in 10 to 20 at a time just to keep up. We currently have 150 kids in our youth league right now.
The $500 to $700 bare-bow price range seems to be the hottest. In particular, we sell a lot of the Mission Hype DTX. Our next most popular is the Mathews TRIAX. That bow has generated tons of interest and sales already this year. The third most popular is the Hoyt Carbon RX-1. However, our central-Wisconsin store location is conducive to Mathews and Mission sales.
Although our bow sales have been solid so far, we always sell the most bows, by far, in August during the pre-season rush. We expect to do very well again this coming August.
Hole ‘N’ Hide Outfitters
Without question, more customers are purchasing a new bow this year. We’re a Hoyt dealer, and the Carbon RX-1 is certainly our best-seller this year. Lots of folks are calling about it, kicking tires and stopping by to test-shoot it. It’s getting lots of traction. High-end bow sales are great. The value-priced Hoyt PowerMax is also selling very well for us. In fact, we probably sell more of those than any other bow as a whole.
We’re also selling lots of new accessories with new bow purchases. I’d say upwards of 55 percent of our new-bow buyers are buying all new accessories. And we don’t really wheel and deal on pricing — what you see is what you get. But we do spend a solid 1.5 to 2 hours setting up each bow and working with the customer to get it sighted-in.
Some of our new bow buyers are experts and need very little coaching/instruction, but we also get numerous beginners, and we spend the time it takes to get them started shooting properly so they enjoy it and shoot well. We also waive the set-up charge. There’s a lot of value in that.