Clearance Pricing Tips for Archery Dealers

We asked three veteran archery dealers: “How do you decide when to mark slow- or non-moving items with clearance pricing?” Here’s what they had to say.

Clearance Pricing Tips for Archery Dealers

Photo by John Hafner

Kevin Amos

Bigfoot Archery Leather & Lace, Morton, Washington

If a product is gathering dust and hasn’t moved in a year, I know it’s time to move it out. Smaller items become door prizes. With accessories, I sometimes throw them in with a bow sale. I don’t discount bows themselves because I really believe that it floods the market and robs you of full-priced sales. We stick to our guns on that. Of course, I know I need to offer some incentive if a customer is buying last year’s bow. I’ll include a free sweatshirt or other merchandise that isn’t moving with that bow sale.

When I mark merchandise with clearance pricing, I’m mindful that we have a 30-40 percent markup. That being said, I’ll begin by marking the item down 10 percent, possibly 20, to blow it out. I use Facebook to inform customers about clearance items that we’re blowing out, and that has been effective.

I have a small store of only 3,000 square feet, and half of it is a shooting range. I’m somewhat limited, but I do move clearance items to a different part of the store or display them on a clearance rack. If not, I’ll highlight the item with bright tags. I also take good pictures and then post them to Facebook.

Anything that I’m ready to cut ties with I usually take to an archery club and allow them to distribute as a door prize during a shoot. Anything I donate becomes a tax write-off. Someone gets a free item, the club is viewed positively for giving away the item, and I get a tax benefit. Everyone wins just a little bit.

Over the years, you learn to be more effective in purchasing so you aren’t left with lots of non-moving merchandise. My strategy with new products is to buy conservatively. Sometimes that has bitten me when the products sell out quickly and I wish that I had ordered heavier. But, it also means I don’t have heaps of clearance merchandise to deal with. I try to be cautious with my purchasing, because I know that slow-moving or non-moving merchandise can be a burden.


Gabe Lucero

Red Rock Archery, Grand Junction, Colorado

When new products start coming out, I usually begin evaluating what’s left on the floor. A lot of it is used for kids programs. We support our local archery club and 4-H. If they don’t have equipment or could use an update, I’ll get them set up.

With items that we’re selling on clearance, I usually mark them down to cost or 10 percent above. We leave most items where they’re at and just mark them down, but we also have a 4-by-8-foot pegboard display that we use to highlight clearance items. We don’t move items online because we have lots of customers come through our store. I’m sure that it would be beneficial to utilize social media to help move merchandise, but doing it in-house is working out well.

There are ways to avoid being left with tons of archery merchandise. Starting out, I usually ordered through a distributor so that I can buy smaller quantities and avoid going overboard with minimum orders direct through manufacturers. I’ve been in business a long time, and I remember that it took years to learn the archery market and what the best things are to sell. Ordering conservatively when you’re in doubt is generally wise.

Also, you sometimes have to go against the grain with popularity and advertising. It all depends on the product and how much we think we can move in our store. Selling highly advertised products isn’t the best thing if the product isn’t great. Going against the grain sometimes means choosing a less-popular brand or product that truly works and that I believe in.


Shayne Edwards

Southwestern Archery, Shipman, Illinois

Typically, I mark something down if I haven’t had to restock it in several months. Obviously, it’s a little bit different during the slow times of the year when certain merchandise isn’t really selling. It also depends on the particular item.

With compound bows, I don’t touch my pricing unless I have a handful of year-old new bows in stock. In that case, I might discount them by $50-$100 to help move them out. I try really hard not to have a bunch of last year’s bows in stock when the new models arrive, though.

My store is organized by product categories. I try to keep it that way even when I mark items with clearance pricing. I normally utilize some brighter signage to highlight the items. If I have a lot of items to move, I might move some of them up by the front counter. Most times, though, I leave the items where they are.

Any time I have a product that’s really not moving, even with clearance pricing, I’ll try to move it online rather than donate it. If I donate an item, I want it to be extremely useful and not just something that will be tossed in a closet and forgotten. An item that hasn’t moved for a long time in my store is usually something that isn’t terribly useful, so I’ll usually put it online and try to recoup whatever costs I can.


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