Help Archery Customers Find Products for Every Stage of Life

The needs of bowhunters change as they age. Adapt your sales strategy to fit their archery needs, and you’ll probably sell more products.

Help Archery Customers Find Products for Every Stage of Life

Not all bowhunters have the same equipment needs. And an individual’s needs often change as they grow older and gain experience.

No matter how old you are, you likely have a different approach to bowhunting than those who are much younger or older than you. Why? Because a person’s physical abilities, time commitments and financial status will change over time. All those things determine how someone bowhunts.

Most teens and 20-something bowhunters are in the best physical shape of their life and have more time to commit to bowhunting. But they’re usually strapped for cash. People in their 30s, 40s and 50s usually get married, have kids and deal with a demanding work schedule. They have money and are still physically able to bowhunt, but their time afield is often limited. The 60-plus crowd is either retired or nearing retirement, and their family is expanding as grandkids enter the equation. They usually have more free time and money, but their scouting missions shorten and deep-woods hunts become rarer as they fight aches and pains.

These life changes affect people’s mindset toward equipment and outdoor recreation. Charlie Giles, 59, and his son Travis Giles, 36, of Sandersville, Georgia, talked about these changes and how money and life events helped guide their spending habits and thoughts about bowhunting.


Spending Strategically

Travis arrowed his first deer when he was seven. While he was young, his dad paid for all his gear. Travis was allowed to get only the necessities, and if he wanted something unique or special, he had to save his money and buy it himself. He shot competitively in his late teens and had sponsors provide some items. He also worked at an archery shop and received gear discounts. As Travis aged and matured, his responsibilities grew and hunting purchases took a back seat to gas, groceries, bills, family entertainment and home repairs.

“In my mid 20s, I wanted the newest things,” Travis said. “I spent all of my money on hunting stuff. Now, I hold on to items for a few years. I got wiser with my spending habits.”

The takeaway: As young adults start to navigate life, they become more money conscious. Coach them through buying decisions so they can get the best bang for their buck. Try to work with young people by offering a consignment program so they can sell their old stuff in your shop to get store credit. Be creative.


Caring About Comfort and Safety Comes Later

Although middle-aged folks spend carefully, they’re more likely to invest in things that make hunting more pleasant and enjoyable. They also care more about safety features for the sake of their families.

Travis has worn a harness since he started hunting thanks to his dad’s insistence, but his relationship with safety equipment changed as he aged. Now he wears a harness because it’s irresponsible not to, and because his family relies on him and expects him to return home.

The takeaway: Harnesses might be a tough sell for younger audiences, so you need to approach the subject strategically. Providing the proper motivation, reason or justification for buying a product goes a long way.


Old Dog, New Tricks?

Some older folks tend to be stubborn, but they’ll typically buy a product if it makes their life easier. Think lighter treestands or easy-to-see pins.

“I’m not a bandwagon person, but if I see something that makes sense, I’m willing to try it,” Travis said. “I shoot all kinds of broadheads. My dad still shoots a 100-grain Muzzy — and has for a long time. When I ask if he wants to try another broadhead. He’ll say, ‘Why would I want to try something different? I’ve been shooting these for x-number of years, and they work flawlessly. Why do you want to fix something that’s not broke?’”

The takeaway: Channel your time and energy into productive conversations. Instead of trying to verbally convince an older bowhunter to try a product, host a product demo day for them to test-drive items.

Young bowhunters are more likely to purchase hang-on treestands and hike deep into public lands.
Young bowhunters are more likely to purchase hang-on treestands and hike deep into public lands.

Focus On Family

Both Charlie and Travis wanted to involve their families in bowhunting so they could spend more time together. Charlie included Travis when he was young, and Travis is trying to pass the tradition on to his two daughters, ages 16 and 12, and eventually his son, who’s 2. Travis said the best part about hunting is having his wife, kids and other family members go.

“When you’re passionate about it and you have a family, deep down inside, you want them to love it as much as you,” Travis said. “And when you see them enjoy it, you get to see it come full circle.”

Travis outfitted his daughters with used equipment because he wasn’t sure whether they’d like it. He said the wide range of adjustable features on bows nowadays is great because someone can use the bows he got, even if it’s not his daughters. He also bought his wife a new setup.

The takeaway: If you’re working with families and new hunters, recognize they probably don’t need the most expensive options to start. Focus on value and durability. Also, recommend family friendly products such as double ladder stands and ground blinds.


Aging Hunters Want Light, Easy-to-Use Gear

A big, unavoidable difference between young and old hunters is their physical abilities. Travis recalls toting heavy steel stands everywhere he went 10 years ago, but now he looks for lightweight stands, especially when his arms are full of extra gear for his kids.

Charlie said the technology for bows, accessories and products is great, especially for older folks, compared with what was on the market when he was a kid. Thankfully he’s still able to bowhunt, despite shoulder problems. He foresees himself using ladder stands or ground blinds more in the future for safety and convenience.

The takeaway: Recommend products that make hunting easier and accessible for older folks, including crossbows and ground blinds. You can mention how both products are great for small, fidgety grandkids, too. It’s best to stock these products to help pique interest. Showing someone a product and demonstrating its features is more enticing than telling them you can order it.


Final Thoughts

Get to know your customer and what’s happening in their life so you can recommend better products. Remember, getting to know customers means asking questions, letting them talk and listening to their story and needs. Be sure to tweak your sales pitch to fit each archery customer.

A lot of data supports the Giles family’s personal bowhunting experiences. ATA’s article “Survey Results: Bow Preferences and Buying Habits for Three Generations” highlights similar information. Visit for more helpful business insight.

Photos courtesy of Archery Trade Association


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