Photo: John Hafner
We asked retailers around the country about their shop’s bow-pricing policies and if they offer discounts.
Elk Den Pro Shop / Plains, Montana
We usually sticker bows at the full MSRP, and we hold fairly tight on that because manufacturers commonly have MAP pricing we must abide by in order to maintain dealership status. We’re a Western, small-town dealer, and we don’t have many brick-and-mortar competitors, so we’re fortunate that we can ask MSRP and usually get it. In contrast, I’ve heard that eastern and midwestern dealers who have multiple nearby competitors are selling bows at MAP pricing.
With MSRPs, we know that we have a little room to budge, if necessary. But I find the best approach is to give customers something free or a percentage discount when they purchase a bow and complete accessory package. If a customer spends $1,800 on a bow package, that’s a lot of money, and we’ll run incentives for such purchases — maybe it’s a dozen free arrows or two free packs of broadheads.
Discount or freebie continuity between customers is important, too, and we avoid showing favoritism by dating our offers. For example, we may run a special where purchasing a Hoyt Carbon REDWRX with accessories gets you a free half-dozen arrows. I believe that when you put a timeframe on your offer, customers will feel they’re all being treated equally. And if someone does complain — and someone will — we’ll throw in a hat with our logo or something else that’s inexpensive. This adds value to lesser purchases to keep customers content.
Another selling point for our MSRP bow pricing is our free set-up labor. If someone purchases a bow elsewhere and brings it to our shop to be set up, we charge our $45/hour labor fee. However, we waive that fee for customers who purchase bows from us. It’s a value-add that costs only our time, so we sell that really hard.
Eric Roberson & Jonathan Heath
Greenville Marine Outdoor Shop / Greenville, North Carolina
Let’s face it: most archery shops are in areas where bow pricing is highly competitive from shop to shop. We all want to get the sale, but fortunately manufacturers set MAP pricing on bows, which mostly prevents one shop from grossly undercutting another on pricing. That way, we all get our piece of the pie.
Some customers are loyal and don’t try to negotiate a discount, but customers who’re simply calling around to find the best deal want to know our bottom dollar. The owner will often negotiate a discount of 5 to 10 percent when a customer purchases the bow and all accessories from our shop. The customer gets a “deal,” and we’re still able to turn a nice profit. Everyone wins.
When someone calls to ask our pricing on a particular bow then proceeds to say they can get it $15 cheaper at Fill-in-the-Blank Archery, we’d love to tell them to kick rocks, but you simply can’t act that way or you’ll never win that customer over. Instead, we do our best to sell our free set-up offered with bows purchased from our store. We make sure customers know that we’ll charge them our hourly rate to set up a bow that was purchased elsewhere.
Plus, we really emphasize and re-emphasize our customer service. We take great care of folks who purchase bows from us. No bow leaves our store until it’s appropriately fitted to the customer, set up and tuned properly, and the customer is completely satisfied with everything. To boot, we handle simple fixes like serving separations or twisted peeps down the road free of charge as a value-add for those who purchase bows from us. Customers recognize those efforts, and we get lots of repeat business because of them.
Butch’s Archery / Clintonville, Wisconsin
Our store policy coincides with MAP pricing. Folks can easily call a dozen different shops in one day, and if all shops follow MAP pricing, it’s easier for each shop to build a loyal customer base.
If a customer complains that you won’t sell them a bow below MAP pricing, you must educate them that bow manufacturers set the MAP pricing as a policy that dealers must follow. In other words, they must understand that stores who sell below MAP are dishonest and likely won’t be around long.
If a repeat or cash-paying customer purchases a bow and full accessory package, we’ll generally cut a discount on the accessory package. Of course, cash purchases help us avoid credit-card fees, which are usually around 3 percent.
When we have a potential bow buyer on the phone, we really try to sell our customer service. We have a full-service shop complete with a range, and we go above and beyond to service our customers. We even fill out and submit the warranty registration for our bow-buying customers, and if they need little tweaks within a reasonable amount of time after the purchase, we generally handle those at no charge. One example is waxing a bowstring. And when a customer sees me wax their bowstring, they usually purchase a tube of wax.
When you realize a customer is going to purchase a bow elsewhere for any given reason, it’s easy to become frustrated, but you must handle the conversation admirably to avoid losing that customer for good. Be polite and offer to help them in any way possible. You might eventually win them over.