Get Good Instruments
& Trust Them

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As a relatively new pilot, I’ve learned quickly your aircraft instruments are your best friends. They can get you out of a jam and alert you to an issue so you have more time to react and adjust.

As the saying goes, “Every takeoff is optional, every landing is mandatory.”

And when you’re in flight, your instruments (and the data and feedback they provide) help assure when a landing comes due, you’ll be ready — and you can make it with confidence.

I also learned during simulated cloud flying using “instrument flight rules,” if you aren’t relying on the instruments, you’re going to be in big, big trouble. Anyone who has ever driven through extremely foggy conditions has some idea, but when you don’t have the ground for at least some physical reference, it’s a whole new world. I have gained great respect for the commercial airline pilots taking me to and from shooting industry events across the U.S. It’s obvious: The plane’s instruments are literally there to save your life.

Sales & Data Provide Reference Point

This analogy carries to the shooting sports business world almost perfectly. If you’re just flying by the seat of your pants and aren’t using sales data and information to help guide your business decisions, then you’re probably — more often than not — flying through the clouds with no instruments.

This is why the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) created the SCOPE data analytics program. It’s why the SCOPE team has worked so hard over the past four years to collect, compile and create reports that are now being made available to retailers who want to share store transaction data while also learning from hundreds of other stores across the country.

If you aren’t using sales data and information to help guide your business decisions, then you’re probably flyin through the clouds with no instruments.

This “industry-owned” and “distributor-led” program continues to grow in influence and capability.
NASGW started with the collection of nearly 20 distributor data feeds, eager to understand and prove data could make an impact. Plus, the team wanted to make sure they would “get right” the herculean task of cleaning and normalizing data from across the industry.

No one really understood there are literally hundreds of ways to describe the EXACT SAME firearm. Now extrapolate this amount of information times hundreds of thousands of products. Making sure the data collected is usable was priority number one. Making sure it was aggregated to allow anonymity for all who supply the data was a close second.

Because of NASGW’s position in the industry, right smack dab between the suppliers and the retailers, it makes the organization the perfect collector of the information and the best source for sharing it, both up and down the sales channel.

About two years ago, after seeing great potential in the distributor data being collected, efforts began in earnest to also collect retail data. This would give the SCOPE program the ability to “look inside” the entire shooting sports industry sales channel. The SCOPE suite of tools developed into the lifesaving instruments you can trust for making smart, data-driven decisions.

SCOPE CLX: Retail Sales Tool

With the help of software partners, support from other industry associations and industry point-of-sale partners, NASGW is now bringing the retail data component of our industry clearly into focus.

“It was a natural transition for us at Celerant,” said Michele Salerno, director of marketing and assistant VP at Celerant Technology Corporation, one of SCOPE’s largest point-of-sale partners. “We had partnered very closely with the AcuSport team [the former distributor and former owner of the CLX program] and helped originally initiate their CLX — which significantly reduced the development needed on our end.”

April 2021, NASGW publicly launched the SCOPE CLX retail data tool. The tool is now collecting data from hundreds of stores and as the months go on, more and more retailers will be added, creating an even clearer picture of what’s happening, as it happens, in the industry.

Even though the CLX retail data effort is still in its initial growth period, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Manufacturers are exceptionally appreciative of the accuracy standards implemented with the data and as we expected, all partners appreciate the anonymous, aggregated information. Celerant’s retail clients, for example, don’t allow the sharing of their data without permission. But after focus groups and conversations with their subscribers, Celerant said dealers are anxious to take part and are already seeing value in the benchmark reports they receive.

USING industry-wide data to guide buying decisions can only help dealers be more competitive.

Michele Salerno Director Marketing & Assistant VP Celerant Technology Corporation

“Dealers tend to have limited visibility into what is selling — or not — at other gun shops across the country,” said Salerno. “Having access to this data helps them make better buying decisions. Using industry-wide data to guide buying decisions can only help dealers be more competitive.”

The timeliness of the data is also critical, Salerno added, because NASGW is turning back information to retailers very rapidly so they’re able to see the trends quickly. They don’t have to wait for months to get access to reports that are already out of date before they even arrive.

Salerno shared Celerant feels so strongly about the partnership with NASGW, they’ll soon be adding NASGW SCOPE dashboards right into their software offering, meaning retailers will see the data directly from the Celerant platform.

Several other industry point-of-sale software providers are working with NASGW on this initiative and will soon be offering solutions and access to their network of retail partners as well. AIM, EPICOR, BLUEDOG and Orchid point-of-sale systems are all in various stages of integration with the data team at NASGW.

If you want to be at the forefront of this program and make sales data a critical aspect of your business decision-making process, reach out to your POS provider and ask them to support a connection to SCOPE.

Clear Skies Ahead

The charts and graphs included in the online version of this article, demonstrating the current firearms, ammunition and optics markets, are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s available for those participating in this industry initiative.

This is what makes this project so special — the fact SCOPE is gaining partners and believers every single day. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been a little like flying through a cloud at times, but the cloud is behind us and the future for SCOPE and its potential impact on the industry is looking bright.

To learn more about the SCOPE program and how to put these data tools and instruments to work for your company, visit nasgwscope.org. There, you can get more information, view a webinar on the SCOPE CLX launch and see a full list of partners.