Get Sound Earnings From Safety Products
By Pat Covert
The previous administration brought in millions of new gun buyers and now (with less emphasis on gun control) many shooters are turning their attention to recreational activities from hunting to sport shooting. With these shifts in firearms users’ interests comes a need for safety accessories, like eye and ear protection, and secure ways to store their firearms. Are you getting your share of this large and lucrative market?
Garner Secondary Sales
Ear protection is, and should be, an integral part of the prudent shooter’s regimen — and the wise retailer’s firearms accessory sales program. It’s a great opportunity to garner secondary sales. We had a chance to get the perspective of two major ear protection-manufacturing representatives as to their hottest sellers in the retail arena.
Walker’s is a manufacturer whose sole mission has been providing ear protection for hunters and shooters for over 30 years.
“We provide an entire line of hearing protection from simple foam plugs to digital ear buds, as well as Bluetooth-enabled shooting muffs,” said Ben Smith, Walker’s director of sales and marketing. “Our broad line of products all have a focus on one feature first: safety.”
Walker’s Razor Electronic Muffs are a relatively new addition to the line, Smith shared, and have been very popular with consumers. The slim cup design, coupled with a strong NRR, makes them appealing to customers of all interest levels. Walker’s debuted Silencer Digital Ear buds in 2017, which have also generated a lot of excitement in the marketplace.
Decibullz is an up-and-coming manufacturer providing innovative hearing enhancement and protection custom molded to each individual customer’s ears.
“Our top sellers are standard earplugs and percussive filters for the shooting sports,” noted Decibullz Marketing Manager Clay Lyell. “Our goal in the firearms safety industry is to provide easy-to-use and effective hearing protection. We want users to feel excited about wearing hearing protection.”
Eye protection is a must for the conscientious shooter at the range or in the field. Savvy retailers know they can be a nice segment for padding the bottom line while encouraging responsible gun ownership.
Wiley X, now 30 years strong, was founded by a U.S. service veteran — who had the objective of making protective eyeware for military users and shooters. Ray Hill, director of corporate accounts and outdoor sales informs SI, “Wiley X’s entire adult line of eyewear meets or exceeds ANSI Z87.1-2010 safety standards for impact and optical clarity.”
So what’s sizzling with Wiley X sales? “Our top sellers consist of the Saber Advanced, WX Valor, WX Saint and Guard Advanced,” Hill noted. “The Saber Advanced is our most affordable model and offers great functionality from telescoping temples, tactical straps and an adjustable nose piece to various optional lens tints. The WX Valor, WX Saint and Guard Advanced are also top sellers due to their great half-frame designs — which are both functional and fashionable.”
Walker’s Silencer Ear Bud
Decibullz Percussive Filters
Educating shooters as to the importance of ear and eye protection is key to sales. “About 20 percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss, and this danger can negatively impact people’s lives,” Lyell explained. “We educate consumers through articles and statistics.”
“Teaching is very important to ensure the product is being used properly, but the most crucial part of the training aspect is communicating the need to use the product in the first place, which is often overlooked,” Smith stressed. “We offer a top-down approach by training our extensive network of Walker’s Sales Reps and Pro-Staff members to help communicate our efforts to our retailers and consumers, as well as many product demo/use videos via digital platforms and our social media pages as well.”
“Eye protection is so crucial — you only get one set of eyes to protect; education is key,” Hill advised. “Wiley X has always been focused on eye protection from the beginning, to ensure every model they bring to market is ANSI-safety rated. We speak to this within all of our collateral material, company website, nationally run commercials, point-of-purchase materials and marketing messages.”
Brick-and-mortar stores have a significant advantage over their online counterparts because customers can try out safety products before they purchase. Our three manufacturers agree the best way to turn a potential customer into a sure-fire buyer is letting them try out safety products in the store.
One of Wiley X’s key marketing strategies is offering retailers in-store displays. “With regard to merchandising, we offer various solutions — from branded custom LED lighted displays (floor and counter) to informative retail packaging that shows potential customers images of the product, what’s included in the kit and all the key associated specs and features of the product,” Hill shared.
“First and foremost, understanding the technology and features of Walker’s products is key to helping educate the consumer to make an informed decision as to which style is best suited for their needs,” Smith relayed. “If possible, a demo unit of the electronic muffs can go a long way in demonstrating the features and fit of Walker’s electronic muffs.”
“We recommend our retailers engage with customers on a one-on-one basis.” Lyell confirmed. “By having a personal conversation, the retailer can see what the customer needs and provide tailored product suggestions as well as discuss the importance of hearing protection in general.”
Dealers have the option to work with manufacturers for other forms of support. For example, many companies offer informative videos (which can be looped on in-store monitors) or other POP materials to help engage and educate customers as they peruse their safety options.
Keep in mind: Every firearms purchase in your store has the potential for secondary sales in safety products. Simply put, every firearms owner needs them. Eye and ear protection are just two segments of the lucrative firearms safety market you can fire up for additional sales. Other sales areas where retailers can zero in on profits include gunlocks and safes, magazine blockers, empty chamber and chamber indicators, and more. Is it time you protected your share of the profits?
Safety Product Innovations In 2017
By Jenna Buckley
Safety equipment is an essential component of enjoying the shooting sports, whether its hunting, target shooting at the range or storing firearms in the home. A number of manufacturers debuted new safety products this year; here are some highlights that caught our attention. Are there any you’d add to this list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featuring three interchangeable lenses allowing shooters to clearly see a target under any light condition, Covert Shooting Glasses from Birchwood Casey provide protection in a stylish and lightweight frame. Each pair of polycarbonate glasses come with clear, yellow and smoke colored lenses and a protective sleeve.
Flambeau Outdoors’ Cargo Range Backpack stands up and holds its shape when empty thanks to a compression-molded EVA bottom. It includes two 1411 pistol cases and two 5415MC mini ammo cans inside the main compartment — enabling your customers to safely store their firearms to and from the range. An attic compartment houses ear/eye protection and other tools and essentials, while deep side pockets and a PALS system accommodate larger accessories.
IDENTILOCK is an innovative biometric gun lock designed to keep unwanted hands from accessing a trigger, but rapid access for up to three authorized users. In 300 milliseconds the fingerprint sensor identifies a user to provide access to a firearm. Compatible with any USB Type-C charging outlet, IDENTILOCK can last on standby mode for up to six months on a single charge.
Your customers will be able to protect valuables at home or in a car with Fort Knox personal security boxes. The Pistol Box, available in two sizes, is constructed with a heavy 10-gauge body and 3/16-inch plate door. The 6-inch deep model is ideal for autos, and the 12-inch deep version is useful in many applications. A Controlled Access Box adds a secondary lock box inside a vault for added security. Three sizes are available: 20Wx9Hx16D, 24Wx9Hx18D and 28Wx9Hx18D inches.
The Impact Sport Bolt Electronic Earmuff from Howard Leight by Honeywell delivers a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22 dB and slim profile. A premium leatherette headband, AUX cable with in-line microphone, extra ear cushions and a belt clip are included.
Radians, manufacturer of safety gear for outdoor enthusiasts, offers several earmuffs and shooting glasses designed especially for youth, all of which are 15 percent smaller than adult safety gear to provide a better fit. Hearing protection complies with ANSI/ASA S3.19 and S12.6 standards and eyewear complies with ANSI Z87.1 standards.
From Smith & Wesson, M&P Shooting Glasses feature full peripheral eye coverage, anti-fog lenses and non-slip rubber nose and ear pieces in a variety of styles and colors. S&W Shooting Glasses offer full peripheral eye coverage and non-slip rubber ear stems in a variety of styles and lens colors, as well as smaller frame for women and youth. Both glasses have an ANSI High impact Z87+ rating and smoke and amber lenses offer up to 100% UV blockage.
Bolstering tree stand safety, Hunter Safety System has added ElimiShield Scent Control Technology to four of its most popular harnesses. The Hybrid, Elite, Crossbow and Contour harnesses are pretreated with ElimiShield and are more than 99 percent effective at controlling odor, even after 50 commercial washes. The harnesses now have MOLLE attachment points on the shoulders to attach a flashlight for hands-free illumination while in the field.
Safariland unveiled its first commercial hearing protection line earlier this year. In-Ear Impulse Hearing Protection automatically engages to protect the user’s hearing without blocking normal ambient sounds. Each set contains a medium and large pair. The Safariland Range Kit includes a pair of HD shooting glasses, one pair of earplugs (NRR 23 dB) and one passive hearing headset (NRR 26 dB). Safariland Electronic Hearing Protection is a highly durable earmuff set with low distortion speaker technology. Sounds are compressed and reduced to safe hearing levels to allow full situational awareness.