Lots Of Handguns Are Being Sold —
But Don’t Forget The Accessories.
With the current rush on handguns leaving customers stacked at the counter, dealers are finding their sales staff strapped to find adequate time with each patron. By the time staff members make a handgun sale, they must quickly move to the next customer to keep up with the high demand, which leaves little time to sell profitable handgun accessories.
Richard Sprague of Sprague’s Sports in Yuma, Ariz., knows the first step to maximizing handgun accessory sales in a blistering market is to ensure his sales staff understands the importance of making those accessories a priority at the counter.
“It’s really tough right now to meet the demand for handguns, but accessory sales continue to be very important,” Sprague said. “I bring it up constantly in staff meetings. When your overhead is running 24 to 27 percent and you’re making 18 to 23 percent on a handgun, you better have some higher-margin items.”
Concealed carry handbags, like this one from Gun Tote’n Mamas,
are a hot-seller for the growing segment of female gun owners.
Profitable Handbag Market
Sprague is seeing incredible success with concealed carry handbags for women, an excellent example of a handgun accessory with a higher profit margin. Brands like Gun Tote’n Mamas, Urban Moxy and Galco have sold very well at Sprague’s Sports in recent months, and Sprague doesn’t anticipate sales slowing down anytime soon.
“Women’s purses are selling like crazy,” Sprague said. “The more you put out, the more they sell. For a while, we had about five purses out on the floor. Now we display 20 different colors and sizes from four different manufacturers. During the holidays, we were reordering every week.”
Prominently displaying concealed carry handbags is an excellent accessory sales strategy, especially when it comes to catering to the ever-growing female shooter demographic. Women want a safe, stylish way to carry their handguns, and, as shown by Sprague’s success, they’re willing to pay for a quality leather handbag.
Gun Tote’n Mamas, a company founded by women for women, strictly sells concealed carry handbags and accessories — focusing on a traditional, professional style of purse priced between $60 and $136.
Better known for its handgun holsters, Galco offers a more traditional line of leather concealed carry handbags, ranging in price from $190 to $340.
While many women appreciate the more traditional purses offered by Gun Tote’n Mamas and Galco, Urban Moxy fills an important gap in the concealed carry handbag market by offering purses that follow the latest fashion trends. All the stylish Urban Moxy bags cost less than $100, putting the purses in the same price range as fashionable purses women would normally buy at high-end department stores.
The Elite Red C5L-R from Viridian is one of many options available to customers
wishing to enhance their favorite handgun. Visit www.shootingindustry.com/viridian.
Lasers & Other Accessories
In holsters, Sprague has seen concealed carry options sell extremely well, with Galco, BLACKHAWK! and Colorado-based AMS Manufacturing leading his best-selling brands.
In lasers, Sprague’s best-sellers are LaserMax and Crimson Trace. Sprague praises the latter company’s dedication to refining products and hitting different price points, as reflected in the new Crimson Trace Defender Series.
The new-for-2013 grip-integrated Accu-Guard laser sight meets the demand for a lower price point, and reaches a segment of the consumer market never before addressed by the company, according to Lane Tobiassen, Crimson Trace president.
“The market is growing for lasers, but a lot of that growth has been at a price point that’s lower than what we currently offer,” Tobiassen said. “In response, we’ve developed the Defender Series, which has price points from $129 to $149. For us, it will be the lowest-priced grip-integrated product we’ve ever offered.”
To market the new Defender Series line, Crimson Trace is offering dealers freestanding displays that hold nine to 12 SKUs. This takes products out from under the counter and places them in a location where customers can easily see and interact with them — especially when shoppers are standing in line or waiting to speak with sales staff.
Don’t forget about holsters and other accessories when making a handgun sale.
This BLACKHAWK! GripBreak Leather Holster complements concealable handguns.
Making Time For Accessories
Like Sprague, Tobiassen has also found many dealers are so swamped with addressing higher handgun demand from customers, they don’t have adequate time to address the accessory market.
“There are lines for background checks and lines at the counter. The sales staff finishes the sale and goes on to the next one without talking about holsters, laser sights and the other accessories they would normally address if they had time,” Tobiassen said.
Even though handgun sales may currently outnumber accessory sales, it’s crucial to remember the higher profit margins are in the accessories. Taking the time to inform the customer about available add-ons could prompt additional future sales.
“Don’t forget about the accessory sale,” Tobiassen said. “Make sure you take the time to walk the customer through what is available for the product. You might not make the sale at that time, but it plants a seed. From a retailer standpoint, there are so many accessories to choose from. We need to make sure to close the loop with the customer on that.”
Making customers aware of all the accessories available for their handguns is especially important with first-time gun buyers, who likely don’t know what they might need or what is trending in the market currently.
“It’s up to the retail salesperson to help educate the customer,” Tobiassen said. “Taking advantage of point-of-purchase displays works well for this because it’s one of the best entry points for uninformed customers. Having the gun on the counter with a laser sight on it and then walking the customer through the gun creates an opportunity for further discussion and a sale.”
Otis created the versatile Tactical Pink cleaning system with women in mind.
Although some handgun customers may not be fully aware of all the accessories available to them, Sprague has found the vast majority of shooters — whether new or veterans — are very safety conscious and know the importance of investing in proper storage for their handgun.
“Customers want to be responsible gun owners and keep their guns locked away, but readily available,” Sprague said. “There’s a wider selection of quick-access pistol lock boxes available than ever before, with options like biometric features and fingerprint readability. Customers are really interested in those products right now.”
Sprague’s best-selling small gun safes are from GunVault and DAC, while Browning, American Security and Winchester continue to be popular brands in full-size safes. Due to the difficulty of shipping full-size safes, Sprague suggests dealers should work with companies in their region.
While customers are stacked at the counter in most retail stores across the country, it’s still important to remember the power of promotions, especially when it comes to accessory sales, Sprague said. Whether dealers are promoting concealed carry handbags, laser sights or lock boxes, customers need to know what will be available when they walk in the store.
“Promotions are so important,” Sprague said. “Learn from the big guys. You don’t find companies in the midst of incredible success pulling out of their advertising campaigns. Nike doesn’t just rest on its previous years of success. Keep informing people about what you’re doing in the marketplace. That’s how you gain exposure to a new audience.”
Using print media to advertise handguns, accessories and promotions,
Richard Sprague reaches additional customers.
By J.K. Autry
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