After my time spent marketing two large gun stores, here’s what I do.
- Make sure it had a gun range. Doesn’t have to be big, 12 lanes, 20 yards maximum. Maximum caliber, 308. Have good air conditioning in it, so people enjoy their time there. Encourage selfies and social media.
- Emphasize training. Have a competition league on Monday nights.
- Get a GREAT working relationship with either A Girl And Her Gun or The Well Armed Woman.
- When it comes to pistols, don’t try to carry everything on the planet. Carry Glocks, and “Not Glocks”, (probably Sig Sauer) and one other brand (Ruger or S&W).
- 1911’s would be similar, with a entry-level brand and Kimber (because Kimber is the Glock of 1911’s when it comes to brand recognition) and then one high-end brand like Les Baer or Nighthawk.
- Carry one brand of entry-level AR’s, one mid-level brand and one high-level brand. Same with and optics and almost everything else. Avoiding analysis paralysis should be your #1 goal.
- Speaking of which, remember how Apple stores were laid out when they first opened up? They were built around HOW you used your Apple products (Home, Music, Movies, etc.) not the products themselves. Rather than group the guns by brand, group them by purpose. Show how they fit into your lifestyle.
- Staff training is everything. Make 3.5 your new best friend. Add in sales training, and then more sales training. Make it worth your salesperson’s while to take the training. Part of that training should be knowing when to chat at length with a customer, and when to move on.
- Have one person dedicated to nothing but special orders. Have a special order supply chain that makes the JIT logistics of Dell seem amateurish by comparison. You want the reputation of the place that can get anything, not the place that has everything.
- If you can’t do that, set up a kiosk in the store for special orders with a Brownell’s affiliate link. Making a cut of the sale is better than none of the sale.
- Build a virtuous circle between the range, your gun sales, and training. We’re selling a lifestyle, not guns.
Your thoughts on what would make a good gun store for today’s gun buyer?