The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently issued a report to assist member companies in better understanding their customer’s shopping experience. This report highlights the use of mobile eye-tracking technology to help retailers understand what really attracts consumers to products. This is just one example of how retailers and businesses within the shooting sports industry are evaluating customer behavior, and in turn understanding and serving customers more effectively. It’s a good time to be a consumer in the shooting sports industry and here are a few reasons why.
The Social Connection
Social media is not a new or novel concept when it comes to business strategy. In fact, some businesses or individuals might be getting sick of hearing about social media and all the different platforms available to communicate different ideas and media. However, social media has provided a valuable method of communication for retailers within the industry. Businesses ask questions like, “Who would be interested in a family shooting night?” or “What’s the most important thing when you visit a gun range?” The list goes on, but businesses are reaching out to customers, listening to what they have to say, and then implementing popular ideas into their business model. Social media gives businesses a real-time pulse of their customer base. It also provides the customer a voice that can be heard instantly, regardless of the company’s size or location.
Recognizing Areas of New Growth
Recognizing areas for new growth within the industry and catering specifically to these markets has opened up new product lines and a new way of thinking for many companies. For example, there has been a lot of media coverage given to the increase in participation among women in shooting sports. Shooting ranges, distributors and retailers alike have made marketing to women a focus within their organizations. To the outsider looking in, changing the color of the gun or making something glitter might be the answer. But retailers realize that some women don’t want to shoot a pink gun. The answer might be in a cleaner facility, a slimmer gun model, or an instructor they can relate to. There is not one correct way to go about this, but realizing and capitalizing on growing market segments has created new ideas and innovation within the industry.
Putting Data into Practice
I talked to a shooting range owner recently who explained research and surveys this way: “I find it odd that businesses in the gun industry don’t put more focus on what their consumers are telling them.” He says he listens to what his customers are saying and what they want, and in turn, they have always taken good care of him and his business. This owner also teamed up with a local university to survey his customer base. When the university provided the results of the survey, the company implemented changes based on the information to try and improve their processes. This shooting range owner is not alone in his pursuit to understand his customer base and meet their needs more comprehensively. Online surveys and a closer analysis of website traffic are helping businesses to adjust their practices based on consumer wants and needs.
When it comes to customer service, customer behavior, and better understanding what customers ultimately want, there is never just one answer. The market is evolving and changing rapidly with consumers having more of a voice about products and services. The one size fits all mentality is becoming less common as all companies try to provide solutions to serve the needs of each unique customer.
Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.