Overlooked Market Segment
Offers Enticing Profit Margins.
Maximizing profits for your business means staying ahead of the competition, analyzing the latest trends and tapping into niche markets — like airguns and airsoft. Steve Upham, vice president of sales for Crosman, believes many dealers snub the airgun and airsoft markets because of misconceptions about the products.
“Dealers would be shocked by the performance of today’s airguns,” Upham said. “They’re letting perceptions of the airgun market from their youth make their decisions for them. They think airguns are Red Ryders or pump guns. That’s not the case anymore.”
Indeed, the airgun and airsoft markets tend to follow the trends of the firearms industry. Because tactical is hot in the gun market, dealers will see numerous tactical-style airguns available. This fashion-forward trend means airgun and airsoft customers are already shopping at your store, Upham said, a fact he tries to emphasize to dealers who may be wary about jumping into a new market.
“That’s the biggest misconception with dealers — that the airgun and airsoft customer isn’t shopping,” Upham said.
The truth is, Upham points out, many firearms enthusiasts are equally interested in airguns and airsoft. Both markets are growing at a very healthy clip, and the adult airgun business is particularly profitable.
“There’s good growth in the adult airgun business, which is really where most of the market’s growth has come from in the last five years,” Upham said. “These are customers who want an airgun with enough power to kill rodents and other large pests.”
The airsoft market also continues to grow well, especially in higher-performance models that command a higher price tag.
“As players become more experienced and knowledgeable about performance, they’re looking for better-quality guns,” Upham said.
The Talon SS from AirForce Airguns is available in .25, .22, .20 and .177 caliber in a variety of finishes.
The Nikon PROSTAFF Target EFR 3-9×40 is designed for the .22 LR and air rifle,
and features the Nikon Precision Reticle.
While the airgun and airsoft markets are performing well, Upham knows many dealers are concerned about competing with Internet sales and big-box stores, both of which typically dominate sales in these categories. But Upham said the secret to seeing top profit margins lies in selling accessories.
“The profitability on the ammo and accessory side is huge — 50- to 65-percent margins. So even if dealers had to price-match the mass merchant on the airgun, there’s still a chance to make 40 to 50 percent on the ammo side,” Upham said. “BBs, pellets, C02 — the consumables are a big portion of the sales.
“The gun industry has a real shortage of products right now; 95 of 100 firearm dealers would probably say their biggest problem is getting products,” Upham said. “In contrast, there is no shortage of airguns and airsoft. There are a lot of distributors and wholesalers out there to help dealers get products.”
The Heckler & Koch Competition Series AEG airsoft rifle from Umarex
features full/semiauto firing, 400-round magazine and folding stock.
Airgun ammo and accessories experience 50- to 65-percent profit margins.
Daisy PrecisionMax .177-caliber pellets are ideal for pest control and small game.
Display Dos And Don’ts
Once inventory has been ordered, dealers need to think about the best way to present the airgun and airsoft merchandise in their stores. Upham said he’s seen many dealers make the decision to sell airguns and airsoft, but then fail to display the merchandise in a way that appeals to customers.
“Dealers make a mistake when they don’t have a dedicated spot in their stores for airguns and airsoft,” Upham said. “They’re putting the merchandise with the accessories, or it’s on a bottom shelf collecting dust, or it’s all split up across the store.”
Crosman helps dealers display their airgun and airsoft inventory in a more appealing way through its Dealer P.O.P. Program. Dealers who place qualifying orders receive a freestanding floor display with a 7-inch color video monitor. The monitor presents a continuous loop of Benjamin Airgun hunts, and Crosman commercials featuring professional hunters and Benjamin Pro Staff.
“We made this display so the merchandise can have a specific spot in the store,” Upham said. “It calls attention to the category and, for the employees, it makes it very simple. It’s almost a self-selling center or display where the employee can direct the customer to learn more.”
Upham emphasized that Crosman is dedicated to helping the dealer and the market. The company’s Shooting Services mobile range visits dealers across the country, giving consumers of all ages a chance to shoot airguns for the first time.
“We put one million people through our trailer each year,” Upham said. “I can’t offer our shooting trailer to every dealer, but we do make staff available and offer products at low prices for shooting programs. We’re trying to get those people to shoot for the first time and give the market a huge push forward.”
Capturing success in the airgun and airsoft markets means choosing the right inventory, properly displaying the products and knowing the up-and-coming trends. Upham also encourages dealers to learn about the merchandise.
“Get out and shoot what you’re selling,” Upham said. “Challenge your salespeople to shoot today’s airguns and airsoft models. They will be shocked at the performance.”
Crosman Rewards Dealers With Shockey Hunt
Dealers who participate in Crosman’s new Dealer P.O.P. Program receive a
freestanding floor display with a 7-inch color video monitor, and are entered
for a chance to win a Texas hunt with Jim Shockey. “It’s almost a self-selling
center,” Upham said.
Crosman will send one lucky dealer on a hunt with Jim Shockey in 2014 as a way to say thank you for participating in the company’s new Dealer P.O.P. Program. To participate in the program, dealers must place a minimum order of $3,000: $500 in ammo and accessories, $500 in pistols, $1,000 in Crosman products and $1,000 in Benjamin products.
Qualifying dealers will receive the freestanding floor display with a 7-inch color video monitor. In addition, program participants will also receive an authorized dealer banner, a Nitro Piston counter mat, six Crosman hats and six Benjamin hats.
“We’re backing up the program with good deals from distributors, free freight if dealers buy a certain amount of guns, and the hunting trip with Jim Shockey, our official spokesperson,” Upham said.
All dealers who qualify for Crosman’s Dealer P.O.P. program will be entered to win the hunt. The drawing will take place in the third quarter of 2013, with the winning dealer traveling to Texas with a guest to hunt whitetail deer in early 2014.
Crosman is also providing dealers a DVD titled, “What Crosman Can Do For Your Business.” The DVD features Shockey, other professional hunters and Crosman staff providing in-depth information on Crosman and Benjamin products.
For more information, dealers should contact their Crosman rep or distributor, or call 1-800-724-7486. Also visit www.crosman.com and www.crosmanhunting.com.