Offer Comfortable Gear Options, Seminars To Boost Profit.
Turkey hunters are all about gear. They want calls, decoys and camo anything. Knowing what’s hot and having it on hand leads to satisfaction for your customers and a healthy bottom line for you.
Jeff Johnson, director of sales at Hunter’s Specialties, said one hot trend is what he calls “creature comfort” items.
“That includes head nets and gloves, ground blinds and ground seats,” said Johnson. “We’re seeing more technical fabrics and designs that have been developed into those products to make them more comfortable and more reliable. We’re using functional fabrics to make head nets and gloves. Many of them are made with Spandex, which includes wicking materials so they have more elasticity and they wick perspiration away from your skin.”
Products include Camo Spandex Unlined Tech Gloves and Camo Spandex Face Mask, Neck Gaitor and Head Net.
High-tech has come to ground seats as well.
“Seats have better structural design than they did a few years ago, so they’re more comfortable,” Johnson said.
The other category to come to the fore is higher-end turkey decoys.
“For a long time, turkey decoys have been relatively the same in terms of realism and materials used,” Johnson said. “The decoys selling well now have detail and functionality. Long-time turkey hunters are stepping up to more authentic looking decoys, and they don’t mind the higher price points.”
Two decoys that Hunter’s Specialties is launching this year are Jake Snood and Suzie Snood — jake and hen decoys.
Chad Bush, owner of Adel Outfitters, in Adel, Ga., said his customers want whatever they’ve seen on TV.
“If they see a new turkey decoy, diaphragm call or new shot, they ask for it,” he said. “Preston Pittman came out with a new turkey decoy last year, and everyone wanted it.”
Bush said his customers don’t buy a lot of turkey guns.
“Once they’ve bought a camouflaged Benelli for shooting doves they just put a turkey choke in it,” he said. “Everyone wants the tightest pattern possible, and they’ll buy whatever choke their friends like and recommend.”
Bush said sales of hen decoys have decreased, and sales of jake decoys are on the rise.
“Hunters are learning that gobblers are more aggressive to a jake decoy than to a hen,” he said.
Bush said his customers are asking for blended turkey loads such as HEVI-Shot’s Magnum Blend, which is a mixture of 5-, 6- and 7-shot.
“Everyone is always trying to get an edge,” he said.
Remington Model 11
Promote Turkey Products
To sell these higher-tech accessories, retailers need to understand their functionality, noted Johnson.
“You need to become familiar with the performance levels of the new fabrics versus the older fabrics,” he said. “The new fabrics are more form fitting and breathable, and they wick perspiration much better.” Be prepared to discuss those selling points with your customers to increase their understanding of how these new products are different from their predecessors.
Manufacturers can help you with media and promotional materials to bring in customers for turkey products.
“We provide ad copy and logos for retailers,” Johnson said. “We’re also putting QR codes on all our packaging. Those QR codes link directly to videos about how the products work.”
When the consumer scans the QR code on a smartphone equipped with the proper app, the video will begin playing on the phone.
Primos is also using scannable QR codes.
“The QR code pops open a YouTube clip,” Pettigrew said. “They’re full instructional videos on how the products work.”
Johnson encourages retailers to set up a core assortment of Hunter’s Specialties turkey products on an end cap or in another high-profile location during the spring turkey-hunting time frame.
“We do a lot of advertising, particularly of decoys,” he said. “Anything the retailer can do to ‘piggyback’ on our advertising can increase the visibility of a product.”
EOTech’s Model 512 enables fast target acquisition and
reliability with a 65 MOA ring with a 1 MOA dot for turkey hunters.
Sell-Out With Seminars
At Adel Outfitters, Bush has hosted TV personalities on turkey hunts and has experts come in to give seminars.
“We’re going to be on a show next year,” he said. “That should help us a lot. We also had Eddie Salter come in and talk. We had about 130 people here for that.”
Bush has seen a difference in sales when he holds an event such as a seminar.
“It’s just like a TV show,” he said. “Whatever the speaker shows is what sells. The night Eddie Salter was here, we sold out of the products he talked about.”
Haynes sometimes brings in a pro staffer from Hunter’s Specialties for a turkey-hunting seminar.
“The speaker shows videos and demonstrates the calls, and that helps us sell calls,” he said. “It also gives our customers a chance to learn more about the sport. Turkey hunting has been a little slower to catch on in the West than it has in other parts of the country.”
Haynes also participates with a local turkey hunt for women and youth that several landowners put on.
“After the ladies and the youngsters have gone out, many of them will come in and buy a shotgun or some calls,” he said. “The two brands of shotguns that we sell the most of are Mossberg and Remington; we sell a lot of the models that have shorter barrels and turkey chokes and full camouflage finish.”
By Carolee Anita Boyles
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