Women make up 36 percent of the archery market, according to recent surveys. It’s the
fastest-growing segment of the market, and if your store isn’t prepared to serve over a third of active archery enthusiasts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Insight into the women’s archery market can be found at Shoot Like a Girl, www.shootlikeagirl.com, a website dedicated to empowering women to participate in the shooting sports. Karen Butler created Shoot Like a Girl (SLG) after she purchased two bows that were too small for her, and was unable to improve her shooting skills due to bad habits learned with a too-small bow. When Karen finally got the right bow, her shooting skills improved so much she won the 2006 Colorado State Championship in her division. Butler created SLG and its Test Flight Seminars to spare other women from a similar experience.
Test Flight Seminars are held in conjunction with tournaments, trade shows and other outdoor events. Acknowledging that it is difficult for dealers to stock every bow appropriate for females, Butler wants to offer women the opportunity to try as many bows as possible to find the one that feels right. Working with manufacturers like Hoyt, Mathews, BowTech and LimbSavers, Test Flight Seminars feature bows in a variety of sizes and configurations that are appropriate for women. Ladies get a chance to hold and shoot the bows and test the grips.
“Our goal is to help people determine what they like best,” Butler said.
She believes dealers need to change their mindset.
“They’re not selling anything, they’re helping clients make a decision,” Butler said.
Once women find a bow they like, Test Flight staffers provide them with a card listing the manufacturer, model and their individual stats so women can buy the bow from a local dealer.
“We did a survey of Test Flight participants, and less than 1 percent said they would not buy a bow after Test Flight,” Butler said. “One hundred percent said they loved the experience and felt empowered.”
The challenge women have when they get home, Butler notes, is buying the bow they want. After every Test Flight, Butler says she gets calls from women who are in a store and the salesperson is trying to sell them something different from what they want. Butler has had to get on the phone and convince the salesperson to sell the woman her bow. Other Test Flight participants have just walked out of the store, she says.
This scenario is exactly what you don’t want happening in your store. It’s always in your best interest to determine how an item will be used, and the experience level of the shooter, before recommending a product. If a woman walks in and wants to buy a specific item, do your best to accommodate her, instead of selling her what you think is best.
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