Searching out the latest products designed for women can be a daunting task. Products that look like a good idea on paper can completely bomb on the shelf. Add in the obvious differences between the firearms and accessories that might work differently for women than they do for men, and getting just the right female-friendly products can seem like an ordeal. Luckily dealers have an excellent resource in the form of the website, The Well Armed Woman (TWAW).
Founded in 2012 by Carrie Lightfoot, an NRA-certified firearm instructor, the focus of TWAW is to “educate, equip and empower” women. Lightfoot has taken her mission to educate women about firearms very seriously, demonstrated by the many topics covered on the website. Every aspect of firearms is dealt with — from buying a first gun, to holsters that work for women, to where to find firearm instruction or a range. There are also local chapters of TWAW in several states that provide a fun social shooting experience for women firearm enthusiasts.
One of the best features of the website is the “Gun Glossary,” where all the various words and terms particular to firearms are explained and demystified. Any woman new to the shooting sports should be directed to this comprehensive glossary. It will instantly make her a more confident and savvy gun owner.
There are also several instructional videos available on topics ranging from women’s products and firearm selection, to training tips and ethics. Many of the videos would be useful training tools for your staff, as they cover topics like women’s summer carry options and the ins and outs of purse holsters — topics some of your male staff may not be well-versed on.
TWAW’s website also has comprehensive lists of the exact equipment and accessories women need to participate in the shooting sports — even tips on what to wear to the range. Women are much more likely than men to conduct extensive research before purchasing a firearm. After viewing TWAW’s website, they will expect a gun store to carry all of the items their research has shown they need. Dealers can use the information on TWAW’s website as a checklist for what women expect to find in their store, and order products accordingly.
The Well Armed Woman’s website seeks to educate, equip and empower women in their decision-making.
TWAW offers an extensive line of women’s accessories — making it
easier for dealers to carry products for women.
Utilize Dealer Programs For One-Stop Stocking
To make stocking the right women’s products even easier, TWAW sells an extensive line of women’s accessories, and has a dealer program that provides gun storeowners with one-stop shopping for women’s products. The line includes products manufactured exclusively for TWAW, as well as items from major manufacturers.
“We haven’t been actively promoting our dealer program,” said Lightfoot, “but it went crazy. We already have 40 dealers who are in the program.” She said the dealer program is a benefit because, “The majority of small stores can get one-stop shopping for women’s products that will sell. We’ve already done the research for them. They get our expertise in knowing what women like.”
For example, Lightfoot said one of their bestselling holsters is the bellyband, due to its extreme versatility. Lightfoot and her staff evaluate what women are buying every three months and share the list of top selling items with dealers so they can fine tune their orders. Ordering from TWAW is also a no-risk proposition. Lightfoot said any stock a store buys can be exchanged for a different product, so dealers are never stuck with inventory that doesn’t sell.
WT’s Guns in Goldsboro, N.C., has been participating in The Well Armed Woman’s dealer program for about a year. According to Assistant Manager Leigh Mayes, “It makes it easier to find women’s products. They do the research for us.”
WT’s Guns carries several products from TWAW. Mayes said holsters, compression shorts and tanks with built-in holsters and gun-themed jewelry sell very well in their store. Women buy the products in their store rather than online because “they can pick it up and see it.”
Women are excited to see products designed for them on your shelves.
Stock Products For Women Customers
There has been a sharp increase in the number of women getting involved in the shooting sports in the last three years, Mayes noted.
“Anything we can stock designed for ladies is a big hit. They think, ‘Oh, hey, they do have something for me.’ It lets them know shooting is not just for men,” she remarked.
Lightfoot agreed that women are excited to see products designed for them on their local gun store’s shelves.
“A woman would definitely buy directly from a dealer instead of us because they can see it and touch it,” she said. “Women shoppers are extremely loyal. Even with a higher price, women will buy from their local dealer because they want to say ‘thank you’ for even wanting to get them what they need.”
Any dealer hoping to expand a share of the women’s market should take a look at The Well Armed Woman website — it’s packed with valuable information for female shooters and dealers alike. Dealers can refer women to the site as a great resource in their store or at home. Even just playing some of the videos randomly in your store might make women feel more comfortable and encourage them to ask questions. Gun shop owners who decide to participate in TWAW’s dealer program are basically hiring a research team that will help them stock the products women really want. Partnering with TWAW is a great opportunity to serve women better and increase your sales.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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