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Not All Women Like Pink

NSSF seminar provides tips on marketing to women

By: Mike Suchan, OutdoorChannel.com

LAS VEGAS – “Not all women like pink.” That message drew rousing applause from attendees of a seminar at the SHOT Show Wednesday.

Marketing to Women was a panel discussion held by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and gun industry members filled the hall to listen to seven female professionals in the field.

NSSF.org, the trade association for America’s firearms industry, conducts such events at SHOT to fulfill its mission to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting spots.

Attendees heard the expert panel tell them things to gain loyalty from women, who make up 35 percent of the new customers entering shooting sports. It’s the fastest growing category of the industry.

NSSF seminar provides tips on marketing to women

The panel pointed out the nuances of making a woman happy, greeting them in the store to engaging them with more information to outfitting them correctly.

“I just want to start out by saying not all women are not alike and we don’t all love pink,” said Linda Powell, Mossberg’s director of media relations. “Keep in mind that the same guns that fit men do not fit women.

“It’s not as simple as just shortening a stock. You have to think about weight and balance. So when working with a women, make sure the gun fits her. She’s not going to enjoy hunting and shooting if the equipment doesn’t fit her.”

Randi Rogers, a world and nationally ranked competitive shooter, said women want options. If you don’t provide that personal touch and you can't provide what they want, they’ll go elsewhere and won’t come back.

“Take some actual time with your customers. If you show them lots of options, you’ll make that sale,” Rogers said. “Don’t assume either, because I know a lot of ladies who go out there and shoot their 45s.”

The panelists described negative experiences at retail outlets that subsequently missed out on their business. One woman was ignored completely; she wanted someone to at least say hello, good morning, something.

Another said she asked to see some items and after two the clerk curtly asked, “Are you going to buy something or what?”

Simple things like making the facility more inviting with good lighting, clean restrooms and a snack bar can go a long way.

Barbara Baird, an outdoor publisher/editor, said to treat women with respect to gain a repeat customer because women “don’t just buy a dress. We buy shoes, a purse, and we want all of that with a gun.”

Julie Golob, a professional markswoman and national/world champion, said just having products that fit women at the facility is important.

“They can go to a big box store and buy it, but if you have good ear and eye protection, you’re building a relationship that they feel more secure,” she said. “If you can stock a few women’s sizes, that’s very helpful.

“Also, gun case options. If you can give women options and offer colors, help them find it or special order. We don’t want to have the same black case that all the men have.”

Having products on hand to try out is critical, and the panelists said if you don’t have them, outlets should have catalogs. Be a resource on how to find what they want. If you give women information, they have a shopping loyalty.

Bryan and Sherry Labelle, who manufacture AR-15s in McKinney, Texas, attended the seminar and came away with information they said will help their business, Average Gun Guys.

“You don’t have to dumb it down for women,” Sherry said. “We are not stupid.”

“The biggest thing, it’s not just putting on a pink grip on a gun,” Bryan said. “Women look at technical specs and products similar to men.”

Kate Krueger, radio host of Talking Guns and an NRA instructor, said shops should not ignore the growing segment of women shooters. Do everything you can get attract their business, like employing a female in sales.

“When NSSF starting marketing this seminar, and I had these gals on the radio with me since October, my numbers quadrupled based off this seminar alone,” Krueger said. “So, there’s a big place to market for women.”

Powell ended the seminar saying that making shooting a pleasant experience for women can grow your business.

“The thing to remember is to make it fun,” she said, “make it enjoyable so they come back to hunt and shoot, and also come back in your store to buy products.”

Go to SHOT Show 2014

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