The Science of Shopping for the Firearms Retailer

Monday, November 15, 2021
As a Firearms-Friendly company, we have the pleasure of working with many gun retailers.

A source of great information for firearms-related businesses is NSSF: The Firearm Industry Trade Association.

I recently found a great video on the NSSF website ( created to help gun retailers make sure their retail space is set up to achieve the most success.
Here are some great nuggets from that video:
  • Parking Lot: (The sales experience starts and ends in the Parking lot). Make sure it is easy to get in and out of, well lit at night, keep premium parking spaces (front of the store) open for customers (no employee parking in premium spots!)
  • Sign/Notification Placement: Information Architecture – what does somebody need to know and where? Do not clutter the entry door with a bunch of information . . . no one will look at it!
  • Pay attention to the Transition Zone/Landing Strip: (The area where the customer walks in the door – where they stop to see which way they might go.) Make sure the entryway isn’t crowded with baskets, flyers, or jammed with displays. First-time shoppers need a bit of neutral space in order to decide where they want to go next.
  • Set up Customer Pull-through: Put more desirable items in the back of the store as this gives customers an opportunity to see (and purchase) more of your stuff!
  • Eliminate Barriers to purchase: (i.e., put a sign on a gun safe stating that the price includes installation).
  • Cash Wrap:  The area that the purchase takes place. Display add-on purchase options on the counter – things that make you money (be careful not to overload – 3 to 4 items max). Set up equipment (computer, register, card machine, phone) in a way that keeps the attendant focused on the front of the store (eliminate the need to turn your back). Under counter, items should be placed for intuitive access – not visual.
  • Connect with your customers: Get out from behind the counter to demonstrate items (other than guns) like scopes. Being on the same side as your client creates a better experience.
  • Demonstrate your craftwork: Work on guns, mount scopes, etc., out in the open (instead of in the back room). This creates a special and interesting experience for the customer.
  • Making Better Margins: As you know, the margins on firearms are small. Margins in accessories are significantly higher. Ask yourself: What is a well-equipped sale? (add holsters, extra magazines, a box to store it in, trigger lock, ammo)
  • Remember that ladies are your customers too: Having a safe, well-lit parking lot, separate (clean) bathroom for ladies, take advantage of the ladies restroom for guerrilla marketing – place messages that you want to convey in the ladies restroom and they will get read 100% of the time.
  • Apparel Sales Tip: Always have a mirror in the apparel section.
Joe “Visa Joe” Taylor, Firearms Processing Straight-Shooter 11/15/2021