If you haven’t seen the April issue of Fishing Tackle Retailer, it has a theme: Women in Fishing. On some level, it seems a shame that such a thing could serve as a theme for our industry’s trade publication. Women represent half of the world’s population — a little more than half by some estimates. When you give a magazine a theme, you’re essentially saying, “Hey, here’s a topic that deserves more attention than it’s currently getting.”
So it is for women in fishing.
I wish I could tell you that all you have to do is click on www.getmorewomeninvolvedinsportfishing.com and you’ll be well on your way to increasing their numbers and improving your bottom line, but it’s not so. There are no easy answers and, like too many things in this industry, you and I are largely on our own when it comes to making things happen.
And that’s OK. It’s always been that way … and probably always will be. But we still need answers, and we still need to work to find a solution.
“In the case of women in fishing, the need for a solution is apparent.”
We can’t afford to ignore half of the potential marketplace if we want to grow and prosper. Our primary supporters — men who fish — have mothers, wives, grandmothers, granddaughters, girlfriends, nieces and other women in their lives who could be anglers but aren’t. What can we do to bring them on board?
Maybe it starts with a question. Maybe it starts by asking your next male customer if his wife or girlfriend or whoever fishes? If not, why not? Ask what you can do as a retailer to get her involved. Do you need fishing classes, lower barriers to entry (such as price), different gear? What might create the tipping point that would make a difference?
What if you offered a discount to any woman who shops in your store without a husband or boyfriend in tow? For proof of angling acumen, they’d need to show you a valid fishing license.
What about women’s fishing contests — tournaments or big fish derbies. Co-ed events with husbands and wives or boyfriends and girlfriends are another way to get women involved.
What if you offered fishing instruction specially geared to women and girls? That might be a lot more attractive to them than classes with men and boys in the mix. Find female instructors who know how to speak to such an audience. The same instructors who draw a male audience might not appeal to women.
If you’re like most tackle retailers, you’re not doing much of anything to cater to women and girls. As a result, the women and girls you have as customers are mostly an accident rather than the product of something you’re consciously trying to do. Unless your business is just knocking it out of the park, that’s not good enough.
I’m not suggesting you work to get more female customers because it’s the “right” thing to do. That’s a nice reason, but it’s not enough.
I’m suggesting you go after female customers because it will make your cash register ring and improve your bottom line. I’m suggesting it because you’re missing out on a lot of business. I’m suggesting it because you could probably use the business … and the industry needs the anglers.
And I’m asking you to share whatever methods are working for you. We’re all in this together.