The Joy of Painting by Stats

You remember Bob Ross, the painter and YouTube star best known for The Joy of Painting series. The show ran on PBS for 403 episodes between 1983-1994, and lives on today (in its entirety) online. Each episode centered around the afro’d Ross painting a detailed picture with a broad brush—and that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.

But before you bust out the oils and canvas, take a seat. We’re not painting with strokes. We’re painting with statistics. And these statistics are about tackle retailers. They come directly from the 650 stores surveyed by Big Rock’s 2016 State of the Industry report.

Here is your palette: 

  • 89%- Store owners who operate a single location.
  • 79%-Number of Big Rock dealers who said a point of sale system is essential to their success.
  • 73%- The number of outdoor retailers who expect their sales to grow in 2016.
  • 58%- Dealers who host in-store events to attract new customers.
  • 57%- The number of outdoor retailers who expect the industry to grow in 2016.
  • 52%- Of retailers surveyed operate a store that is less than 2,499 square feet.
  • 45%- Of retailers said their fastest growing demographic is female.
  • 40%- Of stores are located in a rural area.
  • 30%- Retailers who spend less than two percent of their annual sales on advertising.
  • 28%- Number of dealers who have no idea what their web traffic looks like.

The picture

What kind of picture do those numbers paint? A portrait of savvy, independent business owners who are (a) optimistic about this year’s sales and (b) eager to bring new customers into their stores. You could also takeaway a burgeoning appreciation for sales data—the kind that comes from point-of-sale systems—and a shockingly conservative approach to advertising.

Counter strokes

If you stand eye-to-eye with a painting, you begin to see the brush lines and paint drops that form the grander picture when you’re farther away. Examine them, and you’ll see the story of how the artist created the work—what techniques were used, which ones were comfortable and which ones were a stretch.

Standing eye-to-eye with Big Rock’s statistics tells us where many of your counterparts are comfortable … and where they’re not. These numbers tell a story of owners who have a mastery of some skills, like coordinating in-store events, seminars and sales, but still have room to learn in others, like collecting web data and advertising.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the story. But if you want to be a master of your craft, you’ve got to step outside of your comfort zone and sharpen your skills in every technique.

Knowing your web traffic is the first step towards growing your web presence and sales. Tools like Google Analytics, Woo Commerce and WordPress can help you do that.

Dedicating part of your revenue to advertising can help you manage market share. This is especially important if you’re in an area with local competition—like the 60 percent of surveyed stores who are in an urban or suburban location. It’s generally accepted that spending 5 percent of your annual sales on advertising will help you hold position, while 10 percent can help you grow. In highly competitive markets, you may need to think about going upwards of 20 percent.

The eye of the beholder

Statistics, like art, are open to interpretation. When you take a step back, what do you see? Do you see an army of tackle owners like yourself? Or do you see something else? Let us know in the comment section below and, who knows, we might paint a picture of your store in an upcoming Retailer Spotlight.