Best Practices of the Most Successful Tackle Retailers

Let’s face it, some tackle retailers are successful despite themselves. They have a great location and a great location sometimes means automatic sales. However, there are even more retailers who are just as, if not more, successful without a great location. Those are the retailers that we want to imitate. The most successful retailers are focused on four key principles: 

1. Product Visibility 

Many tackle retailers mistakenly stereotype anglers as customers who don’t care how clean a store is or how well it is merchandised. The reality is, they do care and the most successful retailers know this. A clean, well lit, modernly merchandised store will not only increase the angler’s market basket, it will have that angler coming back for future purchases, and probably talking the store up to their buddies. Bright-white LED lights are perfect for the shopping experience. 

A “Loop Layout” (where the main aisle circles the store with consumer flow to the right then up and down aisles) provides maximum exposure to the “Power Wall” which should be filled with major brands like Zoom, Strike King, PRADCO and Pure Fishing products. This layout also gives the opportunity for endcaps to highlight region specific brands along with new and trending items.

A “Grid Layout” (supermarkets/big box stores) can make cart shopping simpler, while a “Free Flow Layout” (found in many specialty stores) can offer space for unique displays, though it often requires are greater amount of space.

Choose a layout and then allocate the back wall for key categories so consumers must walk past many items to get to the most important categories. This merchandising method is why sodas and milk are always merchandised in the back of a convenience store while bread is merchandised on the adjacent right wall many, many steps away.   

Once you identify the manufacturer/category/segment to be displayed on endcaps, the back wall and power wall, it’s time to merchandise SKU’s accordingly. Remember, Americans read top to bottom and left to right, so start out with the flagships in the upper left and coordinate to the right and down from there. Great retailers also utilize the point of sale material like “how to rig” guides for soft plastics and terminal items. Cross merchandise whenever and where ever possible. 

2.  In-Stock SKU selection

Many retailers give great attention to labor costs and little to inventory costs, but great retailers pay attention to both. It has been said that 64% of consumers will not purchase anything if the item they are seeking is out-of-stock. However, having too much of everything can cause even bigger problems, just look at some of the recent national retailers that have gone out of business (e.g. Toys R Us or Sears). Great retailers have a good understanding of each SKU and rank it with a letter grade.

Top selling items are rank as an “A” SKU and retailers need to have at least a two-week supply always on hand. Don’t be afraid to double face these items if you have the space. “B” SKUs can be weekly replenishment items, while “C” SKUs are bi-weekly replenishments. It’s good to have a distributor you can rely on to “warehouse” these SKUs for you, they buy in bulk so you can buy in ones or twos. Finally, yes, you do need some “D” SKUs. These are SKUs that will set your store apart, they may only get one turn, but that peg real estate is just too valuable to let it sit empty.

Great retailers also purchase from a distributor known for fast delivery. The ability to replenish fast will help you keep the “A” SKUs in-stock without overextending your available inventory dollars. Pitman Creek Wholesale, one such example, is nationally known for their fast delivery and huge freshwater assortment.


Planning and organization are key to success. Simply utilizing a promotional calendar can help with this. A quick internet search for a retail promotional calendar is a good way to get ideas. Staying abreast of local tournaments should also help retailers align their sales promotions. 

Identify closeout items quickly and merchandise them in a dump bin to free up pegs for new trending and innovative SKUs. Great retailers have the ability to quickly detach from the emotion of selling something for less that they paid for it, because it’s actually the smartest thing a retailer can do. Dead inventory has a cost that goes unrecognized by most retailers; the quicker sluggish or dead inventory is removed and replaced with something that sells, the quicker that peg will generate revenue again. Everybody likes a deal, so let your closeout dump bin be that something that makes a customer happy and gives her/him a reason to come back.


Finally, great retailers make their store unique. The simplest and least expensive tool you have is customer service. Providing amazing customer service will differentiate your store from any competitor. A warm and welcoming environment along with knowledgeable employees is what every consumer seeks. 

Additionally, stocking your store with custom colors of Zoom, Strike King and other major brands can also make your store a destination and help you stand out from your competitors. It is best to find a distributor who offers a wide range of custom colors because they won’t require you to meet the high order minimums manufacturers require for custom colors.