Is it Time for a Thomas Edison Moment?

Thomas Edison? Oh, yes, he invented the light bulb. That’s the guy, but he didn’t invent the light bulb. He invented the long lasting light bulb and the universal screw into socket mechanism. In fact, Mr. Edison holds 1,093 U.S. patents and almost always invented something, at the right time, that propelled his business.

Well, Mr. and Ms. Tackle dealer, isn’t this about the right time to invent or re-invent your business in this era of the Coronavirus Pandemic? For if you are doing the same thing in the same old way, it is possible that the retail world is going to pass you by.

You may scoff at this possibility, but, on the other hand, you should look and think seriously about survival in these very difficult times. I can assure you of this, that if you don’t reassess your operations, your competition will likely do so.

The Restaurant Reimagined

Allow me to cite an example of a retail industry which has made impressive changes to their mode of operation in an effort to stay afloat in this pandemic. I, of course, refer to the restaurant industry. So many of the local restaurants and chains have successfully adapted to necessitated changes which have propelled their businesses.

I have seen so many traditional restaurants literally move outdoors installing large, white, comfortable tents or other coverings complete with lighting, fans, umbrellas, music and other inventive accoutrements. In some states, these restaurants have been allowed to begin inside serving again but have retained their outdoor dining as well. 

The amazing effect of all of this is to nearly double their seating capacity while the public is really enjoying dining “al fresco”. The point is that these restauranters, not only have survived, but laid the groundwork for continued consumer support and growth. I tip my hat to them.

Tackle Shop Two Step

Now, how does all this relate to tackle/sporting goods retailers? If your tackle/sporting goods store is operating essentially as a scaled down version of last year’s model, you are both losing growth opportunities as well as risking extinction through stagnation. When your marketplace, competition or economic environment changes, so should you.

You should be looking about yourself, your store and your circumstances and asking “what are the current needs of my customers and how can I best fulfill those needs? For every new change in the marketplace, there remains potential opportunities for capitalizing on those needs. In today’s Covid-19 world, consider:

  • Adding or altering your merchandise mix so as to foster incremental sales.
  • Expanding or adjusting opening hours to augment sales.
  • Adding unique “coaching” services to improve the anglers’ catch results.
  • Consider creating shore lunch boxes consisting of sandwiches, snacks and drinks.
  • Offer classes or “coaching” services to help anglers increase their catches.
  • Advertise your price matching policy so that your customers will never pay too much.
  • Contemplate adding free delivery service to the angler’s home, boat or launch point.
  • Add a “demo day” promotion wherein customers can handle and test new equipment.
  • Send out a weekly fishing report with recommendations and pricing specials.
  • Offer a heavily discounted program for youth anglers.
  • Create a “try it before you buy it” program for fishermen looking for new equipment.

This list can be expanded greatly but it does provide you with some fodder for thought. Here’s the point: when your market, consumer base or economic conditions change, so should you.

If you want to get ahead in this ever changing retail world, then I encourage you to regularly put your “Thomas Edison” hat on and invent something new that will propel your sales and profits. Now have at it!