The Perfect Peg: Tweaking Tactics

Offering an improved retail experience and even minor product presentation and placement enhancements can significantly attract customer attention and interest, increasing sales and customer satisfaction.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited as saying, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door,” meaning that even a slightly better solution to a problem can prove valuable. Retailers are constantly searching for better ways to increase sales. For fishing tackle retailers, adding accessories to the product line is effective. However, these products need to be easily found or they could be forgotten at the time of purchase.

Product Placement

Paul M. Mazur, a Harvard-trained economist, defined the five “rights” of merchandising: 1) the right merchandise; 2) in the right quantities; 3) at the right time; 4) at the right price; and 5) in the right place. While all five are critical, when selling accessory products in a tackle store, the right place can mean the difference between a dusty product destined for the bargain bin or an empty peg.

I habitually visit tackle stores when I travel around the country. I look for my clients’ products in different areas of the store as well as identify where their competitors’ products are placed. If there is time, I talk to the employees or owners to get information about their clientele and what does and does not sell well. I also look in the ominous bargain bin to see what sat on the shelf too long and ask why those products are on closeout.

Once, a manager caught me photographing a product that is used in various types of fishing applications. She noticed I had a few in my basket to purchase and asked how I would use them. She explained how she had opened one up and was playing with it. She had a few ideas but wasn’t sure. After I explained the different uses, I asked why it wasn’t in the fly section while a competitor’s product was. She shrugged and said, “Well, I bet we’d sell more of it if it were over there.”

We walked to the area to find only one product left on the peg with two empty pegs nearby. She frowned, grabbed half of the SKUs from the bass section, filled the empty pegs, and added, “I wonder how many sales we would have lost if it looked like we were out?”

This happens more often than you think—especially if the angler searches for a non-standard tackle product. How often have you looked for pliers, scissors, knives, etc., but didn’t see any and assumed the store didn’t carry them, only to find out it’s in a different section?

Storyboarding and Cross-merchandising

When you are selling accessory products, storyboarding and cross-merchandising can help increase sales.

Storyboarding provides a display in the front of the store or section. A grouping of what you need for your fishing trips, such as the hottest tackle, tools required, apparel, coolers, rods, reels, and nets. Or something as simple as a fly box with today’s recommended flies, tweezers, scissors, clippers, and pliers.

Storyboarding is excellent for an omnichannel offering as well. Many retailers have storyboards on the website with links to order products and show each product’s location in the brick-and-mortar location. It’s a terrific way to educate anglers before entering the store. Popular storyboards include “gift guides” and “shopping lists.” They should be changed out monthly based on seasons.

Cross-merchandising is a marketing tactic that displays complimentary products from different categories. It’s also known as secondary product placement.

The retailer becomes a silent shopping guide simply by grouping products. This can create additional add-on purchases and save the consumer time and multiple trips to the store.

Joe Woodward, an industry marketing veteran, has worked as a marketing manager for fishing manufacturers and spent over 12 years in corporate leadership for a national sporting goods retailer; he says, “Cross-merchandising can be key to increasing sales on tools and accessories. Split ring nose pliers located near treble hooks and crank baits, for instance, can not only trigger a reactionary purchase but also leave the customer feeling thankful that the retailer is another trusted guide providing a complete solutions-oriented shopping experience, resulting in better time spent on the water.”

Displays and Packaging

Manufacturer stand-alone displays are beneficial. Danny Jumper of Jumper’s Bait Store and More, located in Benton, Ark., says, “Having the manufacturers send displays for smaller retail stores creates a big impression, acting as a silent salesman as the displays intrigue customers and build brand recognition.

Smith’s Sporting Group, a leading manufacturer of sharpeners, knives, and tools, provides displays with multiple products needed for a fishing or hunting trip. These displays can stand alone in the tackle aisle. “We’ve found that retailers like these displays. By adding multiple products to the display, we’re cross-merchandising our product for the retailer; they then can cross-merchandise our product in the tackle section,” said Ricky Dukes, Vice President of Marketing, Smith’s Sporting Group. In addition to the displays, Smith’s provides combination kits, including knives, sharpeners, and tools. This groups several products into one package. The kits save time and space and are easily placed alongside fishing tackle.

Utilizing these merchandising tactics to tweak your current strategy can make a significant difference when selling fishing accessories and increase sales while providing a better customer experience.

This article originally appeared in the April edition of Fishing Tackle Retailer.

** Dena Vick is the CEO of King Eider Communications, a full-service marketing and public relations firm focusing on the fishing industry.