The Business Magazine of the Fishing & Marine Industry

What Should You Be Stocking In Your Store?

Mr. Brown, now that’s a really stupid question to ask! The obvious answer to the question is “fishing tackle!” Remember, we are a store that sells products to fishermen.

Okay, that’s valid, but I would point out that I have been in hundreds of tackle stores that, in addition to tackle, sell food, liquor, both men’s and ladies’ apparel, hunting apparel and accessories, camping equipment and an amazing plethora of both related and non-related inventory.

I would also point out that all sales are paid for with either cash or credit cards. I assure you, the cash register is indifferent as to what is rung up so long as it is some form of inventory or service.

I’ve seen very successful fishing tackle stores sell apparel, assorted foods and snacks, bicycles, motorcycles, guns and hunting equipment, marine items and a cornucopia of products that are unrelated to fishing but have great attraction to consumers. If non-related merchandise sells well, add it to your merchandise mix and let the register ring!

In fact, tackle retailers should routinely be doing a “walk about” to gain exposure as to what other retailers, tackle and otherwise, are selling to the public. If beer, ice cream and cupcakes will generate $100,000 in sales at 50% markup, why not!

This concept is not in conflict with a desire to portray your store as a tackle specialist. Similarly, Walgreens, who specializes in selling medications and first aid supplies, takes great pleasure selling liquor, auto accessories, candy, cosmetics and a large selection of non-related home products. If it sells, then stand back and let the register ring!

Aside from making prejudgments about what will and will not sell in your store, sales only come from what you put on the shelves and racks in your store. The single cause of lost sales is simply being out of stock of in-demand items. While you may think you have a handle on stock status, in the absence of a definitive measuring device, you are making guesses and estimate of the percent of time you have a positive stock position on the “A” grade items, those which account for 80% to 90% of your sales.

The cost of being out of stock on popular key items is huge, both in dollar terms and qualitative terms. It is possible to calculate the cost in dollars, but the cost in non-dollar effects will have very long-term and significant repercussions.

Nothing irritates the consumer more than finding the dealer out of stock on basic inventory, particularly for advertised merchandise. Fishing tackle retailers are usually destination stores, therefore the customer has invested time and effort in coming to the store. How many times does a customer have to visit a store and NOT find what they need before they permanently drop the retailer in favor of his competitors or the internet?

Inventory, pricing, displays, signage and perception of value all heavily contribute to the volume and velocity of sales. Also, consumer interest is maintained and enhanced by the addition of new and interesting inventory. Make your store a destination location where the consumer will find what is basic to an outdoorsman’s needs as well as a place where the new and interesting is available.

Combine all this with competitive pricing, adequate sales staff, creative merchandising which changes regularly and you have the recipe for sustainability and enriched profits. Now make it so!