Data isn’t the only thing that matters in business. Relationships between co-workers and customers are key, as are the often-overlooked ties between retailers and distributors. Distributors have insights and connections individual retailers don’t. Asking can make all the difference.
Michele Salerno, Director of Marketing Asst. VP at Celerant, says that “Dealers tend to have limited visibility into what is selling (or not) at other gun shops across the country. Having access to this data helps them make better buying decisions, which can also be based on their region, as that can be a factor as well. Using industry-wide data to guide buying decisions can only help dealers be more competitive.” This data is available through NASGW’s SCOPE. While SCOPE has long focused on distributor data, SCOPE CLX now offers retailer data. Celerant collects retailer sales data from participating dealers through their software and anonymously passes it on to SCOPE. This information is then aggregated.
Sometimes data is only valuable if it’s timely. According to Salerno, “NASGW is extremely efficient and provides their aggregated reporting within two weeks, as opposed to taking two months, which helps that much more as timing is very important, and things can change very quickly.”
Kenyon Gleason, President of NASGW, also heartily believes in the importance of data to retailers. “SCOPE can be an invaluable tool in getting a read on the market and your place in it,” he said. “It can help you know what’s selling, and what might be on the decline. It gives you a look ahead and a look outward. It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day decisions but SCOPE allows you to see the shooting sports industry at a much deeper and wider level.” At the bottom of this chain, retailers may not see what is going on outside their small area. Media and marketing help, but cannot always be relied upon. “If you aren’t using data in your business, or don’t see the value, I’d really challenge whether or not you’re seeing the complete picture,” Gleason offered. “Data is king today. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Justin Card, Compliance Manager at Triangle Shooting Academy in North Carolina, uses SCOPE CLX to verify or contradict what he and his team thinks is going on in the marketplace. CLX also allows him to sort by geographical region to see what is going on locally and across the country. In example, certain calibers are more popular in Western states than Eastern states simply due to access to ranges and hunting opportunities.
The shooting sports industry fluctuations more often than many others largely due to the political climate. “Our market can turn on a dime,” Card said. “One minute things are slow, and the next you can't keep inventory on the shelves. Having some level of real statistical data can only help buying decisions to be prepared for these changes. Whether it is used or not, looking at it can only be beneficial.”
SCOPE’s data reports truly quantify the anomalies of 2020 and 2021, while 2019 data provides a more stable comparison. Spending time conferring with other industry members can also help retailers to make sense of things. “Distributors are fortunate enough to do business in the middle of the sales channel,” Gleason explained. “They see things from all aspects of our industry. While it’s great to order from them, and I’m certain they appreciate it, you should strongly consider making your calls to distributors much more detailed and inquisitive. Ask them what they are seeing, both good and bad. They too have access to SCOPE and if you work in concert with them, they can be a valuable component of your business decision-making strategy.”
It's easy to get boxed into what’s happening in your store or in your area without seeing the big picture. Consider it the difference between looking outside and seeing it’s raining versus knowing how long it may last and how severe it may get with radar.
Data also doesn’t have to be overwhelming. SCOPE’s integration with Celerant makes it especially simple for the retailer. “Being able to pull this aggregated data back from SCOPE CLX and into our software —the same place where our dealers are creating their orders—only makes it that much easier for our retailers. The NASGW Scope CLX is a valuable industry project to better the industry overall —helping all aspects of the industry. From manufacturers, to distributors, to now retailers—this data enables all parties to make better decisions, significantly helping with supply and demand.”
SCOPE data allows users to search specific product SKU’s and sort by region, product type and many other combinations to paint a true picture of what is happening. Retailers are often left out of the mix, but no longer. To advance your business, remember to trust but verify with SCOPE and leverage your existing relationships.