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Cosmetics can make all the difference in archery sales!

Cosmetics Can Make All The Difference In Archery Sales!

Most hardcore archers demand performance above all else. They want bows to be dependable, quiet, and efficient. They want arrows to be straight, uniform, and accurate. And they want accessories to be functional, compact, and easy to manipulate. Nonetheless, many archery sales occur on impulse, and the glow and glitter of hardware tends to turn an average consumer's head as quickly as design perfection. This fact disappoints some archery dealers, but it is something that cannot be disputed.

I firmly believe that every retailer has a solemn responsibility to sell the best possible products to patrons. To do so is only fair and right, and it also benefits you because a happy customer is a "return" customer. However, you should stock products that have cosmetic "sex appeal" as well. Fortunately, many archery goods are both pleasant to look at and enjoyable to use.

Take for instance aluminum arrow shafts. Any Gamegetter or XX75 is more accurate than the archer aiming that projectile, no matter what the color of the shaft happens to be. Plain-Jane arrows in traditional Autumn Orange or Gamegetter green fly true to the mark, and these actually blend quite well with the woods to the eyes of color-blind animals. Despite this, the two-tone Camo-Hunter pattern has sold especially well in recent years because customers like the way it looks. Easton, Jim Dougherty, and others have very recently capitalized on this fact with new, provocative arrow finishes. The shafts themselves are the same superb tubes as before, but their "enhanced graphics" appearance is taking the industry by storm. Notable examples are new 1989 Easton shafts in popular Trebark and RealTree camo colorations, and Jim Dougherty's Serpent arrow with its eye-stopping scale-camo pattern. Given a choice, many customers prefer great arrows with a dazzling finish over great arrows with less cosmetic character.

The best-selling

bows today are

often the jazziest

in appearance.

Bows are another notable example. Ten years ago, most firms steered clear of camouflage finishes in favor of colorful, high-gloss limbs and handles. Today, manufacturing trends are split, with some bows shiny and some artfully camouflaged to attract the eye. Regardless of philosophy, almost all bow-makers recognize the importance of visual impact on the archery store rack.

The best-selling bows today are often the jazziest in appearance. For example, check out PSE's new Mask Camo, a striking pattern of gray leaves against a dull black background. This is available on Fire-Flite, Strato-Flite, and other popular models. Similarly, Browning's new Vectra compound bow can be purchased in three-color Evergreen or Bark camo. Hoyt's new brown Trebark finishes are among the most eye-arresting, setting off any bow in their line.

Some manufacturers rely on the natural look of wood to help sell their bows. Martin Archery is especially good at this, with no less than 15 different models displaying colorful exotic woods in handle and/or limbs. Especially popular are the Warthog A Plus with its multi-laminate handle in two colors, and the Super Diablo recurve bow with hand-crafted zebrawood throughout and clear bow-limb glass to show every gorgeous detail. The Hoyt Huntmaster takedown recurve is a similar concert of wood lamination - both beautiful and practical. There are dozens of other examples.

Recurve limbs in compound bows are also popular today because they look good. Manufacturer claims not withstanding, my laboratory tests indicate that there is not six cents worth of difference between the performance of a straight compound limb and one with a mild "S" curve. However, nobody I know prefers the functional, utilitarian look of a straight limb to the elegant grace of a recurve limb. Golden Eagle Archery discovered this several years ago, and has been offering a full line of handsome recurve compounds ever since. Other companies have recently followed suit. Given a choice between the straight and recurve limb, many consumers prefer the recurving shape hands down.

Even blatant "glitz" in bows has its fans. For example, several companies sell models with laser-art panels or small wildlife paintings on the handles. Metalflake paint jobs are also hot sellers. On a more sedate note, optional wooden grips are moving briskly on bows this year because they look great in sharp contrast against a metal handle riser. Pro Line, Hoyt, PSE, and others sell bows with optional hardwood grips.

Not surprisingly, the manufacturing trend toward nifty appearance spans all types of equipment, large and small. Camouflage patterns are especially popular because bowhunters identify with the need for proper concealment. However, snappy camo on a broadhead, bow quiver, bowsight, or rangefinder won't make or break your hunt. What it will do is sell products. Martin Archery's green and gray camo Super Quivers stand out in a crowd of standard black models, and Satellite's Hunting Sight in two-tone finish offers a similar advantage. Given a choice, some consumers will undoubtedly choose Bear Archery's new Kodiak broadhead with its green-and-black camouflage center section instead of another equally functional but unadorned model. Similarly, Ranging's popular 50/2 Mini Rangefinder and 5x Dusk And Dawn binocular are state-of-the-art optical archery aids, but the camouflage patterns on both certainly do not hamper sales!

When stocking up on products for 1989, be sure to remember the sales power of cosmetic fluff. An attention-riveting finish might not improve accuracy or bowhunting success, but it is sure to increase the flow of money across your counter.

PHOTO : The camo coloration on Ranging's archery rangefinders might not make or break a stalk, but it certainly catches a bowhunter's eye.

PHOTO : Easton's new "enhanced graphics" shafts in Trebark and Real Tree are extremely popular with hunters in 1989.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Adams, Chuck
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Previous Article:"The right of the people ...." Not if Newsweek and Time have their way.
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