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3 Ways to Boost Sporting Goods Sales

With numerous lakes and rivers within a 50 mile radius of Spokane, the General Store has an ideal setting to sell sporting goods. The anchor department is the Fishing Hole and Sports Shop, which covers land and water sports, for all seasons, including kayaks, fishing and hunting gear, snow shoes and disc golfing. Foot traffic from the outdoor enthusiast usually spills over into other categories such as marine, pool supplies, clothing and shoes. 

McKee says that some of his heroes of the sporting goods category are the seasonal and impulse items that may not take up a lot of space or inventory dollars. For example, among his offering of premium coolers, the best sellers are the less expensive tumblers and drinkware. Pool toys and flotation devices ring up the most sales in his pool and marine departments. 

If you want to add sporting goods to your product mix, you don’t have to go as deep as McKee. In fact, you don’t even have to be in a rural area. A small selection of sporting goods can offer the perfect add-on category to drive seasonal sales and impulse purchases for a wide customer demographic. 


Here are 3 Ways to Make This Category a Hero

Narrow Your Selection. When creating your assortment, trust the numbers, either the ones provided by your vendor that list top sellers or the figures from previous year’s sales history. If you don’t want to take up a lot of space or if you’re trying out a new vendor, go for the best sellers with the most universal appeal first instead of offering a wider selection. 

“This is a good rule of thumb for most categories where you have limited space: Narrow your selection and go deep on those items,” McKee says. 

Focus on Impulse. For the most effective impulse displays, focus on seasonal sellers, such as tumblers and coolers or pool toys. Also look for unique items that are low-cost with a wide appeal. 

McKee’s impulse hero is a line of stickers, many of them with outdoor and recreational themes. A spinner rack of stickers outperforms every other product line in the store. The line has been so popular, “We even developed our own line of stickers, which are sourced direct from a supplier overseas,” he says.

Visit Specialty Shows. If you want to make a larger entrance into sporting goods, visit a specialty show with vendors specific to that category. That’s generally where you’ll find the widest selection and best advice.

“For a category like sporting goods, I don’t recommend relying solely on your hardware supplier to be your only source,” he says. “Go outside the channel and look for the best pricing. Those specialty wholesalers can also show you what you need to stock.”

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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