It would be a good bet that an extremely small percentage of SHOT Show attendees recognized the impressive concept SIG SAUER was showcasing in an entire SIG-branded Elite Dealer room tucked into its booth behind the all of pistols, rifles, short-barreled rifles, optics, apparel, suppressors, ammunition and airsoft guns
Walking by the SIG booth at SHOT many times I missed the room until realizing that SIG SAUER had launched a Store-Within-A-Store Program for select Elite Program member stores. The concept is not new. It’s the same as, for example, placing an Apple, Samsung or Dell mini store inside a Best Buy store to deliver the full-brand marketing impact with highly trained sellers with deep product knowledge of the brand and same-brand cross merchandising. Though a highly successful concept, store-within-a-store has not been particularly widely used or well executed in the firearms market. SIG has embraced the concept and is already changing how its Elite Dealers can deliver a more engaging customer experience with higher overall revenues.
Shooting Sports Retailer had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Director of Channel Marketing Amy Dee the program and what SIG Dealers could expect as they grow into an Elite Dealer.
SSR: Can you tell retailers about the program?
Dee: The general concept is to deliver a high-value experience for the in-store customer while maximizing retailer sales per square foot for retailers. Customers will walk into a store and see a specially designed and integrated 200 to 800 square foot SIG SAUER sales area featuring a full line of our products. The program is limited to our top Elite Program dealers who have shown consistent sales as full-line SIG SAUER retailers — meaning they are selling far more than just handguns or rifles. The program is limited to select stores and geographies to prevent competitive overlap.
SSR: What type of experience could a customer expect?
Dee: Customers can expect to see a heavily SIG-branded store experience. In most cases we have an integrated branding experience that can combine SIG-branded flooring, wall murals, specially designed sales fixtures, back-light signage and even window decals. The great thing is that every location and installation has a different layout, design and feel — no two SIG Stores within retailers are the same. Customers are being sold by a SIG SAUER-trained retail store employee who will have complete knowledge of our product portfolio. Our intent is for customers to feel passionate about their purchases and drive a new type of buying experience at the retail level.
SSR: You mentioned at SHOT Show you already had more than 20 of these store concepts launched.
Dee: Actually the numbers have grown since then. As of March we now have launched our 30th store concept and the response from those dealers has been significant. We have also heard from other dealers who are interested in the program.
SSR: How do these Elite Program dealers maintain higher margins and revenue through the program?
Dee: There are a number of potential ways. Within the program, minimum advertised price is strictly enforced. However, Elite Program dealers do get priority inventory access over any other retailer and even over distributors. This product availability for Elite Dealers enhances sell-through rates, delivers quicker product shipments and improves the customer experience.
SSR: What type of additional marketing support is SIG offering?
Dee: Beyond the special in-store signage, we are supporting the Elite Program dealers with geo-targeted marketing campaigns, SIG personnel on-site in the store during events and kickoffs and special marketing positioning such as featured notation on our site. We also have various other new marketing programs which we are testing as well. The goal really is more of a cooperative partnership program where we work together to drive success at the retailer. SIG has a lot of time, expense and resources dedicated to this program, and we want to do everything possible to see our dealers be wildly successful with our Elite Program.
SSR: How does SIG select who will be part of the Elite Program?
Dee: Retailers should understand that this is not a program they can request to be part of. This program is limited to a select set of retailers which are nominated by the SIG Sales Support team. The SIG sales team is looking for dealers who have long proven histories selling across all SIG product categories. Our sales team constantly evaluates and looks for new potential retailers which could qualify for the program. Once a potential new Elite
Program dealer is identified, we begin exploring the idea with the dealer, perform a deep credit history analysis and begin a lot of work with in-store design planning and stocking teams. This program is not something SIG is jumping into with dealers quickly or a decision and investment we are taking lightly. In this program we are making commitments to the dealer and they are making commitments to us cultivating a very tight partnership. The entire SIG SAUER organization is excited and working together to bring to the idea to market.
SSR: After the Elite Dealer is up and running with the program, what other support can the dealer expect from SIG?
Dee: We supply a lot of insight back to the dealer using the point of sale data they provide. We use AccuSport data, who are the leaders in data insight for the shooting sports industry. That insight helps both the dealer and SIG understand how we can improve sales, the product mix and sell-through rates.
There is also a SIG SAUER training team married with each sales region which support the dealers and in-store sellers with custom in-store training and real-time video conference training. We also have pre-recorded self-learning training programs which dealers can use to track their employees training achievements through the program. There are even armors courses available to the dealer employees to become certified armors.
What is important for firearms retailers to understand with this concept is that the store-within-a-store model has proven itself to be a powerful sales tool in all other areas of retail business. These manufacturer-backed programs drive additional foot traffic into stores, create a memorable and enjoyable experience for the customer and proven cross-product sales formulas for sale staff that are well laid out. In this situation, SIG SAUER is in a unique position to deliver customers everything they could need under a single brand, including firearms, ammunition, optics, apparel, suppressors and even holsters and accessories. For growing SIG SAUER dealers this is certainly something to aspire to.