Sell More Crossbow Broadheads

Expert advice on handling this product category in a way that will benefit you and your customers.

Sell More Crossbow Broadheads

Whether you’re a new dealer or you’ve been in the business for quite a while, making sense of all the broadhead options available can be a challenge. 

For dealers that have been in business longer than 25 years, The number of broadhead manufacturers has probably tripled, maybe even quadrupled over the past 25 years. The landscape has changed drastically and made inventory purchasing decisions far more complex. Broadheads make up a fast-growing category and it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of it. 

With that in mind, I took some time to visit with Jeremy Cheek of The Archeryshack in Anderson, South Carolina, and John Schaffer of Schaffer Performance Archery in Burnsville, Minnesota. The two provided solid insights into their approaches to retailing broadheads.

Brands and Features

With the plethora of brands available, stocking only three or four isn’t the right answer, but neither is 33 or even 23. Finding some middle ground is a good approach. For The Archeryshack, 10 to 12 brands are just right. 

“A handful of them are tried-and-true brands that are popular year after year,” Cheek says. “Another three or four models are ones that have gained traction more recently. From there, we pay attention to trends. A lot can be learned online, but we also have customers come in and request something specific. We often start out conservatively when we purchase a new broadhead, and if it really takes off, then we’ll order a bunch more.

“One example of a recent trend is when some YouTube influencers began pushing cut-on-contact fixed-blade heads. We had folks coming in left and right asking for Magnus Broadheads, so we ramped up our Magnus stock. Another trend was around the G5 Outdoors Megameat mechanical. I don’t know how G5 was advertising and all of that, but we sold tons of those heads.” 

Schaffer didn’t get too tied up in discussing the number of brands a shop should stock. Instead, he detailed what he specifically seeks in a broadhead manufacturer.

“We choose brands based on a combination of things,” he says. “First, we have to like and believe in the product ourselves. We really gravitate toward USA-made stuff. We really like dealer-only items with good margins, and above all, we don’t want our customers to come back and yell at us about the broadheads that we sold them.” 

Fixed-Blades vs. Mechanicals

Perhaps the most common debate in modern archery is fixed-blade vs. mechanical broadheads. Everyone has their opinion, and no matter your geographic location, you can expect there to be demand for both.

“You have to stock both,” Schaffer says. “In our store, preference has gone back and forth a few times over the years. For the last several years now, fixed-blade heads outsell expendables in our store, which is a result of what we personally use and suggest when customers ask. In talking with them, we explain it in very simple terms. With a mechanical, you get a larger hole with less penetration, and with a fixed blade, you get more penetration with a smaller hole. They can decide from there what’s more important.”

Cheek talked through the selling scenario when a customer is loyal to neither side.

“Typically, when someone undecided comes in, we guide them through the decision by sharing which broadheads we’re currently using, as well as ones we’ve used in the past and have had success with,” he says. “Customers love knowing that we have experience with the broadheads that we offer. 

“We did some broadhead testing last year and the year before that for our YouTube channel. It wasn’t scientific or anything fancy, but we shot a bunch of different heads through wood and also at a sharp angle into a target to test for deflection. We kept all of the broadheads after they were shot through a wooden pallet, and we have all of them in a case by the broadhead display. Customers can see how each broadhead held up and make their decision based on the results.”

Fixed-blade broadheads have been around for a very long time, and fundamentally, they haven’t changed; the concept is that the blades create a cutting diameter that doesn’t change. But, the construction and attributes set apart the best ones from the rest.

“Most customers want to re-sharpen their broadheads,” Cheek says. “So we’ve seen a big surge of interest around the solid one-piece heads such as G5’s Montec. In the past, we rarely sold broadhead sharpeners. We’d have one or two in stock, and they’d take forever to sell. Things have changed; we’ve sold several dozen sharpeners just in the last couple of years.

“I don’t want to sell fix-blade broadheads that are junk after one or two shots. I look for something with a super-strong ferrule that either has changeable blades or blades that can be re-sharpened. We also want to offer heads with sharp blades right out of the package. During our test, we took rubber bands and ran them across the blades. With a couple of them, we were basically hacksawing the rubber band with the blades and they wouldn’t cut the band. Sharpness is important. It’s nice to be able to tell a customer that a head is very sharp right out of the package.”

Schaffer has several options in his store, but one specific model that checks all of the boxes is the most popular. “We have a fixed-blade head made specially for us by Wasp,” he says. “We call it the Drone S. It’s a 1-inch all-steel head. It’s by far our best-seller.”

On the mechanical side, there are many different variations, and deployment style seems to be the swaying factor for consumers. Of course, that preference varies by region, as Cheek’s and Schaffer’s opposing observations depict. 

“Of the market’s different types of mechanicals, the rear-deploying designs are the most popular in our store and have been for the last few years,” Cheek says. “We also offer a few jackknife-deploying designs that some people have been shooting for years and are partial to. They’re slowly becoming less popular, though.”  

For Schaffer, it’s a bit different. “On the expandable side, we sell more Grim Reapers than any other,” he says. “We do very well with their Pro Series heads. Most customers prefer the jackknife-style blade deployment. We do have some expendables with rear-deploying blades, too, but we’ve had fewer complaints with the jackknife-style models from Grim Reaper than any of the others.”

Price Points

Broadhead prices have changed extensively over the past 20 years. A three-pack of Rocket expendables retailed for $24.99 in the early 2000s. Today, most three-packs of reputable broadheads are at least $50.

“Surprisingly, we’ve heard nearly no complaints about the price increases,” Cheek says. “Plenty of people are shooting Iron Will heads, which are about $120 for a three-pack, and they don’t think twice about it. Most broadheads we offer are $50-60 for a three-pack, and my customers — even the low- and mid-priced bow buyers — aren’t concerned about it. If anyone hesitates, we’re prepared to explain the differences between what we sell and the $25 three-packs sold at box stores. Our customers trust our opinions and almost always buy from us.”

Contrastingly, Schaffer said that pricing complaints are fairly common. “Customers complain, sure, but there aren’t any significant options that are cheaper,” he says. “So, there isn’t anything they or we can do about it. It’s just a casualty of the times, I guess.”

To that end, let box stores sell the cheap stuff. As a focused retailer, maintain your standards. Quality comes at a price, and most of your customers will understand your lingo when you explain why the broadheads you sell are more expensive than those at the local box store. 

Simple Approach

Broadheads are a bowhunting necessity, so there aren’t a lot of different ways to increase sales via merchandising displays. The best thing you can do is keep them in a static location and organize them in a way that customers can easily decipher.

“We don’t really do anything special with displaying our broadheads,” Cheek says. “We basically organize them by brand. It’s pretty easy for the customer to see what we all have, but we try to talk with them and ask a few questions to learn what exactly they’re after. Then, we can point them in the right direction faster.

“If someone comes in dead set on a particular broadhead, we don’t try to talk them into something different unless we’ve had a poor experience with it. This is where the little plastic box with all of the heads we tested through wood comes in handy. We can tell the customer what we did with each head and show them how it held up.”

Since there are way more broadhead makes and models than a single store can stock, start with a manageable number and offer a selection of both fixed-blade and mechanical heads. Track which brands and SKUs sell best and adjust your stock to meet the local demand.


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