Windward Insider Blog
How to Successfully Blend Sporting Goods with Firearms Sales
You Need the Right Software
Take it from me, Jimmy Carmichael, you need to have the right software in place if you're planning on selling fishing rods and firearms from the same store. I've got the experience and the know-how, and I won't lead you astray.
Especially in the United States, where strict Federal regulations must be met in order to maintain your Federal Firearms License (FFL) to sell.
These protect both gun owners and the general public, by providing rigid control over the sale and movement of firearms.
Rules mean regulatory forms to complete and detailed reports to be generated– like the 3310 for multiple purchase of firearms; or the time consuming 4473 customer firearm transaction record.
The biggest challenge is the FADR (Firearms Acquisition and Disposition Record) that requires you to keep a secure Bound Book.
Changing from a hand-recorded Bound Book to an electronic system, or even changing software systems, can create data loading challenges for transferring historical information.
When you receive a firearms shipment, you must process each individual firearm into the system.
And just when you think it’s time to relax and go fishing, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) may drop an unscheduled inspection on your store.
Talk about a disruption to your business!
It can literally take days for multiple Industry Operations Investigators to validate your records.
And we haven’t even started to talk about tracking trade-ins, gunsmithing, or running a range rental component in your business.
At this point you may be thinking, "It’s too much hassle – let’s forego firearms altogether."
With all the forms, regulations, rules, liabilities - let alone managing it all, how can it be worth it to maintain a Firearms section in your Sporting Goods store?
But before you throw the firearms out with the garden center idea, remember – there is good money in this industry, as well as in keeping your customers in your store for all their sporting goods needs.
You can Kit firearms, and sell ammunition, camouflage gear, optics, holsters, targets, cases - everything the hunter needs - with one-stop shopping.
Plus, upsell them a fishing rod and reel, just in case that moose doesn’t show up.
But here’s the real problem:
How do you manage it all within your business, without spending all your time on the phone with the ATF?
Or worse, having the FBI or the CIA call you because you accidentally sold something to the wrong person?
What software is going to run your entire Sporting Goods business complete with Firearms seamlessly adding to your bottom line?
You’ve probably guessed by now that Windward Software is Sporting Goods’ Greatest Ally.
Windward’s integrated business management software, Windward System Five, was created in 1984 for tracking a single furniture store.
Today, over 4000 clients in 20 different verticals use our integrated Sales, Service and Rental software, handled through our offices in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. Including 24/7 Live Customer Support anywhere in the world.
Thanks to our Microsoft Gold Partner Certified Development team, we have added the essential features for the Firearms Industry to our proven flagship software.
With System Five, your Firearms department is completely integrated into the rest of your retail Sporting Goods business. Accounting, inventory, warehouse, Point of Sale – and all of your firearms regulations and reporting.
So, when that shipment of firearms shows up, you’re on it, using Default Unit records that store the information used to auto populate firearm details.
Not to brag, but the Windward Electronic Bound Book is one of the best in the industry.
Which means, if those ATF officers show up, you’re ready.
In System Five, complicated firearms tracking is always up to date.
Our Electronic Bound Book stores and reports in detail the customer name, serial number and other purchase information to fulfill your FFL requirements, including:
▪ Type (e.g., Rifles, Shotguns, Pistols, Revolvers, etc.)
▪ Categories (e.g. Gunsmith Activities and National Firearms Act Weapons.)
▪ Seller/Purchaser (e.g. Dealer, Manufacturer and Importers)
▪ Specialized FFLs
The Electronic Bound Book is integrated with advanced reporting tools built right into System Five, so all it takes is exporting your reports to Excel or a PDF and emailing them to the ATF to satisfy their requirements.
The ATF does not grant accreditation to any software solutions, but the Windward Development team maintains consistent personal contact with their office to ensure that our software supports our clients in compliance to any regulation changes.
Which means one less headache for our clients – because we do that regulatory work for you, so you can keep serving your customers.
We even support data loading of detailed firearms information directly into our Bound Book. Make, Model and Action.
System Five also speeds up the time spent at the sales counter.
Imagine if you had to do a Form 4473 on every fisherman who asked to buy a fishing license?
Only purchasing firearms is this time consuming.
But with System Five running your business, the process of having a firearms customer fill out the correct form is streamlined and secure.
To purchase firearms in the United States, customers are required to fill out a Firearms Transaction Record (Form 4473).
A lot of information is required, including:
- Name and personal information
- Background check transaction number
- Firearms information (make, model, serial number).
The form can be tedious to fill out, and must be completed entirely by the customer, not the store – plus if they make a mistake, it can cause delays - or you may lose the sale entirely.
That’s why Windward Software developed an online kiosk that enables your customers to fill out a Form 4473 with ease:
- Prompts customer to fill out required fields
- Notifies customer of potential errors
- Forms can be printed, then saved as electronic files.
The best part is, the additional stand-alone terminal you need for the 4473 to stay secure is linked into your System Five with no extra licensing fee. (available to customers hosting their solution on-premise)
System Five even makes customizing a firearm simple.
Putting a personal touch on a firearm and related equipment is a popular practice..
Your customers will want to customize or modify their firearms by adding accessories and details like:
- Gun lock and secure storage
- Recoil pads
- Additional clips or magazines.
Special orders are easy with the built-in ‘kits’ feature in System Five.
Similar to a Bill of Materials, kitting provides an itemized breakdown of the individual components in the assembly of a firearm. A line for each kit component can be added on the invoice to help the customer understand exactly what they are paying for.
Plus, each component is automatically subtracted from your inventory.
When it comes to increasing sales, kitting is also a great tool.
Setting up kits in advance within System Five prompts your staff to ask the customer if they would like additional items as upsells, by linking accessories to a particular firearm.
This can be as simple as ammunition, optics, targets, grip and stocks - or any string of items that help the customer get more value from their initial purchase.
Kitting gives you the opportunity to sell them something they may not have thought of, but they will thank you for later.
Like, when they are sitting on a mountain top in the rain waiting for a buck, and happen to have their new waterproof shooting gloves.
Or, when they’re pulling out that collapsible rod you sold them and tossing that hook into the river, after their day of hunting didn’t produce dinner.
Which brings us back to where we started...
Your Sporting Goods store is here to offer a full, outdoor experience to your customers, not result in you spending time wrestling with inferior software and reporting to various Federal agencies.
And System Five is designed to help you run your entire Sporting Goods business, not just a portion of it.
To learn more about integrated business management software that will help you run your Sporting Goods business efficiently and accurately, including your Firearms department, please call us to today at Windward Software.
Call +1 (800) 663-5750 or click here to book an appointment for a personalized demonstration.