Editor's Note: The information and contacts quoted in this article were provided by Gun Industry Marketplace.
By: Randy Tucker
For generations, the big three gun makers in America were Browning, Winchester, and Remington, with a nod to Colt, Smith and Wesson, Savage, Springfield, and Mossberg. But as technology entered the marketplace, cottage industry soon followed in the firearms market.
Niche markets have sprouted up like mushrooms after a summer rain, and the demand for consumer-specific marketing has grown along with them.
The digital market has created online venues that not only rival the largest physical gun and outdoor retail sites in major cities, but exceed them when it comes to access to inventory, variety of choices, and services offered. These marketing sites don’t sell guns; they provide information, access, and link buyers and sellers,
Providing a marketplace for the gun industry through a central site is a growing trend with the present limitations placed on the selling of guns, ammunition, and accessories on social media sites.
Gun Industry Marketplace is a prime example of this trend. A quick perusal of their website lists a variety of suppliers offering handguns, rifles, and shotguns for the consumer, along with a detailed database of parts for repairing or enhancing firearms. Ammunition, accessories, and gear are all part of the online experience, and with the ease of delivery now available through a wide variety of delivery services, it’s almost like being there right on your own computer, tablet, or smart phone.
A generation ago, kids always started shooting with open sights, and as they grew older, they might purchase a Bushnell scope from a local retail store. But those kids, now in their 40’s, 50’s 60’s, and beyond, never dreamed of the variety of high-quality optics that would become available with the click of a button.
An example of an ancillary industry that doesn’t actually build guns or gun accessories is Armalot Media. With all the choices available in firearms today, it is easy for a manufacturer to get lost. Armalot Media specializes in getting brands and retailers noticed in a growingly hostile digital marketplace. They work with hundreds of shooting, hunting, and outdoor sites to give retailers, local guns stores, ranges, and events the best possible digital media advertising.
Their specialty is marketing, and they do it so the people working directly with firearms and accessories can be effectively advertised.
“We specialize in digital advertising. There are so many restrictive laws in gun advertising now, it makes it difficult,” Garrick Bogue of Armalot said. “We have a direct relationship with 700+ gun-related sites. We can advertize without any creative restrictions. We won’t be shot down by Google or Facebook.”
The 2016 election had adverse effects on the gun industry, creating a downtrend in the marketplace. The fear of gun confiscation was gone and demand dropped as a result. New laws restricting the advertising and selling of guns on social media sites added to the loss in sales.
“Advertising is becoming a real problem, so we came up with a simple solution to put (gun) products out there,” Bogue said. “Anything in the shooting industry can be advertized. We work with a lot of manufacturers as well.”
Armalot, located in Rhode Island, has been in business for the last six years.
Gun Industry Marketplace and Armalot are essential to established, online gun and gun-related industries, but what if you don’t have a web presence, or you think you’re just too small an operation to jump onto the Internet?
If that is your situation, Gearfire, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, is an innovative web-design company that can put you on par with the big boys in digital marketing.
Gearfire is a full-service, start-to-finish web-design company that creates a turnkey enterprise for you. From the first mouse click to the payment and placing of orders, Gearfire streamlines the process for you.
At present, Gearfire has created online platforms for more than 2000 firearms retailers. They have built ecommerce sites for everyone from mom and pop FFLs, all the way to five-star gun ranges.
No client is too big or too small for Gearfire. They’ll design a site exclusively for your business that puts your presence online and increases your customer base from local traffic to global contacts.
Linking markets to consumers is a key in any industry, and in the firearms world, with the myriad choices available to the American gun enthusiast, it is the key to success and future growth.
Randy Tucker is a retired history teacher and freelance writer from western Wyoming. He has a lifetime of experience in farming, ranching, hunting and fishing in the shadow of the Wind River Mountains. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.