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Old 05-29-2012, 03:45 PM #1
paintball8869
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Store owners paint sales suggestions?

I've been in the paintball business for the past decade. Opened a field 7 years ago and it's running great. I just opened a store in another location, replacing a paintball store that had gone out of business. It went out of business due to lack of owner interest, not customers.

At this store, in the past 7 months, we have had great success! (think Borat as you're reading this, I know I am). Since most of our customers come from our field, we're already selling them paint at the field. I cant seem to increase the paint sales at the store. I'm only selling 10-20 cases a month at the store. Now this may be a good thing, since I'm selling more now than at this time last year at the field and customers are frequenting both of my businesses.

Long story short, the goal is to get into the minds of the "recball/outlawball" players that are out there for the paint sales at the store. They dont have to come to the field, because some are just against paying to play at a field, but I want them to buy my paint at the store. Does anyone have any great tricks?

What we have going so far, successfully:
-Email marketing through Constant Contact
-Facebook page has seen huge growth in the past year, lots of talk on it from customers (positive talk!)
-Groupon has been an oustanding improvement, 15-20 new players per weekend, who are buying field paint after


I've got a TV ad running right now. Just started a couple weeks ago, so time will tell on that.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:08 PM #2
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Well, can you compete with Dick's / Walmart / other big box retailers? I would assume that they are capable of offering lower prices than you are, which is obviously the main attraction for people that refuse to pay to play at a field, which might be why they aren't really biting.

Are you giving the Outlaw-ball players a reason to shop with you, besides great customer service? What are you doing differently to cater to this specific crowd compared to the normal players?
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:09 PM #3
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gas incentive maybe?? But a case of paint, get free air, or co2 fill?? Outlaw players may like that...
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:12 PM #4
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Our paint prices are $38 a case for our lowest price, Dicks/Walmart are at $36 for their paint. I'm not sure if that's making too big of a difference.

I'm not doing anything different for outlaw ballers. I know that's the main problem, just not sure what there is to do that will get them coming in the door.

I do like that air incentive. I'll have to give that a try for a couple months and see how things go.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:11 PM #5
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As a fellow business owner, I like your overall business plan and goals. You seem to be utilizing various marketing tools such as the TV ad, Groupon, email marketing and social media.

I have never been to your store, nor do I own a paintball store myself, however as a player I would appreciate a few simple things to keep me coming back.

Those are-

#1: Level with your customers. Relate to them and try to see things from their perspective, then talk to them like you are going to be playing alongside them.

#2: Offer incentives. If I have to drive a bit out of the way through traffic to get to a paintball store, I would rather them appreciate my business and offer a stepped discount or a package deal for what I need. Offer so much off paint with the purchase of a set number of cases or gear. Maybe offer a package deal that caters to the outlawball crowd? It allows the customer to walk in and efficiently get what he needs without sitting there for an hour trying to think about it and in the end he saves a couple of dollars.

#3: Go the extra mile and offer more than your competitors. Some customers would rather order online and eat shipping costs while waiting a few days to get their gear than drive an hour away for a store that sells things $5 higher. Go that extra mile to ensure that the hastle is eliminated. If you lose $10 on an $100+ sale, but gain a loayal customer, then that is a worthy investment in my opinion. Get their feedback on the products you sell, as well as your store.

Maybe offer to offer to support their outtings and help them grow?
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:27 PM #6
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One thing that was successful at a local store I shopped at a while back was "seconds" paint.

This paint was dirt cheep, @ 20$ a case with tax. Of course it was dimpled, had a watery fill, or poor seams (sometimes all 3) but when I'm not buying field paint or event paint I enjoy having some trash paint I can use at home to make sure my markers are working or for fine tuning.

From what I remember RPS and DXS offer seconds. Hit them up, they usually sell really well.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:32 PM #7
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Hate to say it... but the other choice... don't bother.

If it means giving away product cheap, that will affect the profits made from other customers, then you might be better off spending your time trying to maximize the profits from customers that want to spend money with you instead of spending time, money and resources chasing pennies from people that will never be profitable customers.

But that is the call you have to make...
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:35 PM #8
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Try advertising and promoting a buy so many cases of paint or spend so much on equipment from your store, get free entry/air to your field.

This might attract some outlaw paintballers to your store instead of Dicks/Walmart/Internet because then they can earn free entry to your paintball field every so often and play for the same price, and get to play at an actual field than some probably poor quality outlaw field they recball at.

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Old 05-30-2012, 09:18 AM #9
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I am not a store or field owner, but have good friends who own both. From what I’ve seen Outlaw groups like take advantage of bulk paint discounts. $5 off per case if you buy X amount. Also, they usually have 2-3 guys that represent the group and those are the guys that you will see at the store with 15 CO2 tanks that need filled. You might want to try giving them some discount/free passes to the field to see if they can drag a few others along with them to check it out.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:39 AM #10
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It seems like your entire business plan is working out great! Why fix a system that isn't broken? Like Gat said... sometimes it isn't worth it. An HBR article I've read before mentioned that doing something poorly may enable you to do something else incredibly well...and if you have 2 stores and a field in 10 years, I'd say you are on the right track.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:44 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paintball8869 View Post
Our paint prices are $38 a case for our lowest price, Dicks/Walmart are at $36 for their paint. I'm not sure if that's making too big of a difference.

I'm not doing anything different for outlaw ballers. I know that's the main problem, just not sure what there is to do that will get them coming in the door.

I do like that air incentive. I'll have to give that a try for a couple months and see how things go.
I think you have a couple of options. If you have a mailing list, consider having a printer do a run of high quality posters/mailers. Then mail them out to your customer base. One successful thing that Pev's used to do before big games several years ago was send a flyer noting the special paint sale. They'd usually have two cases for one price. $80 for a case of Marballizer and a case of Premium. Or $xx for a case of Evil and a case of Premium. As others have said, the bulk pricing tends to attract people. I'd also explicitly call out "Outlaw ballers welcome" or something similar.

Another options, and this may be labor intensive, would be to seek out online forums/sites where the local recball/outlaw ball crowd congregates. I know of a couple of local DC forums that exist to a subset of the crowd that you'd get on PBN or other larger paintball sites. If you can advertise there, you may see a significant return on your investment of time.

I think the other solution is word of mouth. Outlaw ball players tend to be a much more cohesive, organized and communicative group (I mean...they almost have to be just to get games going). If you get one or two people in that group letting everyone else know about the deals/sales they're getting, you'll see an uptick in sales. With that group it's really about personal relationships...establishing them and then meeting their needs.

Just my $.02
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:13 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lopez17 View Post
I think you have a couple of options. If you have a mailing list, consider having a printer do a run of high quality posters/mailers. Then mail them out to your customer base. One successful thing that Pev's used to do before big games several years ago was send a flyer noting the special paint sale. They'd usually have two cases for one price. $80 for a case of Marballizer and a case of Premium. Or $xx for a case of Evil and a case of Premium. As others have said, the bulk pricing tends to attract people. I'd also explicitly call out "Outlaw ballers welcome" or something similar.

Another options, and this may be labor intensive, would be to seek out online forums/sites where the local recball/outlaw ball crowd congregates. I know of a couple of local DC forums that exist to a subset of the crowd that you'd get on PBN or other larger paintball sites. If you can advertise there, you may see a significant return on your investment of time.

I think the other solution is word of mouth. Outlaw ball players tend to be a much more cohesive, organized and communicative group (I mean...they almost have to be just to get games going). If you get one or two people in that group letting everyone else know about the deals/sales they're getting, you'll see an uptick in sales. With that group it's really about personal relationships...establishing them and then meeting their needs.

Just my $.02
Really like the 1st and 3rd paragraphs here. The two case deal is a great idea.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:05 PM #13
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Print you up some business cards with a five dollars off entry fee take to wlamart sporting department let them hand them out for you. we also give them the cards because the boxstores don't fill co2 it is to much of a problem and it should be done by us in the stores or fields. I have done this for the past five years and it does increase traffic. another thing not cutting to deep into profit is to offer a free airfill with purchase of a new tank.
offer upgrades for that walmart gun. barrels all woodsball/renaged players want to shoot you far away.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:41 AM #14
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In addition to some of the suggestions above, you also want to educate your customers about paint, and what the differences are between recreational grade and tournament grade, and what the benefits of using fresh paint geared towards the type of marker they're using, as opposed to paint that's been sitting on the shelves of <any big box store name here>. Most customers, when educated about the benefits of fresh paint, they'll spend a little extra money to get better quality.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:54 AM #15
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Quote:
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In addition to some of the suggestions above, you also want to educate your customers about paint, and what the differences are between recreational grade and tournament grade, and what the benefits of using fresh paint geared towards the type of marker they're using, as opposed to paint that's been sitting on the shelves of <any big box store name here>. Most customers, when educated about the benefits of fresh paint, they'll spend a little extra money to get better quality.
this

It seems most woodsball/scenario players don't understand that fresher and higher quality paint = better accuracy. Just mentioning an improvement in accuracy is enough to get them excited.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:37 PM #16
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Originally Posted by IrockanEGO View Post
It seems most woodsball/scenario players don't understand that fresher and higher quality paint = better accuracy. Just mentioning an improvement in accuracy is enough to get them excited.
Especially since recballers rely more on accuracy than just sheer volume of paint thrown to get g's
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:42 PM #17
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From a players perspective who has done this every way.

I have bought from the field I play at (Minimum $45/case but great quality)

Bought from my local store($38 for SPectrum or Infinity)

Bought from Wal-Mart($35 for JT Elite, or $30 for JT Rec)

As much as I want to support the local store and field, and as odd as it sounds I have had better quality results from the JT walmart paint, the Elite has thick bright fills and decent quality shells. The Spectrum and Infinity I get from the store/field seems to have harder shells, runny not as bright fills and is a few bux more.

The XO paint at the field for $45 is a great deal for that quality but $10 difference for a lot of us makes the difference between playing once a month and twice.

all my opinion of course, but I know I would always buy at the store or field if they had an option around 35-38 that had fills and "quality" of the JT crap I can get.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:43 PM #18
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Our retail runs "Free Fill Fridays" where if customers buy a case of paint, they get an air fill or co2 fill free.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:09 PM #19
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Thanks for all the ideas guys, you've all been a big help. We've dropped the price of our lowest case by $2 to bring it even to the same quantity of cheap walmart/dicks paint. Sales have markedly increased. Probably 10-20%, which isnt an insane amount because we had so little due to our field going so strongly. But we've gotten in with some more rec/backyard players and word is spreading.

We're still looking for more ideas, and I'm sure this thread has helped others as well. Keep any ideas coming!
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:47 PM #20
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1) Buy a case get a free pass to play at your field.
2) Buy 3 cases get $10 off total cost. You may loose $3 off each case but you sold 3 cases instead of 1 and bulk buys is what out law guys are looking for because most of the time its guys splitting up cases and looking for the best deal out there!
3) Offer some type of great deal for groups to play at your field... if its way cheap for me and my group of out law ballers to play at your field on any given weekend with out any effort to get my friends together we may just support your field instead of playing out law ball... it can be a pain in the *** to organize...
4) Talk to the outlaw ball groups find out what it would take to get them supporting your fields and store... you be surprised how little it might take to get their business!

Hope some of that helps!
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:17 AM #21
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I would recommend trying to sponsor teams in your area. Im not talking about a full sponsorship (everything is free) im talking about discount sponsor. Most teams buy 10-40 cases alone just for practices, so if you can attract a few teams with sponsorships your going to be selling easily 100+ cases a month just to teams.
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