The A-Rig: Capitalize On A Trend
The former editor of ESPNs sportfishing business magazine, Ronell Smith currently runs The Tackle Insider – a subscription-based newsletter available at RonellSmith.com. You can follow him on Twitter and FaceBook.
I'm trusting you haven't been under a rock for the last several months and are thus aware of the Alabama Rig – the latest lure craze to sweep the sport and industry. It's a multi-jighead offering that came to prominence last fall when Paul Elias dominated an FLW Tour Open with it.
This contraption, which is basically a downsized umbrella rig, has bass anglers in a tizzy at the moment, and for good reason. Anglers across the country are saying it catches fish. It's easy to see why. The rig, as close as you can get to having a school of baitfish on the end of the line, must ring the dinner bell when predator fish see it. (Note that the rig, when used with multiple hooks, isn't legal in all states and some tournament organizations have banned its use.)
Yet for all the attention being given to the lure's effectiveness, an important decision retailers must make is whether or not it's worth the investment, since the rigs can retail for upwards of $30.
For tournament anglers, it's a no-brainer: Anything, especially anything new, that catches fish, no matter what the expense, is worth a try. But when retailers make decisions about what to carry on their shelves, the thinking isn't so simple. It has to make sense.
If you're a retailer looking to capitalize on the A-Rig trend, take these points into account while making a decision.
Demand is your friend.Anytime you can acquire and carry a product that virtually markets and sells itself, you should do so. If anglers are already asking for the the rig, quiz them about sizes and colors they'd prefer. If anglers have yet to start asking for the product, drive demand by posting copies of magazine articles and other writeups near the checkout, on store bulletin boards and anywhere alse anglers congregate to get the conversation started.
Take a chance. When it comes to taking on new products, you normally don't want to bite off more than you can chew. But in the case of a hot product, you throw convention out the window. No matter how many of the products you think you can sell, order slightly more – you could be the only store in the area that still has a selection of the products when others run out. Also, if the lures remain hot well into the summer, demand is likely to outstrip supply, meaning production will fall behind and products will be delayed for shipping.
Cut back in other areas.Smart retailing says that to take on more of a hot new product, it might make sense to cut back on some of the slower-moving items in your store. (You'll still carry the normal supply of staple items.) In this way, you don't overextend yourself, and it could help you stay lean if the season overall begins slowly.
Think beyond the product itself.One of the biggest mistakes retailers make is to not respectthe sundry accessory items anglers need to fish a certain product. For example, anyone fishing an A-Rig or its kin needs jigheads, swimbaits of varying sizes, heavy braided line and extra clips and swivels. Ask around to determine the most popular sizes of jigheads and swimbaits for the A-Rig, then stock both in ample supply.
Display prominently.Anglers are routinely frustrated when they enter a retail outfit looking for a popular product, only to find that it's virtually hidden. If you know an item is desireable, why not place it right up front on an endcap? Feature the product prominently, and alongside it display the accessories needed to fish it.
I'm no betting man, but from all of my reporting, demand for the A-Rig is only going to build. Don't be the one retailer left sitting on the sideline as everyone else capitalizes on this hot product.