The rise and fall of airsoft…. really?
I’ve been in airsoft for the better part of 19 years both playing, retail and behind the scenes marketing, and once this video by crazyncman went by my Facebook feed I decided hey, lets give old Frank another go around to see what he’s up to. So I clicked on it and immediately around the 3 to 4 min mark I turned it off because it went into his rant bashing, so that was that. However, I was urged by others to go back to it and take a look at it again. So I watched through the whole 15+ min of him speaking his mind on the rise and fall of airsoft, which was a video regarding the way that the big 4 operate. Now the big 4 are Evike, AirsoftGI, Airsoft Megastore, and Airsplat; and how they are driving the main street airsoft stores out of business with their cheap prices, coupon wars and other related marketing that tries to just compete with each other.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUgi9GTA3fk&feature=share&list=UUSllp1lazwDuDRTK4VO21-g —– link to crazyncmans video.
Now as a businessman I am compelled to say that this happens in all businesses, like Frank mentioned, where the larger retailer such as WalMart comes in and outsells the smaller mom and pop store. This is absolutely nothing new in any competitive retail environment. All of the “big 4″ use the bulk sales model where if they can sell the most at a smaller price they make up for that profit with bulk or supplemental purchases along with the main purchase. ITS JUST HOW BUSINESS IS.
I work with several local businesses promoting, marketing, and business consulting. So I know what the local store goes through to stand out over the mass of other online retailers outside of just the Big 4. I know how they struggle to try to keep their doors open. However they are doing something smart, they are using brand marketing to establish themselves locally which is helping them tremendously.
Anyway, let’s get back to the heart of Franks’ video. So, online businesses are killing airsoft. I disagree. WOAH, WAIT. does that mean I don’t support the small business? NO, I prefer to purchase through my local retailer always have always will. However there is the 79% of airsofters who prefer to get more “Bang for their buck” through getting it cheaper from online retailers. This is the true heart of the matter. The education of airsofters purchasing habits. It’s really plain and simple. 79% of airsofters will buy cheap.. that’s it. if they can get it cheaper to buy more stuff they will. it’s how their wallet dictates where they go to shop. And the Big 4 allow them to do that and it becomes a vicious cycle of endless coupon wars, price slashing and other ways to sell sell sell.
It hardly matters to many airsofters what happens to the mom and pop store because it doesn’t affect them financially. 65% of airsofters are under the age of 17. Most of them rely on mom and dad to purchase their items, and mom and dad want to stretch their dollar to the limit so they go online. We are conditioned to it. It’s like me ordering from Amazon.com instead of going to Barns and Noble retail for a book. It’s cheaper, and more convenient for me to buy it on amazon and wait for it to arrive.
Now the main reasons why airsofters buy online
1 – PRICE
2 – Selection – many of local stores don’t carry what they want.
3 – other perceived benefits such as free items, coupon codes, free shipping etc.
notice that customer service is an afterthought? to price and selection and the free stuff..
but when the item breaks… that’s the only time they realize what they just did. And now have to deal with the dreaded RMA. *(Return Merchandise Authorization)
I am a proponent for airsoft local businesses because they are my clients, and friends. Many of the retailers I’ve encountered are players wanting to be businessmen, but don’t treat their business like a business. That’s one of the downfalls of many mom and pop stores that I will address in another blog.
I would like to mention that the manufacturers have taken notice and many of you can see that they are enforcing a strict MAP pricing with no coupons that can be applied. you’ll see it on many of the popular manufactures items now. Maybe that should be addressed to those who don’t enforce map AHEM G&G and others.
Now there are many retailers who are rallying and sharing this video.. but don’t you realize that his online business competes with yours? but wait. Frank’s an online retailer also!?!? So does that mean that he is in competition with Airsoft Carolina, and your local mom and pop store? Was his selling online with milspecairsoft.com *(now closed) or bulkairsoftbb’s in direct competition with Airsoft Carolina or mom and pop stores selling at cheaper pricing/shipping? isn’t the whole point of demonizing online businesses taking away from your customers? weird huh…
What I’m really saying is that Frank really needed to address the airsofter, not the retailer. Not to demonize the big 4 for only doing what the marketplace is already ALLOWING THEM TO DO. If you want to change the hearts and minds of players, don’t rant. don’t blame. step on your soapbox and make your message heard instead of convoluting it with rants and “F off stories”. Explain the benefits of local purchasing, even though your message at heart was sound, it seems really hypocritical, and you see it in the comments on Facebook and youtube.
And as nice as the “message” was, it doesn’t even address the new surge of overseas purchasing. Again players will vote with their wallets. Plain and simple. Address that and maybe you’ll be able to get some traction with this message you want to send out to the public. Get the manufacturers to impose strict MAP pricing with no coupon codes. Then you’ll see the actual change. Frank, you started at the wrong target. Don’t target the stores, target the manufactures, who allow them to sell like that and the airsofters who purchase like that.
My 2 cent’s … Share it or not, this is the way it really is. — Vertigo.
Category: Airsoft Shoutout Blog