Forget the Guesswork in Selling Used Guns. Try This Instead.
By Tally Mack
Selling used firearms opens a world of opportunity for FFLs. Selling secondhand expands the customer base, increases profits, creates a new revenue stream and can be particularly useful during times of inventory depletion.
However, retailers who sell firearms face many challenges when trying to break into the used guns space. At Bravo, there are a few common frustrations we hear from FFLs about selling secondhand:
(1) I have no way of quickly and consistently evaluating the value for each item.
(2) I don’t know what price to buy, sell or trade the item for – I don’t want to lose money.
(3) I’m not sure how well/quickly this gun/item sells.
(4) Selling online takes more time because my product descriptions need to be more robust for used items.
Keep reading to learn some simple tips that can help boost your sales of used guns and to download our 2022 Used Guns Pricing Guide which provides detailed nationwide and state specific pricing information for the top selling firearms and accessories, in-store and online.
Anticipate Buyers’ Questions
This seems like a commonsense tip but tends to be one of the more pervasive errors in online listings for used merchandise. And it’s a costly one – retailers miss out on sales and return rates tend to be higher when listings don’t have detailed descriptions of the item because the customer received something different than what they expected.
- Include detailed and accurate online product listings
In our experience, when retailers omit details about the condition of the used item it’s usually because (1) it’s too time consuming to include all that information manually on selling channels or (2) they’re afraid an honest description of possible wear and tear could hinder the sale.
But it’s smart to give as much information as you can in the listing. Remember: consumers shopping for used items expect some wear and tear on items, but they want to know about it.
Don’t miss out on potential sales because of vague product listings and save yourself the hassle of unnecessary returns and phone calls answering questions that could have been answered in your listing.
- Include photos in your listing
Including photos is not only an effective way of getting more attention for your online listing, but also a simple way to manage customer expectations about the condition of the used item they’re buying. You don’t need to be professional to take great pictures – just use your smartphone! Use good, natural lighting, a solid background and take photos from a variety of angles.
Bravo’s Shopkeeper app makes it easy for employees to take pictures and post them automatically to online listings. You can check out Bravo customer listings on our integrated online marketplace UsedGuns.com.
Know the Value of Your Item
Valuing your items can be tricky. You don’t want to overvalue and discourage sales, but you also don’t want to undervalue and miss out on revenue. There are a few things to keep in mind to help you strike the perfect balance.
- Adjust price based on condition-rating of the item:
Customers will expect that the price of your firearm or sporting good will decrease as the condition worsens. Similarly, if the item you’re selling includes accessories like the holster and case, many times you can ask for a bit more. The key here is being honest about the condition of the used gun/item and adjusting the asking price accordingly.
- Adjust price based on current inventory numbers:
If you have a lot of a particular firearm in your inventory, you need to price the item to sell. If you’re like a lot of FFL retailers, moving the item and securing the sale is sometimes as valuable as the money, so price for a fast sale, and be open to offers if you’re finding you have an overstock of certain guns or accessories.
- Remember that in-store and online pricing sometimes should be different
Generally, online prices are lower than in-store prices. This is for a variety of reasons like wanting to compete with aggressive online retailers in a particular market or simply to attract the attention of the consumer who is browsing for a good deal online.
If you find that you’re competing for customer attention and sales with aggressive e-tailers, you may need to reconsider your online pricing and make it different than in-store pricing. Keep in mind that savvy shoppers might look up your online pricing while they are in-store and ask that you match the lower price.
Knowing the right price for secondhand merchandise can be difficult, especially if you’re selling used firearms. Unlike other categories of items, you can’t search for comparable firearms on sites like Google and eBay. Bravo customers use our built-in quality assessment tool and product estimator to get real time, detailed in-store and online pricing information every time there’s a buy/sell/trade opportunity.
Build Trust with Reviews
In the world of online retail, customers rely on reviews as part of their research before making a purchase. Consider these facts:
- About 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. (Powerreviews)
- 93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine their quality. (BrightLocal)
- 72% of customers won’t take any buying actions until they’ve read reviews. (Testimonial Engine)
Reviews are especially important when selling used merchandise – there's simply more risk for the consumer when they buy used vs. new. Use customer reviews as part of your strategy for increasing sales and improving the profitability of selling secondhand firearms and sporting goods.
Bravo knows the importance of reviews – which is why we offer a fully integrated solution called Review Booster! This handy add on is the perfect way to encourage customers to leave reviews and get your store noticed online.
Selling used guns and other merchandise doesn’t have to be a guessing game . . . if you have the right tools. There’s tremendous opportunity to increase sales, boost profitability and reach entirely new segments of consumers if you sell used firearms. Do you have what you need to help you do more and do better in the used guns game?
Bravo can help you make more money on every used gun transaction. Schedule your demo today to see how.
About the Author:
Tally Mack is a fifth-generation pawnbroker and eCommerce enthusiast. She loves traveling, being outside, and working out.
Before taking the reins as CEO, Tally served as Bravo's Vice President of Business Development, leading the company's sales and marketing organization. She's been instrumental in leading and executing many of the company's strategic shifts, including the acquisition of CompuPawn and the recent launch of UsedGuns.com.
Tally earned her Doctorate of Law (J.D.) from DePaul University College of Law in 2013 after attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned her B.A. in Communication Studies. She also completed the Key Executives Program from Harvard Business School in 2013.
Tally is a pawnshop lover and eCommerce enthusiast—dedicated to the success of both her employees and customers!