The facility location is prime, the best local instructors have been employed, and the class schedule has been well thought out and promoted; the new training program at the shooting range is bound to be a success, right? Well, not necessarily. Range class programs can fail at the onset because of inefficient delivery methods and improper course / student management. Having the right product means little if it isn’t accessible to the right customers and in a manner that is consistent with today’s online consumer expectations.
Historically, gun stores managed classes and courses on clipboards and excel spreadsheets. This manual process can impact sales and introduce customer satisfaction issues. Lost registrations, overbookings, and missing information plague this method. Additionally, stores that manage classes manually create complex, time intensive processes for customers to enroll and receive registration confirmation, particularly for customers attempting to enroll remotely.
If capturing a small amount of business from the existing – in-store – customer base was the only goal, stumbling through an antiqued manual process may be ‘good enough’, however, these clumsy processes can prove to be problematic if the goal is to increase range business and are often a major deterrent for the next generation of customers who have expectations of easy, internet accessible enrollment processes.
Eliminating these costly and obstructive inefficiencies will require the migration from manual processes to technology assisted shooting range management solutions. From online enrollment to reporting, the improvements to the processes afforded by leveraging technology and software will allow for more profits and capacity as the program grows.
From the moment the software is in place – and the human element removed – a huge reduction in errors and overhead will be realized. Less time will be spent inputting student enrollment information, further improving profitability. Consequently, the removal human interface will significantly improve data integrity, resulting in meaningful analytics and reports on business performance of the service.
Ideally, the class and education management capability will be a feature of the gun store POS system. Tying directly into the inventory management system will guarantee the proper handling of enrollment fees (from both a payment and a bookkeeping perspective), firearm rentals and provides an instantaneous adjustment to class seat availability if the classes are being sold at multiple locations or online.
Firearm retail POS systems with integrated class management features should also provide relief from the pain caused during the range check-in process. Quality software should have the ability to ‘check-in’ a student and keep a running record of which classes have actually been attended, not just paid for, which is particularly useful when determining if a shooter qualifies for a course with prerequisites. Better yet, if the gun store POS has the ability to track range waivers, instructors will have a means to cross check if the required liability forms have been secured prior to the student’s admission into the range.
Most importantly, whichever shooting range management software is selected, it is imperative the application has the capability to extend the class offerings to the market via the web. Access to the gun store class schedule and the ability to select, enroll, and pay for a class online will improve the success of the training program. An easy and accessible online range management enrollment process will increase new customer acquisitions and improve current customer retention by removing the burden of complex and involved processes of less savvy ranges. Again, if available, having this function as part of the point of sale will further improve execution and reduce redundancies of cross-referencing multiple system.
Often not considered until well after a training program has be implemented, the management of classes and courses can prove to be a detriment to the success of an otherwise well-planned training program. Technology and software can provide tools to contend with the most difficult aspects of management and delivery training course and classes.
Visit Orchid Advisors and Retail Technology Group at SHOT Show ’19, booth # 3117, to learn more about using technology and gun store POS software to effectively manage firearm training classes, online range management scheduling and training programs.
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