Selling Spinning and Baitcasting Reels: Why Stocking Fewer Is Better

How many spinning and baitcasting reels should you stock in your store? Believe it or not, you’ll sell a greater number by stocking fewer.

Selling Spinning and Baitcasting Reels: Why Stocking Fewer Is Better

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been overwhelmed by having too many choices. Think about walking up to the counter at a fast food restaurant for the first time and seeing so many choices that you don’t know where to begin. The billboard menu is 30 feet long and 6 feet tall; you look right, then left, then middle, then right, simply trying to take it all in before making a decision. People are lining up behind you, and the worker at the register is growing impatient, too. Finally, you leave and hope a McDonald’s is around the corner so you can order a McChicken and small French fry from the short-and-sweet value menu.

During my many years working fishing retail, I saw this same “paralysis by analysis” when a customer wanted to purchase a new fishing reel. When I first joined the sales staff, the owners stocked nearly two dozen models of spinning reels. Showing off the various spinning reels and demonstrating the many features was a marathon. More often than not, the customer said “thanks” and left the store without making a purchase.

Then a strange thing happened. Our staff had just returned from a successful three-day sports show, and instead of having the same wide selection of spinning reels on display in our store, we had only six models on hand. Thankfully, we had all the price points covered — low, medium and high — but only two brands were represented.

A woman walked in and asked to see our spinning reels. She didn’t fish but wanted to buy her husband a birthday gift. I apologized to her for our lack of selection, then did my best to highlight those spinning reels we had in stock. When she said she had $XX to spend, I showed her exactly two reels. And you know what? She bought one.

For the next week — until our large shipment of spinning reels arrived to replenish our inventory — this same scenario repeated itself over and over again. I was closing more spinning reel sales, and helping more customers, by showing them fewer options.

Not surprising, the paralysis by analysis was on full display again after our spinning reel selection was too large. Thankfully, the store owners listened to feedback from me and the other sales staff, and they never again ordered such a wide selection.  

Keep this in mind as you purchase spinning and baitcasting reels in preparation for the springtime buying rush.

When deciding what to stock for spinning reels, know that most anglers want a decent reel for the price. In other words, they’ll shop for a good value. The sweet spot for many customers is $60 to $80.
When deciding what to stock for spinning reels, know that most anglers want a decent reel for the price. In other words, they’ll shop for a good value. The sweet spot for many customers is $60 to $80.


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