In case you haven’t noticed, the shooting sports industry is experiencing a revolution in how it does business, and the 800-pound gorilla in the room is something called the Internet. Some manufacturers have recognized this sea change and have developed in-house strategies that allow them to take full advantage of the Internet. There are still, however, too many who refuse to upgrade their operations and fully embrace the web.
But one site that should really appeal to outdoorsmen is Leupold’s new Custom Shop website. Here, hunters and shooters can construct a preview of customized Leupold rifle, pistol and shotgun scopes—and then order it direct from the company. Visitors to the site can select from 11 series of scopes. Following scope selection, customers begin the personalization process by choosing model, finish and reticle. From there, users can add custom colors and finishes to select models.
Laser engraving is another available option. In addition to their name or initials, users can also choose from 21 animals to have engraved into a scope. Other custom options include ring and medallion, bullet drop compensation, parallax adjustment and adjustment dials. (In fact, the purple scope on the Hot Purple 10/22 that ran in the October 2007 issue of Outdoor Life was designed and sourced from the site.)
After each customization step, the displayed image of the scope is automatically updated. The site also features an itemized cost section where customers can see the price of each selected option as well as a total price. Once finished, customers can order their personalized scope directly from the site.
Leupold is smart to head in this direction. Internet selling experts often proclaim, “The customer is king.” Indeed, one reason customers utilize such E-commerce sites is the ability to get exactly what they want, when they want it. The establishment of web-based manufacturer selling sites is a simple recognition of this truth.