Social and political context all over the world makes people anxious and in need of securing themselves means of protecting their families. In light of the U.S. Constitutional right of owning a firearm for self-defense, there seems to be a huge growth in the firearms market in the last several years.
If 2020 was the year with the most gun sales, with approximately 22.8 million sales, 2021 wasn’t too far behind with 18.5 million firearms sold.* However, not only regular people buy guns, but also business owners. Knowing who is your target as an online selling gun store is essential in marketing your business.
So, if you want to learn how to sell guns online, follow this article for insights and tips.
About the industry
First of all, we need to talk about the industry of firearms. It is estimated that the arms and ammunition industry in the US has a total worth of 19.6 bn, in 2022, according to Ibis World. The growth of this kind of industry is seen from one year to another and the trend is ascending.
So finding the answer to the question about how to sell guns online is not a hard one since most Americans seem to want to own a gun.
Even if most of today’s past century wars were won and battled with guns, the history of firearms started long before our time.
More than 1000 years ago, in China, gunpowder was discovered and with it began the era of guns. Apparently, it was an accidental discovery when an alchemist mixed potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal and managed to burn down the house and the skin of their hands.
When Marco Polo traveled the world following the silk road, he stumbled upon this rudimental discovery of weapons using gunpowder. And from there, the guns made it to Europe. In the 15th century when the first colonists arrived on what is now known as American soil, the guns were already evolved.
The Revolutionary War brought with it the revolution of guns. They were transformed from slow-to-charge weapons into more modern armed equipment.
Throughout time, guns suffered modifications and alterations that made them more efficient and easier to use.
Along with the evolution of guns came the evolution of laws and regulations.
About the laws and regulations
Before researching search engines about the ways to sell guns online, you need to know a bit about the regulations for having a business in this niche.
So after opening your business, the first thing you need to do is get a valid FFL (Federal Firearms License). As we said before, when guns became more and more widespread, the laws needed to change and adapt so that buying them could be safer for everyone. Here comes the Gun Control Act from 1968 which states that shipments of firearms are prohibited across the states of the US if you are not a licensed FFL dealer. So if you wish to sell commercially, this is the legal way to do it. This license can be obtained through the ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives).
Another regulation regarding guns says that each federal state has its laws for buying and owning a gun. Therefore, it doesn’t matter where your business is located, but what matters is where your customer is from and what are the laws of that particular state. As an example, in Texas, the age limit for owning a gun is 21, while in Montana there are no age restrictions.
Before the gun reaches the customer it needs to pass through the local FFL dealer to avoid any legal complications. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to use a private carrier company for it to be legal.
Pay attention to anything regarding payment processing and use a 2nd amendment friendly card processor to avoid your account being frozen. We’ll tell you more about that when we get to your website architecture.
So, you see, wondering about how to sell a gun online legally has its own merits, because there are some regulations to keep up with. For more information regarding the laws of your state address ATF.
Why sell them online?
Selling guns in a certain physical location can be easier because of the whole regulations for online stores. But, if you have been following this business for a while now, you’ll also know that the benefits are greater than the challenges.
You get to advertise the merchant through various methods like taking impressively detailed pictures, catchy videos, and amazing editing techniques.
Another benefit of selling firearms online is you don’t need so much space as for a physical store. Secured cases for displaying guns are expensive and you also need extra security for an actual physical store.
Creating your website
After deciding to enter into this business is time to create the space that will hold your brand, because even businesses like these need an image.
So, if you are asking where to sell guns online the answer is pretty simple – create your website.
Make sure to cover all legal bases for this website and also include features that will help the customers get what they want.
Let’s see what elements your website needs:
Whether you implement your website on an existing platform or you go and make it from scratch, there are some design features to consider. Choose the theme or make sure your website has your logo, a page with the types of weapons, a section for disclaimers and regulations, another section for reviews, and perhaps a blog that will help with SEO. We are using well-known eCommerce platforms and can also make transitions if you already have a website and need something else. Before all that, we can perform an audit to find out what should change and why. Check out our services here.
Make sure you add some good solutions on your website like age verification. We can provide integration with several plugins that will make your website secure.
There are a few regulations regarding payment so make sure to follow them. For example, PayPal or Stripe, and several other payment processors will not take you on as a business so read the fine print. This business is considered a high-risk industry so you’ll have limited choices. That is why you need an eCommerce company with the experience to help you find a merchant account that caters to firearms businesses.
This is another hot topic because many companies are not allowed to ship guns so you will need a private shipping company. Whoever manages your eCommerce store needs to make sure that the chosen platform will allow you to pick the carrier and not assign just one or two options. Not only it’s illegal to ship via USPS, but they also won’t do it so you might have trouble with delivery.
Your online store also needs security and it needs to be strong. Add an SSL or a TSL certificate to ensure encryption for your customer’s data. Our eCommerce specialists know that every good website has great security.
There are many features a great website will have, but make sure to also put interesting and detailed photos of your products, make good descriptions, and don’t leave anything out. A good website designer will know tips and tricks to make your online store amazing.
Marketing your website
After creating your website and ensuring all regulations are followed through, you’ll need to promote it.
We recommend starting with great descriptions and SEO articles that will help you in the long run. Search engines are highly used when looking for everything, even guns. So, begin there. Our SEO people are skilled in making sure your website has the proper content and can make it on Google. Since gun ads are banned, this is your only chance of getting your store noticed on Google.
Don’t forget to also design your website to be mobile-friendly and work to improve your SEO. Check out here what is it we can do for you.
Open a social media account on the most used platforms: Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Make sure to create interesting content and keep up with posting on these networks. Social media platforms will not allow you to open a store, but you can post about your products and make sure it’s captivating.
This is a great way of staying in touch with your subscribers and clients, telling them about your offers and whatever new products.
Also, email marketing works amazingly well in educating your audience regarding firearms and thus bringing in new clients.
Word of mouth
As old as time, this advertising method is the most reliable. But how does word of mouth function nowadays? Well, you can use influencers to promote your online store or engage collectors in endorsing your brand.
A specialized marketing team will know what is the best strategy for your guns’ online store according to your objectives.
This is a sensitive business so, remember, if something isn’t clear, ask a legal attorney to help you with advice.
In the meantime, for everything related to eCommerce business you can count on Ecomitize. Let’s connect and talk about your dream.