Well 2023 is officially here. Time to lace up those gloves and get ready to start rolling with the punches. Whatever this year dishes out, we’ll be ready!
Aaaaaaannnd we’re back! Hopefully everyone had a restful holiday. You might have noticed that our team was pretty quiet the past couple of weeks. We pretty much took the entire week between Christmas and New Years off, except Kristy who still kept up with customer service emails like a trooper. We are paying a small price now with a 7 day backlog on our shipping, but since we only do that once a year, I feel the shipping “hangover” was worth it.
Personally, we had some tentative plans to take our little travel trailer to some snow covered rockscape in Utah, but since we have never taken our RV out in the winter, we decided against it until we get more experience closer to home. In other words, we chickened out! I did however, get some home improvement work done: I’m building a “gun room” in the basement of our 118 year old house. It might sound glamourous but it is really just a 5x10’ area that housed a 500lb air conditioning unit from the 1950’s and about a zillion spiders that I had to evict in order to use the space. Danielle says I am incapable of actually resting on my vacation and I guess she’s right.
It’s good to do something physical so your mind can wander, so I guess mentally I rested. As far as the company is concerned, we’ve always used the week between Christmas and New Years as a time to reflect and reset. So with the holidays behind us, it is time to look back on what we’ve accomplished in 2022, and ahead to 2023…
We can certainly say we made some significant progress in 2022!
Last year was a year of building and streamlining for us. We built and launched some incredible new features including: AMMO² Pay, the AMMO² Wallet, Social Profiles and our ammo market pricing tool. We added ACH and the ability to set your own buy and sell prices for ammo. We also discontinued over 400 SKUs that represented only 7.5% of our total volume and consisted of calibers that were nearly impossible to find (some of them even today).
I’m really proud of the progress we made last year. From a strategic perspective we started to realign the company away from ecommerce and a subscription product toward ammo as a currency and store of value approach, which you’ll see more of in 2023.
So that brings us to the present. Let’s quickly hit on a new feature we launched last week. Something small but useful…
New Exchange Ammo Feature
We now how have a button on your inventory tab that will basically allow you to take one caliber and exchange it for another caliber with just a couple clicks. It makes things easier and cleaner than the old way of selling one caliber then going and doing a one time buy for the new caliber.
It will give you a list of the calibers you own and show you how many rounds you’ll get after the exchange. Like this:
This capability always existed but it was a multi-step process. Now it is a lot simpler and will help with ammo management and moving stuff around. Keep in mind that the new caliber you are exchanging for will be pending until it is confirmed in our warehouse. We thought about doing it the other way, exchange inventory for inventory and pending for pending but we felt that would cause some issues if you are trading a lot of something common that’s in your inventory for a lot of something less common. We might not have enough of it to guarantee it until it is allocated, so all exchanges will hit pending status first so we can confirm it.
A Note About Fees (or a Lack Thereof)
Since our objective is to have a free flow of ammunition within the account, there are no fees associated with exchanges. We’ve also decided to make the “Sell Fee Holiday” permanent. Now there are no fees to buy, sell, exchange or send ammo to others. Plus, since this has come up recently, I’ll mention it here, we also don’t have any storage fees or other management fees. Our goal is not to “nickel and dime” customers with hidden fees.
Our goal is to build a service that exponentially expands the usefulness of ammunition.
We’re not ecommerce and we’re not a subscription service (any longer). We’re creating our own category of something new. We’re Netflix when all everyone knew was Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.
That brings us to 2023…
Looking Ahead to 2023
If you read my emails and blog posts you can already see where we’re going and how we’re getting there, especially my Tangible Things blog series. I make my big picture intentions clear. It is just the details we’re still working on. So with that in mind, I can give you some highlights of what’s planned for 2023:
Better Refer-a-Friend - we’re going to integrate our social profiles (there is a button on there now) but it needs more refinement and some clear incentives.
Messaging for Social Profiles - right now you can’t thank someone for sending you ammo in our system via AMMO² Pay, in the future you will be able to do that. We don’t want to compete with other mainstream messaging services like Signal but just give our customers a better way to communicate.
Tipping or Donations using AMMO² Pay - this will be focused on influencers in the gun industry and allow them to take ammo as a tip or donation. Today most of them direct their followers to Patreon for cash donations because they have been demonetized everywhere else. I think we have a solution to help them bring in ammo and ammo that can easily be converted into cash.
Updated Homepage and Messaging - this is already in the works and should be out in the next few weeks. Basically moving us away from the “subscription” language and toward the “wallet” concept.
Continued Streamlining for SKUs - at some point this year we will do a Phase 2 for our remaining low volume SKUs and those that are hard to find (sorry .410 is on the chopping block). The bright side of this is that it means faster allocation and lower prices for the remaining SKUs because we don’t have to buy and stock low volumes of so many hard to find calibers. This was part of our strategic direction change last year. We’re moving from a place where you can find every caliber and stockpile it, to offering all of the major calibers but with more functionality a la the AMMO² Wallet.
More Industry Visibility - we’ve historically kept pretty low visibility but this year things will change and you may start seeing us different places. For example, we are now a sponsor in the Old Eighteen Defense run and gun series in Texas. We’re going to be looking for other opportunities to sponsor events to gain visibility in the industry. If you know of any we should look at let us know!
Industry Partnerships - we’re starting a partnership program and working with other brands in the industry. Our team is looking forward to SHOT Show and finding other brands to collaborate with in 2023.
Moving away from Google Products - I hate the politics of Google but they have created a nearly business critical product with their email and docs. That said, we’re currently experimenting with Skiff as a Google replacement. (I’m actually writing this out on Skiff right now before transferring it to our blog program.) So far so good. Skiff offers end-to-end encryption so Big Tech has a harder time spying on us.
Better ACH integration and Features - we rolled out ACH quickly and I know it has a lot of rough edges. It is confusing and doesn’t integrate with our ammo reloads directly. All of that will change in 2023 as we continue to refine our ACH product. It was important to me to get that out so people have an alternative to credit cards, but there is still a lot to do.
Changing how Free Shipping works - this is a big one and will take some strategizing on my part. The goal is to move us away from e-commerce style free shipping but still keep it as an incentive and reward for loyal customers that stick around and accumulate a lot of ammo with us. We have some ideas, but nothing concrete yet.
Integration with GabPay and CryptoCurrencies - we want to move away from relying on traditional financial institutions and add alternatives for payment into our system. Once someone is in our system then we actually become an alternative payment system, but you still need a way to get the money there. We’ll work on adding as many alternatives as make sense.
So that is my rough sketch of 2023. I’m pretty confident we can accomplish all of those agenda items and then some. I feel like we laid a solid framework in 2022 in terms of system enhancements, inventory streamlining, strategic direction and better messaging. Now it is time to execute and see what the new year brings. Regardless of what happens I know we’ll do what we’ve always done and roll with the punches!