This week our team wrapped up our fourth planning session for what will eventually be the new AMMOSQUARED 3.0 platform.
If you stay static you will eventually fall behind. Ford learned that when GM introduced cars with new designs in colors other than black! We definitely don't want to do that so we're working on the next iteration of our web platform: 3.0.
There isn't a whole lot of details to give out yet as we just started the planning process. I can, however give everyone an idea of the big picture and the direction we're headed...
Moving Beyond an Ammo Subscription
It is no surprise that we're moving beyond the "ammo subscription" focus of the business. While we still plan to honor our roots and offer it as an aspect of the service, it won't be the main focus anymore. As I wrote on the blog on March 17th "Our Evolution from Ammo Subscription to Ammo Bank Account" we've been moving in that direction for a while now.
Honestly, early on, probably 6 months after our service started catching on in 2016, we realized that the traditional subscription model of sending ammo out monthly wasn't very practical. In those early days the only way it was financially feasible for customers was because we would ship small amounts (less than a full box) that were vacuum sealed. You could literally buy $5 worth of 45 ACP and we'd divide it up and send you a vacuum sealed bag with $5 worth of ammo! We did that with all of the calibers we offered. You basically bought in $5 increments on our 1st generation WordPress site, and we would send you your ammo in a combination of factory boxes and vacuum sealed bags every month!
We found out pretty quick that that wasn't scalable and it was actually a huge liability for us to be opening factory boxes and handling the ammo.
We've seen other "ammunition subscription" services come and go (included Federal Ammunition!) and they hit the same wall we did early on. You can't treat ammunition like Dollar Shave Club. It is too heavy and you can't ship USPS to save money. So in order to make it financially feasible you have to ship in large amounts, at least over $100 of shippable value, and it is better if you are closer to $300 (hence the $250 in Free Shipping we offer today).
Once we found that vacuum sealing small bags was too labor intensive, the logical solution was to store ammo on our customers' behalf until they had enough accumulated to ship.
We've been doing this ever since and it has been a huge benefit for our customers. This was particularly apparent to us when the ammo shortage of 2020 hit and the store shelves went empty - fast! Our customers that had ammo accumulated with us could get it on demand and have all that ammo delivered whenever they wanted. Other people were left scrambling trying to find ammo locally or online.
So that is one area we want to focus with our 3.0 platform. Ammunition storage. Not only do we want to make it easier to store ammo with us, we want our customers to get the benefits of the value of that stored ammo.
Ammunition as its own Asset Class
As we move further away from just the regular delivery of ammunition, the actual stored ammunition becomes valuable in itself. In researching ideas for our 3.0 platform, in addition to companies that offer precious metals storage for customers, which we already knew about, we came across companies that offer a similar service for fine wine and whisky casks!
So think about that, there are companies that let you buy cases of wine or casks of whisky for the asset appreciation and then store them for you. They have global customers that never intend to take delivery. Instead they buy it not to consume it, but to profit off of the increase in value over time.
We can do that for ammunition. Heck we already do that today. Some of our existing customers have $5,000 in ammunition stored with us, and a handful north of $10,000. What we intend to do with our 3.0 platform is make it easier and provide better information for the customers that are buying ammo for long term appreciation purposes. I try to be careful and call it an "investment" because of FINRA regulations regarding investments. Ammo is a tangible asset which anyone can buy low and sell high, like a set of china, or a dishwasher.
So just to give you a sense of scale, I'm comfortable revealing the fact that we currently have 4.5 million rounds of ammunition stored for our customers. This equates to about $2.4 million in customer assets. The point is not to flex on my blog readers, but rather to point out that there are a lot of people that believe like we do: ammunition is far more than a consumable product, it is a valuable asset, like fine wine, a cask of whisky, or a dishwasher...
Generic vs Specific Ammunition
The third area we'll focus on in our 3.0 platform will be allowing customers to "convert" generic ammunition into specific brands and bullet weights. We decided that one area of our service that is currently lacking is that we don't let you pick exactly what you are getting. With the current platform it is impossible to do. We even removed what we used to call "customer preferences" in order to streamline picking operations. We plan to change that, but only for customers that care about it and want specific SKUs.
The enhancement that we're looking at, will be the ability to convert your generic ammo into specific ammunition for storage on the case level (1,000+ rounds). So for example, once you have more than 1,000 rounds of 9mm you can "convert" it into a specific case of whatever we have in the warehouse. If you pick a premium brand then you would pay the difference, if you are fine with the cheap stuff then you would keep the excess funds (rounds) in your account for the difference. We still need to work out the details but the idea is that our customers will be able to accumulate specific SKUs in their inventory that they can ship anytime or just continue to store until some future date.
This change opens up the door for people that like the off-site storage aspect of our service but don't like the fact that they don't get to pick exactly what they're getting when we ship. This has always been a big issue for match shooters and hunters that need a specific bullet weight and type of bullet. Now, theoretically you could have a whole supply of your preferred round sitting safely off-site and stored until you wanted some of it. It would be yours and not part of our floating inventory, so it wouldn't get picked and dry up. Of course there would need to be a storage fee associated with specific "dedicated" storage like the gold depositories do it, but we'll figure out the specifics in the future.
There are more improvements that we'll eventually build into our 3.0 platform such as a public exchange or marketplace where you can buy and sell your accumulated ammunition and the ability to take out a secured loan. If it is an asset then it is valuable. Gold depositories offer this service right now - you can take out a low interest loan with your gold held as collateral, why not do that for ammunition?
We haven't even touched on the "ammunition as a currency" aspect where you can use your accumulated ammunition to pay for outside products and services. That is another area we'll develop more on our 3.0 platform.
As you can see we are not standing still. (Which is a good thing the way the world is going today!)
We have some pretty amazing plans for our next generation platform treating ammunition as a store of value and a medium of exchange. Times are changing. Ammunition is not just a consumable product you store in your hot garage and occasionally stick in your gun to shoot. It is so much more. We're making that happen!
AmmoSquared Inc. has revolutionized ammunition with the new Ammo² Wallet: an ammunition bank account backed with physical ammunition. Ammunition is stored in a climate controlled environment and managed by the customer online 24/7 until physical delivery is requested. Ammunition can be bought, sold, exchanged, or even transferred to other people with just the click of a button. To learn how you can start stacking ammunition effortlessly, visit ammosquared.com today!