Variety: The spice of life (and ammunition)!

You’re going to see some new ammo brands in the future…

Variety: The spice of life (and ammunition)!

You’re going to see some new ammo brands in the future…

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”  – Paulo Coelho, Brida

A couple of months back we had a customer write on our “Keep AMMO² Honest” survey (the one that goes out with every confirmation email) something along these lines:

“I like the service, but why do you guys usually send the same crappy brands in my shipment???”

This got me thinking. Do we?

(Of course, the term “crappy brands” is relative to the individual shooter. But it was worth investigating further.)

In some cases, for certain lower volume calibers, we have just one low to mid-tier brands like PPU, Sellier & Bellot, or Armscor. If we just have one caliber we err on the side of the cheaper brands to keep prices as low as possible. For calibers with multiple brands, we have been able to mix in some variety and slightly higher quality (PMC, Remington, Aguila, that sort of thing).

But what I realized after reading that comment, is that we are boxing ourselves in a corner by charging just enough to cover the low-mid grade brands and nothing else.

We’ve always tried to keep our prices in the bottom third of the caliber’s average price. That means that we have typically bought a lot of the same brands. For service grade, it would be PPU, Sellier and Bellot, Remington, Winchester, Aguila, PMC. For value grade, which is aluminum or steel case, our go-to brands are usually Tula and Wolf.

The drawback of this strategy is that it constrains what ammo we can provide to our customers. We are limited by price to many of the same repetitive brands.

We mulled on this complaint for a while and came up with a better solution. Something that would allow us to sprinkle in some of the more unique and higher grade brands you might wish you were able to try out but never “pulled the trigger” on at your local store.

In the coming months, you see some different brands in your box like Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore, T1 Match, Super Vel, and other previously out of reach brands.

We already started breaking our boring brand pattern with June shipments: If you got a box this month you might have seen some Hornady Frontier, SigAmmo, Hornady Black, Winchester LE Training Ammo, Browning, Stelth Ammo, Jesse James, Federal Premium (in-service grade), and Blazer Aluminum instead of Tula or Wolf in value grade.

Unfortunately, nothing comes without a trade-off and in order to offer more variety, we need to raise prices slightly from our previous floor.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: our strategy to date has been to target the bottom third in a particular calibers price range (which, as you would expect, limited us to the bottom third brands). This kept our prices competitive but also kept our brand choices limited. In order to bring the level of brand quality up, we’re adjusting prices to the middle of the pack for a given caliber. That will allow us to mix things up and include mid-tier brands as a default, but also include some higher tier brands which we’ll offset by a low tier brand. Here’s how a typical shipment might look in practice:

  1. 25% lower tier (PPU, Sellier & Bellot, Magtech, Armscor).
  2. 50% mid-tier (Remington, Aguila, Winchester, CCI/Speer, Fiocchi, Federal),
  3. 25% upper tier (Hornady, Sig, Underwood, Barnes, Federal Premium)

During our analysis, we realized that by keeping our prices flat over the past few months, we were selling below cost in a few instances. (That’s not a good long term strategy for success!) So we have adjusted prices across the board to better bring them in line with this new strategy and the brands we are offering.

What that means is that some prices are going up (but surprisingly some are also going down). On average, with this new approach, we’ll see a 5% increase in prices.

Compared to some things like healthcare or college tuition, 5% is not that bad! Keep in mind that some calibers we have been keeping artificially low (selling near cost) so there will be a larger percentage increase. But in general, across our 170 caliber variations, the average bump is only 5%.

The huge benefit to you guys, especially if you have been with us for a while, is that we’ll be able to mix and match more calibers and a wider variety of brands in your future shipments. Don’t be surprised to see some really awesome brands showing up in your box and no longer the same old tired brands!

If you have questions, as always, let us know! Also, as we recently mentioned in an email, we have updated our inventory system as part of this whole change and can now show more detail about brands and bullet weights. You can see “what’s on tap” on our Current Inventory page.