While the location, product mix, and customer base of firearm retailers vary across the country, retail FFLs generally share the same core challenges, including increased competition, low profit margins, constant compliance risk and seasonal consumer spending. Business owners and operators may not be able to completely avoid these difficulties, but flexible cloud solutions can help retailers adapt and overcome them.
According to Epicor’s 2021 “Industry Insights Report,” 87% of businesses said the cloud is flexible enough to meet their business needs. For firearm retailers, needs can often be traced back to operational efficiencies.
Every retail FFL needs a point of sale (POS) system and bound book, but traditional on-premises systems often lack the functionality and flexibility of modern cloud-based solutions. With the cloud, retailers can process transactions, track inventory levels and automate ordering, integrate with CRM, accounting and ecommerce tools, and manage firearm acquisitions and dispositions in-store and on the go with just a WiFi connection. For retailers wanting to save time and money, as well as modernize their business, cloud-based software can lighten the day-to-day burdens without hampering compliance.
Speaking of compliance – 70% of those surveyed by Epicor claimed the cloud makes it easier to adhere to government data compliance regulations. However, the security benefits of the cloud for firearm retailers goes far beyond just data.
Not only does the cloud allow for software to be updated automatically with little to no system maintenance so you’re always running the latest version to meet the latest compliance requirements, but it also protects critical firearms data, such as A&D records, FFL licenses, ATF variances and other documents, from physical theft or loss. Rather than stored on-site, where computer hard drives can be more easily overwritten, stolen, damaged or completely lost from potential water, fire and natural disaster damage, the cloud stores and backs up data digitally where it is secured by encryption, multi-factor authentication and controlled access, and can be accessed from anywhere.
With that level of protection, it’s no wonder nine out of 10 businesses believe their data is safer in cloud-based solutions.
If 2020 taught business owners anything, it’s the importance of resiliency. While the pandemic affected all businesses in some shape or form, those mostly or all on the cloud were the least negatively affected, according to Epicor, with 84% of retailers and 92% of distributors polled agreeing the cloud helped them deal with the impact of Covid-19.
An essential component for business future-proofing, the cloud is incredibly scalable and, as mentioned earlier, adaptable, to business, market and industry changes. From moving and opening new store locations to altering how or where you conduct business (i.e., gun shows, ecommerce, etc.), cloud solutions can more easily and affordably help your business prepare for and succeed in the future thanks to lower hardware demands, greater flexibility and increased security.
The firearms industry may be “old school,” but 94% of industry decision makers surveyed believe technology is critical for expansion, and retailers must keep up with the times to serve today’s consumer.
When selecting cloud technology, you’re not just selecting a provider, you’re selecting a partner. From data migration to training to troubleshooting, you want a partner who understands and supports you – like a relationship.
“Wherever you’re at on your journey to cloud, you need a technology partner who understands what makes you different and offers tailored technology solutions to help make you more successful,” said Epicor President, Himanshu Palsule. “Due to the dynamic times we’re in, you want a solutions provider who is committed to continually adding value to your partnership.”
At Orchid, we pride ourselves on offering best-in-class service to accompany our industry leading cloud-based solutions. Our firearms technology, operations and compliance experts are with you at every step of implementation and continue to support your business as needed.