your percussion department into the best in town is not as
daunting of a task as you may think. Obviously, it is all
relative based on opinions and who else is in town and what
they do. We can give you some ideas based on our experience
over the years in visiting many retailers, some of which specialize
in percussion only, and my experience as a drummer of 30 years
and what it has been like for me to visit a store as a drummer.
the majority of retailers sell guitars and the majority of
salespeople in the stores are guitar players….. Let us use
that as an analogy.
Many retail stores view percussion as an afterthought. Your
customers do not.
If you walk into a store looking for a guitar and there are
500 band instruments, 4 guitars, and only 2 sets of strings
to choose from…. What is your perception?
If you walk into a guitar store that carries 1 brand of guitars
(mostly low end), no tuners, no picks, etc…. what is your
In today’s retail environment it has become well known that
accessories can be one of the few areas in which a retailer
can make back some of that profit margin that has become a
“lost art” on bigger ticket items.
As a guitar dealer, do you only carry 2 brands of strings
in only 2 different gauges? Probably not. The drummers that
come into your store want a choice of drum stick manufacturers,
sizes, and tips. You don’t have to buy 1,000 pair of sticks
tomorrow, but you can build it up over time. Ask some of your
customers what they would like to see. The same thing works
for drum heads, cymbals, hardware, etc.
Just like guitar accessories, these things are the “bread
& milk” for drummers. They may not buy a brand new drum
kit from you every month, but they need accessories on a regular
basis just like guitarists.
Floor space is at a premium in a retail store, but if all
of your kits are stacked up…. They will not move!
Just like guitars, a customer wants to touch, feel, and hear
the product before they purchase it. Obviously, drums have
no volume control and there is nothing worse than a 10 year
old playing in your store for 20 minutes. However, if all
of your guitars were out of reach of the customers, your sales
All it takes to get the kit ready to sell is a new set of
drum heads and your dealer cost is minimal for that.
Don’t be afraid to carry a few higher end cymbals and a higher
end kit or 2.
That “Holy Grail” high end kit needs to be seen and wanted
by your drum customers. It is the same as it is with guitars.
It gives them something to aspire to or work towards purchasing
in the future…. From YOU!
Let’s face it….. it makes your store more prominent as well.
A Toyota car dealership in a smaller market may not sell many
Land Cruisers or Sequoias. They may sell nothing more expensive
than Corollas, but they will always have one or two of those
glamorous cars on display.
Hand drums, bongos, congas, djembes have become a huge part
of the percussion market.
The profit margins are generally good and the cost is not
Carry a few of these items in your department.
If possible, find a drummer to hire.
Drummers are “gear heads”. We like to talk gear with other
drummers and we love to keep up with the latest trends and
talk in the percussion world.
Your drum customers like to talk shop as well. Believe me.
It is almost like a different language sometimes. LOL!
retailers have given up on or “don’t want to fool with” drums.
It is a good market and there are many of us out there. There
is a drummer in every band…… well, almost anyway.
By Chris Flatt
- Formerlly of United Sales Associates, Inc.