Firearm merchants play a critical role in keeping the gun and ammo supply as safe as possible. When retailers use the right software to streamline sales and manage inventories, they can focus on performing accurate background checks and following regulations set at the state and federal levels. Do you have the best gun shop software for your business?
The number of guns sold in the United States peaked at 22.8 million in 2020. Americans have bought fewer guns in the years since, but firearm sales remain historically high. With such high demand, firearm merchants need software that helps them serve customers and streamline processes.
Do you manage an eCommerce gun store that sells firearms online or a brick-and-mortar gun shop that serves customers in person? Take some time to review your payment processing, licensing management and inventory management software to choose the best option for your needs.
Table of contents
- What Types of Software Can Benefit Firearms Merchants?
- Epicur: Best Software for FFL and ATF Compliance
- Bankcard: Best Payment Gateway Software
- Windward: Best Inventory Management Software
- Get Started With Bankcard
What Types of Software Can Benefit Firearms Merchants?
Firearms merchants need software built with their industry in mind. The options used by other retail stores probably won’t meet the needs of a gun store because they don’t focus on regulatory compliance and other factors essential to the firearms industry.
When comparing gun store software, look for the following options to improve compliance and streamline your business processes.
Regulatory compliance software
Regulatory compliance can get complicated for firearm merchants. Compliance gun shop software makes it much easier for you to collect and retain the information needed to pass an FFL (federal firearms licensee) inspection. These pieces of information should include:
- The manufacturer, model and serial number of every gun you sell.
- Every buyer’s full name, current address, place of birth and Social Security number.
- The signatures of buyers and the gun store employees completing the transactions.
Payment processing software
Most payment processing companies don’t want to work with firearm merchants because they consider guns a high-risk industry. That likely means you will need to find a company with high-risk merchant services. Expect to pay higher fees than businesses operating in “lower-risk” industries. Bankcard helps keep your fees as low as possible by giving you straightforward pricing without any surprises.
Some of the features you should look for in payment processing software include:
- Integrations with popular ecommerce, bookkeeping and inventory management apps.
- High-risk credit card processing through a payment gateway that helps prevent chargebacks.
- Tokenization that protects private data without forcing regular customers to enter their information with every purchase.
- Recurring billing for shooting range members.
- Batch processing that can process a large number of transactions at the same time.
- Mobile payment processing that lets you accept credit cards and other forms of payment at gun shows and other out-of-store locations.
- Online payment processing that takes advantage of the growing number of consumers who prefer ecommerce.
Bankcard fulfills these and many other payment processing needs, making it a top option for firearm merchants.
Inventory management software
Inventory management gun shop software plays a role in meeting FFL inspections. Without good inventory management, you probably can’t give inspectors accurate information about what items you’ve sold and currently have in stock. Inventory management should also streamline your business processes by making it easier for you to know when you should order popular items and whether you should reconsider selling unpopular items.
Some of the best inventory management software includes features like:
- Real-time inventory tracking for your brick-and-mortar store and ecommerce site.
- Low stock alerts that tell you when to order supplies to meet customer demands.
- Transaction histories from all of your suppliers, including when items reach your warehouse or store.
- Unlimited SKUs that let your business grow without facing barriers or additional fees.
- Statistics showing which items earn you the most revenue or the highest profit.
- Information about how long items have been sitting in stock.
- The average number of days for specific items to sell.
- Integration with ecommerce tools you can use to market your business or sell items online.
Epicur: Best Software for FFL and ATF Compliance
Epicur offers all of the features you need to stay FFL and ATF-compliant. Some of the reasons firearm dealers use Epicur include its:
- Automated A&D Bound Book management, reconciliations and audits that assure compliance with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
- Integrated retail and bound book solutions that prevent errors and redundant work.
- End-to-end retail business management.
- Enhanced services that help customers complete forms accurately.
The next time law enforcement wants to review your business practices, Epicur FFL software can provide details from firearm transactions, including serial numbers, customer names, background checks and addresses.
Are there reliable alternatives to Epicur’s compliance software?
You have some alternatives if you don’t want to use Epicur’s compliance software. If you need an acquisition and disposition book (A&D book) and compliance software, you might also want to explore options like:
- Orchid: a suite of products that meet the diverse needs of gun stores, ecommerce sites and even gun manufacturers.
- FastBound: compliance software that comes with electronic FFL bound books, automatic background checks and FFL autocomplete that helps prevent human error.
- Easy Bound Book: a cloud-based or on-premises electronic bound book program with multiple versions developed to meet firearms sellers and manufacturers’ unique needs.
- Rapid Gun Systems: an all-in-one system that improves regulatory compliance, tracks changes in your inventory and uses mobile features for selling at gun shows.
Why do gun stores need compliance software?
The ATF conducts inspections to ensure that all FFL gun stores comply with federal and state regulations. Typically, they do not let you know when they will come to your location to inspect your documents and inventory. You should expect ATF inspections to happen at any time.
Tracking inventory and buyer information manually takes enormous effort and time. It also introduces more opportunities for human error. Getting reliable FFL compliance software helps ensure that you pass inspections so your business can continue operating without disruptions.
Compliance software becomes even more critical when your store has multiple locations, you sell items online, or you attend gun shows. A cloud-based inventory system can maintain accurate information even when you sell products from more than one place.
Bankcard: Best Payment Gateway Software
Payment processors consider firearms retail stores and ecommerce shops “high risk.” Business owners will need a high-risk merchant account to process payments.
Keep in mind that not all payment processing systems choose to work with gunsmiths and firearms distributors. Those that do often charge FFL retailers higher fees and interest rates.
Bankcard is the top gun-friendly payment processor because it:
- Offers straightforward pricing, so you know what fees to expect.
- Uses data encryption to protect the payment information of online and in-store transactions.
- Integrates with popular web-based stores, including Shopify and WooCommerce.
- Has a payment gateway with real-time fund verification that reduces chargebacks and incomplete purchases.
- Integrates with QuickBooks for easy invoicing that helps you track pending and processed payments.
You get a free mobile payment reader when you sign up for a Bankcard account. You can use these options for any business in the firearms industry, including pawn shops, shooting ranges and gun stores that ship special orders.
Is it legal to process payments for guns online?
Using an ecommerce solution means you can sell firearms to customers online. Federal laws do not prevent you from processing payments online. (However, you should always check state laws to ensure that you follow regulations.)
That raises an important question, though. How do you get orders to buyers after you process their purchases online?
Is it even legal to ship guns through the mail?
It is, but you cannot send guns directly to an individual. Instead, you can ship the order to a gun store with a federal license. The customer can go to that location to pick up their order. Of course, they still need to pass background checks and abide by wait times. The store working with you to deliver the product might also charge you a fee. Remember that you can offer similar services to make money from other stores using online marketing tools to connect with customers and increase sales.
Windward: Best Inventory Management Software
All stores need a retail management system that lets them track inventory. Without an all-in-one solution, you will struggle to keep items in stock, gauge consumer demand and maximize profits. Consider what happens when you run out of Glock 19 handguns and customers who want to buy them come to your store. You will lose sales and revenue if you don’t control your inventory. An inventory management app makes it easier to restock, so you don’t lose that revenue.
Windward Software is a good choice because it provides a broad range of features, including:
- Bar code scanning that automatically updates your inventory when you make a sale.
- Multi-store logistics that let you control your inventory at several stores, not just one.
- Serial number tracking that keeps you compliant with federal regulations.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) that provides a more personalized shopping experience.
Windward has features that help you analyze trends to anticipate evolving consumer needs.
Are there reliable alternatives to Windward’s inventory management software?
Windward Software is one of the most reliable and popular options for managing a gun store’s inventory. There are some alternatives worth considering, though. Other inventory management software options you might want to explore include:
- Gun StoreMaster: offers a Basic plan for stores that stock up to 50 items and a Pro version for larger retail businesses.
- Trident 1: a cloud-based solution that comes with CRM, compliance and inventory management features.
- Gearfire: ecommerce software that automatically manages your inventory.
If you need a high-risk payment processor for Windward Software, consider using Bankcard. Bankcard gives you affordable rates for high-risk merchant and payment gateway accounts. The more money you save, the more you can dedicate toward building your business.
What are the most popular guns to keep in stock?
Inventory software systems can help you manage the items you know your customers want to buy. If you recently opened your store, though, you might need to start from the beginning by purchasing wholesale firearms that will appeal to consumers in your area.
Some of the most popular guns sold in the US include:
- Glock G19, a 9mm Luger handgun.
- Sig Sauer P365, a daily carry weapon with models for 9mm and .380 ACP rounds.
- Springfield Armory Hellcat, a micro-compact handgun with a 13+1 extended capacity.
- Taurus G2C, a lightweight handgun with models designed for 9mm Luger and 40 S&W rounds.
- Ruger AR-556, a rifle with magazines that can carry 10 to 30 rounds.
- Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport, a 25-round rifle that fires 22 LR rounds.
- Mossberg Maverick Model 88, an affordable, pump-action shotgun.
- G Force Arms GF3T Tactical, a pump-action shotgun with top and bottom Picatinny rails.
Inventory management software developed for gun stores should give you an accurate count of how many of these items you have in stock. For high-risk payment processing, turn to Bankcard to enjoy low fees, secure transactions and fast deposits.
Get Started With Bankcard
If you have a store that sells firearms, ammo and related items, you need secure payment processing software from a company that works with high-risk merchants. Bankcard’s payment gateway and EMV terminal make it easier for your business to succeed. Plus, Bankcard charges some of the lowest prices for high-risk industries.
Talk to Bankcard today to get the best gun shop software and learn more about how reliable payment processing can help you improve your business affordably.