Selling Firearms online is quite different than almost all other businesses. You can sell any kind of products and accessories in a simple way, but to sell firearms you need to redirect the buyer to the local specialty dealers.
The reason is there are thousands of gun laws determining how to fulfill the firearms purchasing orders. Firearm laws vary from state to state, so to comply with federal, state and local gun laws is the most important consideration before building a new ecommerce website to sell firearms.
The biggest challenge in the development of gun and firearms e-commerce websites is to translate the offline shopping experience to an online digital environment. We identified key requirements that are unique within the gun industry and then devised a custom solution to provide both users and site admins with everything they are looking for.
By default the shopping carts do not have the structure to work perfectly for guns ecommerce websites. These are the three major challenges faced by guns e-retailers.
1- Direct shipping to the buyer’s personal address is not permitted
The federal law requires a Federal Firearms License (FFL) form to be completed by the company selling the firearms. The involvement of the FFL holder ensures that the buyer meets the criteria set by the government. Also, before taking ownership, verification of identity and the submission of the ATF Form 4473 must be completed.
Knowing this we can understand that under the current gun laws nobody can just go online, add a gun to his cart, and get it shipped directly to his house. The only possible way is to buy a gun is through an FFL dealer.
2- Manual entry of shipping address should not be allowed
Another issue, related to the previous discussed issue, is that checkout pages allow customers to enter their shipping and billing addresses by themselves, or use the checkbox option to keep the shipping address same as that of billing address. As shipping directly to the buyer’s personal address is not possible through gun ecommerce website, both of the features, i.e. manual input of shipping address & use of checkbox, are irrelevant here. The presence of shipping address form fields and checkbox option is not needed at all.
3- No built-in integration with the ATF database
No cart comes with the built-in ability to fetch data from ATF data. We will have to consider integration with ATF database to take the vendor’s information for the customer so that the buyer can select from the nearest store around his location. A seamless integration with the checkout page will be a solution that will work with the checkout page.
The guns and firearms industry required a customized solution to facilitate online customers buying on their websites. We created it!
1- Development of a custom dashboard
FFL holders data is the key to devising smart solutions for the firearms and guns ecommerce websites. Our custom built dashboard will help e-commercee site owners to quickly add and manage FFL data. The primary objective of this custom-built dashboard is to provide everything you might need. The dashboard comes in handy for medium to large size guns and firearms ecommerce websites, and allows managing hundreds and thousands of FFL dealers with ease.
2- Disabling manual entry of shipping address
Why should we ask for shipping address, when it is not needed or doesn’t make sense on the Guns online store? By default, the shipping address form fields are present at the checkout page, which will be confusing and misleading during the purchase process. Therefore, we disabled the manual input for shipping address fields and also removed the checkbox option saying “same as billing address”.
3- Integration of checkout page with the ATF database and Google Maps
The objective of the ATF integration with the checkout page is to tie up the database directly for the real-time access to the data. This enables the customer to search across the database comfortably without any manual work. In the second part of this integration, we integrated Google Maps with the checkout page.
The customers will be asked to enter zip code. Once they provide the zip code, it will display the nearest stores listings and locations on the dynamic Google Map. This beautiful and configurable integration will create a user-friendly experience to find the nearest shipping spot based on their entered zip code.
The custom dashboard and integration of checkout page with the ATF database and Google Maps will give guns and firearms ecommerce websites a competitive edge in the industry. It helps assure your customers that your gun store is trustworthy. Moreover, they are comfortable with the purchase process on your website.
The real-time access to the critical ATF data and using it for shipping address will lead to better efficiency, an enhanced buying experience and improved credibility of the company that will actually make a difference to the bottom line of the business.
Get this solution
If you are ready to build your new firearms ecommerce website and are facing the same above-mentioned challenges, we are here to add the solutions to your website. There are hundreds of shopping carts to pick from, and Shopify, Volusion, Bigcommerce and Magento are the few big names among them. Choose the software that best meets your business demands and add our custom solutions to make it perfectly functional for the guns industry.
Contact us today and talk to us about your new ecommerce project and to get expert advice!