The Armex Privilege Members Club, active from 1 March, will see a membership card shipped with every airgun in the Umarex stable, plus Armex’s own-brand products.
This uniquely numbered card allows the end-user to register for a host of benefits, including a monthly offer on an Umarex product, annual 5 per cent ‘birthday discount’ at participating retailers, regular prize draws, and promotional discounts from partner businesses.
These partners include BASC, Infac Safes, Idleback, Patrolstore, and a host of non-shooting businesses. More partners are expected to join as the scheme develops.
As a result, says Armex, guns bought via the proper channels can be identified by their associated club membership, and dealers will get extra custom thanks to the demand the club discounts generate.
An Armex spokesperson said: “Armex is privileged to have exclusive UK distribution of the portfolio of Umarex brands. Representing them is a responsibility we take extremely seriously.
“When people buy these branded products they expect a certain level of quality and in turn they are buying into the service that we offer, such as expert advice, warranty, parts and servicing, customer service and experience of the products and the trade we love.
“We are supporting hard-working dealers by driving customers into their shops, as well as rewarding the consumer for choosing the products we are proud to distribute.”
It’s hoped the scheme will help ‘clean up’ a market in which direct imports are common, particularly for replica and licensed-brand products. Armex director Alan Phelps said these products could cause unintended problems for distributor, retailer and consumer alike: “The VCR Act specifically prohibits the mail-order retailing of airguns and dictates that all such sales must be on a face-to-face basis. This regulation does not extend to products supplied to end users from EU businesses based on the continent.
“This brings about certain concerns in terms of compliance with UK laws and power limits. I think that most people would agree that the UK power limit airguns is extremely sensible and works well for the permitted activities in the UK. However, power limits vary considerably throughout the EU. Imagine receiving as an end-user a PCP from a member state with a power of 6ft/lb whose intended use is for permitted vermin control. This is clearly not a sufficient level of power for humane hunting of many species. Equally there is the potential for airguns to be bought that are over the UK limit and therefore require an individual to possess a firearms certificate.
“We work very closely with Walther-Umarex on the specification of airguns for the UK which have unique and always beneficial features which are not included on non-UK spec airguns. Importantly, what guarantee and after service will you receive from a non UK based retailer?
“We developed our Privileged Member Scheme to direct end users to their nearest authorised dealer, to receive product updates, discounts, servicing, newsletters, offers, prizes and above all reassurance that they are valued by Armex, Walther-Umarex and their retail supplier.”