Jim Rasmus: Simple remodeling solutions help dealers boost traffic, sales

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2013
By Beth Dolgner

DEALER EXPO, Indianapolis, Ind. – Mention the word remodel and most dealers will cringe.

While remodeling does require careful budget planning, it doesn’t have to be extensive or overly costly. In his seminar “Designing Your Store for the Future,” Retail Design Associates President Jim Rasmus outlined steps for remodeling dealerships to increase traffic, style and sales.

Rasmus stressed that even painting the interior of a dealership can make an impact, providing a fresh look without being expensive. Remodeling can be broken up into phases to further offset costs. “Sales and profits will incrementally increase,” said Rasmus. “Phase One will pay for Phase Two, and then Phase One and Two will pay for Phase Three.”

The phases of remodeling can be broken down into five specific areas. Improving the outside image of a dealership will draw in more traffic, while the inside image is where customers can be enticed to buy. The third aspect of remodeling is directing customer traffic. Rasmus cited the necessity of wide, accessible walkways as well as a path that is anything but direct from the front door to the parts counter.

“If they have a direct path to parts, you lose. By directing traffic, you will control sales,” Rasmus said. “Traffic flow gets your customers to go where you want them to go and to see what you want them to see.”

Lighting is also a key factor in remodeling, from where the lights are directed to just how bright they are. Not only can lighting draw customers to a specific display, Rasmus said, but it can also convey a certain feel that reflects the dealership’s image.

The final step in the remodel list is more comprehensive, covering fixtures, staff and merchandising. Everything on the floor has to be evaluated, from how products are presented to how the sales staff interacts with customers. Remodeling can include staff as well as the storefront.

To help dealers plan their own remodeling process, Rasmus has his “Ten-Point Store Review” available at Booth 5844.