Tucker Rocky Show: Jennifer Robison's rapid fire primer on visual display

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GRAPEVINE, Texas - Retail specialist Jennifer Robison's seminar called "Fun with the Fundamentals of Visual Display," was a fast hour of dos and don'ts of how to (or how not to) merchandize a dealership.

"Less is more," Robison urged the crowd assembled Saturday morning in the Grapevine Ballroom at the Gaylord Texan Resort. The group was there attending Tucker Rocky's Sales Meeting and Dealer Show.

Avoid clutter and crowding, give your products some breathing space, you have four seconds to get a customer's attention. Cramming the store with tons of stuff confuses customers and doesn't do the dealership any good, she said, adding, "I'd rather have you have less displayed, but change it more often."

And, this time of year (well, any time of year) it's especially important to quickly move out all seasonal items, she said, mentioning that now's the time to be blowing out jerseys and pants, and mesh gear, as fall and winter are approaching.

Pitching one for the company team, she urged the crowd to stock essential parts such as mirrors, tie-downs, turn signals, etcs, naming Tucker Rocky's own Bike Master brand as a great source for gear that looks great and has clean, merchandisable packaging. "We have everything in the essentials market to make your store look like a higher end store," she said.

Quickly jumping into more display talk, she showed slides of product on display on a slat wall, and said that it's important to merchandize products vertically, not side-by-side, adding that for small wall spaces this technique works very well.

As an example, she showed a picture of a long slat wall that she helped a dealer reconfigure, saying that when she first got to the store, it was filled with product that was many years old.

Get rid of stock — have a tent sale, a fire sale, whatever — it's costly to have around and time-consuming to work with, she said. "Only stock things that are high turning and fast moving. Yes margins are good, but in this economy, cash is king," Robison added. "The term cash flow has got to stick in your mind. Basically your products are renting the space from you."

Some of Robison's other points:

  • Robison pointed out the benefits of branded fixtures, that they're great for direct shoppers, can introduce customers to new brands, and that they help keep inventory neat and easy to restock.
  • The upside of using props, especially wooden shipping pallets, a tactic she called "pallet chic." Being everybody gets pallets into their dealerships, why not use them well? One slide featured a pallet as a display stand for a bunch of Ogio bags. "I believe products should never sit directly on a floor. Target doesn't do it. Wal-Mart doesn't do it."
  • When customers walk into a store they look left, and then turn right — much like a person does when entering an intersection on the road. Plan your showrooms accordingly.
  • Use clean, simple language and graphics on a sign. She urged them to look at mall stores and see how they do it.
  • Even sales items should be displayed nicely, but should be in the back of the department. "You should always put your best stuff forward. Your bestest, neatest stuff should be up front," she said.

Robison will conduct another seminar Sunday, July 11 at 1 p.m. in the Grapevine Ballroom 1.