Want more female customers? Hold the pink

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Step away from the Hello Kitty decals!

Powersports dealers are making a mistake if they try to market to women with pink leathers and other “feminized” products, according to the editor of the U.K.-published CAP Green Book.

Alan Elsworth says the most successful female-friendly dealers focus on safety and practicality rather than fashion, and that research consistently suggests that treating women differently is a mistake that could hold back attempts to grow the female biking fraternity beyond its current estimated 10 to 15 percent of the market.

"A typical example of the desire among women to be treated on an equal footing came from a dealer contact recently who was selling to a married couple who were both starting out as riders. After making sensible bike choices, under the expert guidance of dealer staff, they were then pointed to riding kit and offered professional safety information. But when the dealer suggested the woman check out the "ladies gear" her immediate response was to ask if there was anything available non-pink,” he writes in the latest edition of Green Book.

Other trends he spotted in his research: couple-run dealerships are more successful in retailing to women.

“No doubt they connect more easily with the female customer because they understand” women riders, he writes. Dealers should take a cue from specialist vendors of female biking apparel, who eschew frills.

"The advice is, don't tar women with a pink brush and instead realize that if women are better understood a still largely untapped market is probably there for the taking," Elsworh concludes.

Posted by Holly Wagner