Merchandising should stop customers in their tracks.
Your merchandising efforts should build a view into the fun world of powersports. Otherwise, customers will just walk on by. Check out the box on this page to get a rough estimate of how your own P&A department measures up; then read on to learn how to improve your score.
Setting Up Views
Look at Bass Pro Shops and consider the term category killer. It means that in any of their outdoor topics they have it all — every accessory to enjoy the hobby. Employees know their products and how to use them, regardless if they actually use them. Customers have no need to go to another outdoor store. This one-stop shopping tends to keep them coming back satisfied. They may come into the store for one item and leave with many more.
Seasons change and inventory shifts. You can't carry every item in every supplier's catalog all the time. Smart managers prepare for seasons early and choose several price points, styles, models, etc., for that season.
Think like a rider. Take a look around your dealership and consider the "visual window" you create. Is it complete? Provide what the consumers want, not just what you personally like. If you are primarily a dirt enthusiast, learn what street riders like and need, and vice versa.
Every view should be good to breathtaking. The first impression looking into any accessory department or subdepartment should be that it's visually pleasing and clutter-free. Every area should include a focal point. Use the wall or a tiered table at the entrance to the area from the walkway. A combination of both would be even better.
Set up wall systems so that new products overflow onto floor fixtures. Your fixturing should be of varying sizes and configurations, but matching in style to keep continuity. Organize the products so that they make shopping sense. Customers appreciate it when similar products are seen in close proximity, such as boots with socks, and helmets with helmet bags and visors. This approach also helps your sales associates upsell.
Put items of the same or coordinating colors together. It will look better and enable the customer to visualize complementary items as a full outfit.
Every month has some type of "retail holiday" event. During the patriotic months of May, June and July, for example, offer more red-white-and-blue products, including flags and flag holders.
The focal point of a tiered table is a great place to promote a holiday event. Keep the table fresh by stocking it with various coordinating products and signage such as "Great gifts for Dad." These techniques will keep your idea in focus for the customer.
Remember, you spend eight hours or more in your store each day, but your customer comes through with about a four-second attention span. Thus, your displays have to be billboard-quality. If clean, simple and clear, your displays can grab the customer's attention even as he races back to the parts counter.
Christy Michaud is a retail merchandising specialist at Tucker Rocky Distributing. E-mail questions and comments to Michaud via firstname.lastname@example.org.