Friday, February 26, 2010

Merchandising the Store Properly with Armadillo

Merchandising can help you stay ahead of the curve using your number one asset - The Store Itself.

The average US store doesn't merchandise properly. Sad to say there are few stores that like to have a specialist that knows how to do this properly and I have this talk with shop owners all the time. You don't have to pay a million dollars to a consultant to make your scooter shop feel as cool as the Ferrari or Ducati dealer down the street, you just have to think like a consumer for 10 mins. What is it I see when I walk in? I always get the excuse that the store isn't meant to compete online or meant to compete with the bigger shop. This is the biggest mistake small shop owners make everyday.

The truth is you have to look at the fact that in today's world you are competing with everyone from Target to Pep Boys. So having accessories and jackets ( like Armadillo ) can make your shop stand apart from the other shop down the street. You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Many factors play into the shopping experience, but the design of a store is often the first thing that draws customers inside.

If you display jackets and a variety of helmets ( not just an empty catalog ) you are giving the customer the experience they are looking for. You have to first think about the entance, pathway to the counter, Store design/layout, Mannequin presentation and checkout counter. By nature American scooters stores tend to be run by men and they often overlook the needs of the fastest rising buyer "Women" that's right guys, most of you absolutely are terrible at stocking stuff for women. Here at MRP we now offer the Armadillo Scooter Wear line and there are lots of things you can have for the ladies to try on, including gloves, shirts, and jackets.

So once again I am going to talk about merchandising. It's the number 1 rule in the Powersports Experience. Be it a buggy shop or Vespa Dealership you need to take this to heart.

Now you don't have to go crazy investing in jackets. Merchandising can also involve ordering small quantities which allows you to increase the variety of product you offer the end user. Having something unique like exhausts, Armadillo jackets, and gloves also allows you have a conversation piece. Never underestimate the power of a conversation over a jacket when the client is looking to buy a scooter maybe that jacket or helmet could be the "deal maker" and at that point maybe you trow it in to make the sale.

TO Get some more Merchandising Ideas click here to see our full article online at MRP.

In Parts you have to have the same philosophy as Accessories. You have to try and make sure that for every brand you sell you have some parts in stock and racing parts. Why? Because it shows support for the brand. Back in the early days of the scooter boom 2000-2002 companies like Aprilia - Vespa still required dealers to keep a minimum stock of inventory, since then almost all shops try to operate with the Parts Unlimited lean Just In Time mentality, but this doesnt work. If you dont have tires and the client has to wait 3 days for a tire he will go elsewhere. You have to stock essential parts. At MRP we try our best to accommodate all the requests we get and to stock as much as possible for the stores, but we notice more and more stores operating with the JIT idea. This doesnt work all the time and to make a customer wait is the wrong approach. We know you can't stock everything but stock something. The sad part is we see more stores ( and when I visit them I point this out ) they have nothing. So if you see a store stocking thats a good sign you're at a good dealership.

When making a parts display or racing parts display its a good idea to put the exhaust near the brand you are representing. So in the SYM or Kymco corner put a sign that reads "KYMCO RACING UPGRADES" show it off! It's a good idea to group similar parts together and space them around the showroom, again to encourage traffic.

As for merchandising your sales inventory, keep your bikes clean, charged up, and ready for a test ride. Move the inventory around and try to make the store look different. I encourage store managers to change the way vehicles are displays and always keep them clean. I walk into stores where theres dust on the bikes and it makes me think these people dont wash their dishes at home either, seriously when I worked at a shop I cleaned the bikes every day with a rag. Nobody wants to buy a dusty scooter. It's hard work I know but if you do these small things the clients will have a new experience and they will buy more. Trust me on this one. Merchandise + Clean Bike + Experience = SALES

I don't mean to preach, but it's my job not just to sell, but to make sure stores stay in business. I have clients that have been buying from us for over 9 years and that means a lot. We see big stores and small stores come and go, some make the same mistakes I've seen a hundred times. So everytime I spend a weekend at a shop and work with the staff about a few months later I get a thank you card or email and that's the best reward in the business.


TO Get some more Merchandising Ideas click here to see our full article online at MRP.

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