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Is your store giving a bad first impression?

By Jennifer Robison

Jennifer Robison 2011Smaller retailers in many industries outside of powersports have challenges with their visual presentations. I see retailers from nail salons, tax preparer’s offices, dry cleaners, and, as shown in the image, pawn shops, struggle with visual presentations. This store’s employees clearly lack experience, skill, or training in visual merchandising and store appeal. Rather than pick on powersports retailers, I will use this local retailer in my town to show some of what I see happening in some powersports retailers.

Here is a window display on a main street with people constantly walking by that is so unappealing it is not attracting customers in anyway nor is it enticing them to come inside. The merchandise is old; the display is never changed. (I frequent a business next door monthly and this window has not changed one bit in years.) The scale of product displayed is too small; the blue wall is awful, and it looks like a yard sale. On top of it, they never dust the products, nor have they clean up the leaves. But, they do have the windows washed.

9-18 Jen 1The boxes are sun baked; the products could be bought at any thrift store or garage sale. Would you want to waste great window space on this?

Your windows; your curb appeal is being judged. You may not think it matters, but it does! One, why would I ever go inside unless I want a really bargain deal? Why would I think this is a store that has newer products to buy?

9-18 Jen 2This image shows that the felt is worn, dirty and tattered. Your showcases could be in this condition and costing you retail sales every day.

What should you do?

Look at all parts of your store more closely.

What needs to be replaced, cleaned deeply, fixed, remerchandised and boosted? Make sure you’re not leaving old, unsold products in a place, showcase, or wall display or anywhere in the store. It’s better to take a margin loss than to try to flog dead product in a dead space.

Customers see poor merchandising issues as a lack of care and generally judge you as discounter bargain bin store. Is that what your goal was?

9-18 Jen 3I have preached this before, but look at your store, what is poor condition? Can you spend the slower season and make repairs before the next big seasonal push? Taking the time is worth it; customers always respond when they see change and newer elements to stores. Mainstream brick and mortar retailers, from big chains to smaller stores, all invest in making the space new and fresh every 5-10 years. Many of them boost in a big way because they know it keeps customers’ interest. Brick and mortar retailers have so many advantages; don’t let something like neglect or lack of recent care hold you back. Everybody knows somebody — family, friends, or customers — that can help you make your store fresh and new.

Jennifer Robison’s career began in 1987 when she served as a service writer/parts sales for a high-end import auto dealer before becoming one of the first generation of Harley-Davidson Motorclothes managers at a Northwest dealership (1991-2000). From 2002 on, Jennifer has been with Tucker Rocky Distributing. Jennifer has educated the Tucker Rocky sales force and dealers about the powersports apparel business and powersports retailing. Jennifer’s expertise is in powersports retailing, merchandising and display, promotions and in-store marketing. She has lectured and written about powersports retailing and continues to perform dealer educational workshops and seminars across the United States.

Contact: jrobison@tuckerrocky.com
Website: www.tuckerrocky.com 

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