BY NAPOLEON TETREAULT
As we are in mid-summer and just before we transition to our fall merchandising layouts, it’s a great time to ensure that the retail experience we are providing our customers is not only on par with what they have come to expect from a retail establishment, but exceeds their expectations. For us in the brick and mortar, this becomes more and more essential to our survival everyday. I used to say “more and more important,” however the truth of the matter is that the retail experience that you provide our customers is the biggest lever you have in the market and is what defines you to your customer. Let’s break it down to a few different segments for you:
Online presence—Don’t have a degree in HTML coding? That’s ok. With the shift to social media platforms maintaining an online presence is as simple as putting the time in. In addition to making sure that all your basics are updated, take the time to read this quick guide on FB ads and campaigns FB ads for local business. Be sure to download the Google Street view app and follow the prompts in order to do some walkthrough tours of your store. These should be done seasonally as well so that when a customer in Minnesota in January views your store they are not seeing lifejackets and watercraft everywhere. Check Google and Yelp to make sure your information is accurate. Your investment on this deal is a little time and a little effort!
In store merchandising—Are your displays clean? Do they have the appropriate product on them. This is summertime and it’s not appropriate to have hand warmers and bibs out on display. Make sure out-of-season stock is rotated to the storage room and that the product you have on display is seasonally appropriate. We all fall victim to using our showrooms to store product on display until it becomes relevant again. Take the time to remove these items and replace them with the proper stock or just make your store less cluttered. Call your manufacturer and distributor reps in for help and an audit of what you are missing. If you have the basics covered, focus on the second and third line item products and upsells for when you have the customer at your store. Impulse items and upsell items are all gravy!
Customer service—Make sure all your sales associates are following the GUEST acronym (Greet, Understand, Expedite, Smile, Thank) or other sales outline. Maybe its time to start a book club at work in which the store buys a different sales book each month for the employees to read and learn. Check out some videos, podcasts, or articles on making the customer experience better. A trait that makes a really good salesperson is a willingness to help, being an asset to your customer. Why stop there? Why not help yourself and your department while you are at it?
As always, my intent is not to provide you with an all-inclusive, comprehensive path to success. My intent is to inspire you to get started with some basic winning ideas so that you can execute your own plan and expand on those wins. After all, you were brought on board your team based on the talents that you bring to the team. If you are reading this it falls on you to carry the torch…
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the U.S., owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker. He can be reached at: