From the Editors

The essentials of women’s apparel

I’ve heard dealers say time and again they’re unsure of what to carry for women’s clothing because women are so picky and there aren’t enough women riders to carry a large inventory.

Here are a couple things Claire Maguire, national brand manager for apparel company Fieldsheer, says are absolute musts in your dealership:

• Size right. Even if you only have one women’s apparel line, make sure it has a full range of sizes, not just XS-L. The average American woman is 5-foot-4, weighs 140 pounds and wears a size 14. The twist: Size 14 is the beginning size in which “plus-sized” clothing begins. That means you need clothing that extends through at least XL if not up to XXL. Keep in mind that one-third of all American women wear a size 16 or larger.

• Special order. If you don’t have a correct size, don’t put a female rider into any man’s apparel, even if the size fits. Male clothing is not tailored to a woman’s body. It’s only going to leave the female rider uncomfortable and unhappy. It’s better to special order a piece of clothing than send them out the door in a jacket that’s just OK. Ask your sales representatives for sizing charts, so you and the female rider know what they should fit into.

For more on the essentials of women’s clothing, look for an upcoming issue of Powersports Business.

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  1. I think it may not just be an issue of whether or not a dealer stocks a large selection of women’s apparel – the bigger issue is how women are treated in a dealership. My personal experience this week was of being in a large multi-line showcase dealership, examining the merchandise for 25 MINUTES and of being IGNORED the entire time!! Not ONE person greeted or acknowleged me, never mind offering to help as they saw me looking…. It’s no wonder women feel initmiated! Come on dealers, make the ladies feel welcome! (it doesn’t cost a dime!).

  2. The reality here is that Lady Riders expirience may have had nothing to do with her gender.
    When I would prospect for new dealerships I would look for how I was greeted or in many cases not.
    and I was ignored alot.
    recently in our economic climate I have also observed sales people who are happier to complain about how business is off to each other and when a customer walks in they would be on such a role they ignore him or her.
    aparently a sign of a lack of sales skill and or training.
    but that is just my .02

  3. Matt,

    You are correct, it has nothing to do with gender, but lack of customer service and lack of focus on the ultimate goal.

    A sales person will stand there and say that is not my job to sell accessories, but they are missing the big picture. That is a potential customer who may one day want a new bike. Who are they going to come see? How do new relationships start?

    Furthermore, the lack of help is a reflection on the dealership. Would you purchase a new vehicle from somewhere that you cannot get help with a jacket? What kind of help will you get when you really have a problem?

    In current economic times, it is up to the store manager / owner to use this time to train its employees and help raise its customer service levels to new heights.

    This is also a perfect time for product training. How do you assist a customer better, knowing the product and how you can get it for them. Whether it is a helmet or a new sled, knowing what is right for your customer is key.

    So, whether the customer is a male or female, the potential for them to spend a little money at your facility is key. It may be an accessories sales, but small profits pay to keep the lights on, the insurance paid and other bills paid so that there is somewhere for everyone to come to work to every day and so that there is the potential to sell a new bike because you have the ability to pay the bills and have inventory.

    More people need to look at the whole picture, but again, it starts with leadership

  4. Tourmaster, Cortech, Fieldsheer and Pokerrun brands all carry sizes up to Ladies 20-22. They also carry tall sizes….

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