From the Editors

Are you prepared to serve all customers?

Recently, while preparing for an upcoming side-by-side ride, I was on the hunt for off-road gear. As a novice, I needed nearly everything: a helmet, goggles, a jersey, pants and gloves. I began my hunt on the Internet, just like most customers do these days, but what I found was quite disappointing.

Women’s off-roading gear doesn’t even have half the availability of men’s gear. On some websites, I couldn’t find any. Others had a couple options, and some had women’s gear available, but it wasn’t as easy to find as the men’s gear. I have to admit that I felt more than a little discouraged and disappointed.

Eventually Western Power Sports hooked me up with some great gear, which I’m very excited to use. Not only is it purple, pink and pretty girly, but it’s also fit for a woman. That’s right – fit is important. Whether you’re a manufacturer or a dealer, you can’t just tell a woman to buy a smaller size of men’s gear. The graphics may look just as cool to a woman, but women are shaped differently than men, and we don’t want clothes that are too loose in some places, while cutting off circulation in others.

Dealers, think about this when you look in your store. How much gear do you have available for women? How many color options do you offer? How many sizes are available on the floor?

Women are an important part of the buying equation, whether they’re riding themselves, perched on a passenger seat or are just shopping for something that looks cool. If a woman walks into your store, what will she see?

I can tell you if I walked into a dealership and saw only one rack of women’s gear with two medium green textile jackets, one pair of large leather pants, one pair of small winter gloves and a couple babydoll T-shirts, I’m not going to be impressed, and not only am I not going to buy any gear there, but I probably won’t buy my bike there either. In fact, if I was put in this situation, not only would the dealership lose me as a customer, but it would likely lose others I know because there’s a chance I’ll find a competing dealership in the area that is better prepared for female customers, and I’ll be telling everyone I know about that place.

So think about that. Think about how prepared you are for all customers, not only women, but college students, businessmen, children and anyone else who might walk into your store. And when you have apparel on your showroom floor, make sure I can find it when I go to your website. Your website needs to be an extension of your floor. If it’s in the store and ready for me to come try on and purchase, make sure I know it is when I go to your site. The more comfortable a customer feels with your selection, the more likely they are to walk back into your store.

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  1. Liz,
    Thanks for your article. I am told by many dealers that not enough women come into their shop to carry it, or not enough women ask about gear. The part I think they are missing is that a woman often won’t feel welcome if there is nothing for them there, deterring any type of conversation or another stop in the shop. I recently did a survey of my female customer and most of them shop online. It is only partly for convenience. Many don’t have a dealer near them willing to stock for them. It is a missed opportunity for the dealer – both online and in store.

  2. 85% of buying decisions in a family come from the women…make your stores women friendly even if it male products. The wife more often than not has the final say if he gets a new helmet or bike….Cater to them they are in your stores, they may ride or not but while the husband is at the parts counter she is milling around looking at what she could buy for her or her family….

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