From the Editors

Are you already thinking about the holidays?

Liz Hochstedler blogHalloween is quickly approaching, and we all know what happens next. Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here, followed quickly by Hanukkah and Christmas.

If you haven’t yet come up with a marketing game plan to get customers in your dealership, spending their holiday bucks with you, then you need to now.

Big in the news over the past week or so has been the news that Kohl’s, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and others will be opening late Thanksgiving night. That means major retailers are already talking to the retail consumer. And I’ve already seen Christmas decorations for sale in at least one store. Remember, the dealership across the street isn’t your only competitor when it comes to the retail dollar — especially during the holidays.

Some dealerships are already on the ball, getting customers into the holiday spirit. In its most recent e-newsletter, Power 50 dealership Bob Weaver Motorsports & Marine was advertising free layaway for Christmas. Spitzie’s Motorcycle Center sent a newsletter out Oct. 11 advertising Harley-Davidson Christmas ornaments and mentioning clothing, jewelry, watches and other products as ideal gift options. Other dealerships have also been promoting toy runs, which not only help local charities, but also get customers in the holiday spirit.

Though we’ve heard a lot of holiday retail tips over the years, I’m going to rehash some of my favorites as reminders as to what you can do to encourage customers to spend their gift-giving cash at your dealership.

Offer Black Friday deals. For the high-energy, thrifty buyers, Black Friday is THE day to start holiday shopping. They’re out in force, looking for whatever deals they can get. You don’t have to giveaway the bank on Black Friday, but it’s great to offer some sort of special to lure customers in. You can’t upsell if customers aren’t in your dealership in the first place. To read about some dealers who have done Black Friday right in the past, check out my blog from a couple years ago here.

Create a holiday atmosphere. When you walk into a major department store any time in November or December, what do you see? Christmas trees, decorations, wrapping paper, etc. You’re probably also going to hear Christmas music, and if a store has really thought things though, you’ll probably smell something that reminds you of the holidays. That atmosphere is created purposefully, to remind customers of holiday gift-giving spirit. Creating that Christmas feel is especially important for a powersports retailer, which customers may not think of first when considering holiday purchases.

Bundle gift items. This is a favorite of Tucker Rocky’s Jennifer Robison, so I’m going to borrow it from her. Bundling similar items together allows a novice to easily pick out a gift for a rider. Maybe the buyer wants to purchase a pair of gloves for a loved one, but doesn’t feel that’s enough for a complete gift. Bundle them with sunglasses, glove liners and/or a small storage bag. Offer bundles at a variety of price points to appeal to more gift givers. Also, make sure you reach a variety of demographics, including men, women, children, off-roaders and street bike riders, etc.

Don’t forget stocking stuffers. Stocking stuffers can be a source of frustration for any gift-giver looking for something cooler than some chocolate Santas, but cheaper than an iPad Mini to put in a stocking. Adding stocking stuffers, such as ornaments, jewelry, key chains, gift cards and socks, near the registers can encourage some impulsive stocking stuffer buys.

Sure, Christmas is about two months away, but it’s coming quicker than we think, and it’s always important to fight for that consumer dollar when they’re already in buying mode.

Liz Keener is the managing editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She assembles the brand’s twice-a-week e-news and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive national dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis and dealership conference, Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo.



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