The calendar page may only reflect November 2017 right now, but now is the time to start preparing for a better year in 2018! Contrary to the onslaught of negativity touted on the news, reasons exist to be confident that 2018 can be a better year for business: the stock market is up 25 percent in the last 12 months creating over 5.2 trillion dollars in valuation just this year alone, consumer confidence is at the highest level since 2004 and the economy grew by more than 3 percent in the second quarter of 2017.
The powersports industry is poised for a great year!
Why? Major manufacturers are finally focusing more attention on some great affordable starter bikes in the 250 to 500cc range, which can help provoke interest in folks considering buying a motorcycle. Additionally, a brisk business has been brewing in the used bike market, which can also boost new interest in riding. Further, the number of women riders has nearly doubled over the last 15 years and they are a part of a growing number of young urban riders who use motorcycles for transportation to supplement public transportation and Uber. Thus, businesses have plenty of reasons to expect that 2018 could be a better — and perhaps banner — year for the powersports industry!
How to ready your business:
Plan ahead to take advantage of the down time.
Most areas of the country will have a few slow months in the winter, which can give dealerships an opportunity to step back and evaluate storefronts and revive the showroom with a fresh look for 2018. If businesses wait until January 2nd to start making plans for 2018, the opportunity may be lost before the area begins to thaw out. Contractors need to be lined up in advance, materials purchased, and decisions made to make the down time count.
Start with the basics.
The most obvious place to start the revival are the floors, walls, and ceilings - replace that threadbare carpet or apply a fresh coat of wax on those tile floors, and brush, roll or spray on a fresh coat of paint on the walls! Store employees can likely be utilized in this project, which will give staff consistent hours during down time and save money by forgoing the contractors. Investing in some slat wall to help merchandise more accessories would also be a great start. Check the lighting and replace those bulbs or ballasts – or add more fixtures to brighten things up. Freshen up or replace discolored ceiling tiles.
Mix it up.
Dealers probably already have good display fixtures that can be cleaned up and relocated to different areas of the store. Just moving and remerchandising what already exists can give a showroom a fresh new look when customers return with the warmer weather. Reconfigured displays and updated fixtures may prompt customers to spend more time browsing to see what is new instead of walking past the same old displays observed many times before. Examine sales for the current year and highlight the hottest categories and items on the displays.
Check around for new ideas.
If a major remodeling job is desired, check out the competition online, browse Google images and Pinterest for ideas, or invest in a design consultant for assistance. One idea that could really pay off is to plan a road trip to some of the Powersports Business Top 50 Dealers in your area to see what their customers see inside of the showroom – after all, these stores are the top dealers for a reason. Even a trip to a major retailer or local shopping center can be useful. Most chain stores hire consultants to help design the interior layout. After a few stops, several similarities in design/layout will be noticeable and these are the things that you should try and incorporate. Everything from flooring, paint, fixtures, and positioning are all done for a reason – to enhance the shopping experience and increase sales.
In closing, now is the time to do research and line up the labor and materials you will need to get a head start on 2018. Be ready to pull the trigger when the weather slows down business – and go have a better and banner 2018!
Scott Hochmuth is the owner of Real Performance Marketing, an Atlanta-based company representing ten different Powersports related product lines in the Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee areas. He comes face-to-face with over 200 dealers every 8 weeks. He has been in sales since 1982 and started in the powersports industry in 1989 as a sales representative for a helmet manufacturer.