If you're looking to ride the momentum of the Olympics to increased sales then Mercedes Ross may be able to help...

iceBike* seminar preview: Looking to increase your sales?

Here’s a taste of what Ross will be covering in the General Merchandising Seminar at iceBike*…

Did you know that your customer is changing? Well they are and you better be ready. You have a unique opportunity this year to cash in on the success of the Olympics.

Why? An entire population of new customers just became interested in cycling because of events like last year’s Tour de France and the Olympics. Why is this important? Those customers are not enthusiasts, they are new to the sport. You as a retailer need to take this into account.

So how do you convert the momentum of the Olympics into sales? You pay attention to the ten best practices of merchandising. These apply to your store in any circumstance and I will be covering these in detail in my seminar…so you had better show up.

You have some homework to do before the show: pay attention to these ten things before you come. Take pictures of your store…those are your before pictures. And then be prepared to change it all when you get back home.

1) Marketing: Marketing to your consumer has taken a turn into the unknown. In general you must be paying attention to your direct marketing, social media, website, and in-store follow through. The message must be cohesive and consistent. The new customer is different to your regular consumers – part of your marketing should include an education piece, informing the consumer not only what you have, but that you have the knowledge and staff to help them enjoy it. You should also look at new places to market to that consumer.

2) Know your Customer: Really it is a matter of being in touch with who your existing consumer is. The product offerings and bike types you carry should speak to your customers. Now consider what that new consumer might be interested in and how that will affect your buy.

3) Buy for your customer: Once you’ve established who that customer is all your products should echo that price range to create add-on sales. That new consumer may be a completely different pocket book, again something you need to consider in your buy.

4) Atmosphere: Bring the outside in, and don’t “over or under merchandise” your consumers comfort zone. Cycling can be a fun sport, or a mode of transportation; the feeling one gets in your store can either promote or deter sales in any one category. Something to watch over as you entertain a new client base.

5) Traffic Flow: The Cash Wrap and Service placement create the initial traffic flow in your store; what you do with the rest, well…herein lies both the problem and the solution to many sales, or lack thereof. As new consumers emerge, the comfort with which they navigate your store will forecast their return; remember, this is all new and overwhelming to them.

6) Product placement: Where you put things always matters. Everything has its proper place in a well merchandised store; no matter how big or small, it must have purpose – and that purpose is “to sell them something they hadn’t intended to buy!” Especially with that new consumer who thinks bike shops are confusing…lets un-confuse them!

7) Bike Merchandising: What types of bikes you carry may shift. Most importantly it must be visually clear to consumers what types those are. Be it road, commuter, MTB, or beach cruiser…it must make a visual statement as such. As you consider this new consumer your buying also needs to make a shift…keep the display space in mind.

8) Gear Merchandising: Profit…can you say profit? Placing the gear in such a way that the consumer has no choice but to be exposed to all your gear is critical. It is largely a spontaneous buy. If they don’t see it, they don’t buy it. And that new consumer…well they don’t even know they need it! Again education in signage and creating add-on sales with merchandising is going to be critical.

9) Apparel Displays: Apparel does best if it is displayed, placed on mannequins, and merchandised with purpose. It is vital you buy the correct product for the consumers walking in your door and then merchandise it to the hilt so they can’t help but want it. That new consumer needs help so plan to place a human in the section. A profound concept, but worth it.

10) Placing product on sale: Not every decision you make is perfect. I know…I thought you were perfect too. Nonetheless things have to be put on sale to make room for next year’s stuff. How you do that determines its effectiveness and minimises your losses.

So that’s it in a nut shell. Details will be given at the seminar and I will also be able to address your specific issues before and after the seminars; find me upstairs in the big tent, so bring your pictures and notes. I can’t wait to see you. www.icebike.co.uk

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