At our recent tradeshow there were several seminars. One from Vicki at Rollerbones got our attention. She talked about effective merchandising of the products in your skate shop. There was tons of great info. If you were there, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to review them. If you couldn’t make it, she graciously provided her notes for us to share to the whole wide world. While her focus was clearly on skate sales, some of these ideas could probably apply to other areas of your business as well. . .
MERCHANDISING YOUR PRO SHOP
TO INCREASE SALES
Definition of Merchandising: It is the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets.
Were you aware that shoppers make up to 80% of their purchase decisions right in your skate store? Some of your customers may have an idea of what they want to buy before coming in while others may desire a particular product (i.e. wheels, bearings, new boots, or a complete skate package) but are not sure of the brand or style, meanwhile the impulse buyers decide right then and there on a specific product. No matter what the motive is for buying a product, the fact that most purchase decisions are made in your shop leads us to consider why shop design and visual merchandising are so important.
Your skate shop design can lead customers through the store, provide them with information, entertain them and even sell product. This is great since not everyone can afford a full-time sales person to work his or her skate shop.
Now let’s examine how it’s possible to make customers “happy” because “happy” customers will buy more.
We’re going to imagine that we have a blank slat wall and empty display cases, or a room you’re ready to turn into your skate shop.
Your first decision should be what colors you will choose for your backdrop, i.e. what colors will make your customers feel the most comfortable and put them in the mood to buy?
Colors play an important role in retail branding. A person’s emotions are tied to specific colors. In general warm colors produce excitement, whereas cool colors cause peacefulness and relaxation. And bright colors are perceived as attractive while dull colors are perceived as uncomfortable. Blue colors are considered cool colors while reds are warm colors. It is known that shoppers evaluate stores painted in blues more positively than red-colored stores. To be fair, however, red also has positive effects, it enhances impulse buying. On the other hand green should be avoided if you’re looking for impulse purchases. Finally the shopper’s association with white is one of purity, cleanliness, and mainly positivity.
If you have a themed skating center, you will want to use some of the same color choices to carry out your theme; but again, keep in mind some of the points regarding the shopper’s association to color in this area of your facility.
The walls are a great place to display your larger items that don’t need to be locked in a display case. Regardless of which type of wall system you choose slat wall, wire grid wall, or shelves the following tips will apply.
Put your more profitable and/or popular skate packages at eye level and within reach of your customers. They want to touch, feel, and be able to look them over.
Then continue building around these items with skates, boots, or items that may fit into baskets.
Be sure to not put product too high up on the wall because if they’re not within easy view for your shopper, he or she will not spend much time looking at them. Step back away from your display to check yourself as you’re stocking the wall or shelves; if you feel a strain while looking at your display, then you need to lower the product. Be mindful of shorter patrons (such as kids) if you are a taller person yourself. You want everyone that comes into your shop to feel like you considered each of them in your design.
Be sure not to overload your displays, as a cluttered wall will make customers feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable shoppers won’t stay in your store for very long, and the longer they stay the more prone they are to buy.
There are mixed feelings on whether you should post prices or no. I lean in favor of posting prices, as it helps to answer questions when there isn’t someone around to do so. Another suggestion would be to not only post the prices; but also to make a laminated card listing the price, and general information about the product on the front and the back to give more detailed information. As an example, if it’s a skate package you can give more specific information regarding the boots, plates, wheels and bearings, and even give possibilities for upgrading their skate package. These laminated cards can be attached to wire grid or to the skate holder by zip ties.
Here you may group the product you’re displaying either by brand or type of equipment (such as wheels or bearings). When you choose to group by brands it allows you to bundle items that go together. An example would be to bundle a bearing tool, oil, bearing cleaning unit, and a set of bearings together and offer a “Special” price for the group. This is also a great opportunity to up-sell your customer.
Grouping by equipment would be to put the various brands of each type together (i.e. bearings, tools, wheels, speed creams, and oils together).
Again, don’t overcrowd your cases, as you want each product to be easily seen. Also, when you price smaller items be sure not to cover up vital information on the product packaging.
At this time step back once again to make sure there is enough lighting so all the products on the wall and in the case are properly lighted. If not you may need to add some track lighting or some extra lighting in your display cases.
Props are used to draw you in to take a closer look at the product you are selling. Props can be anything from plastic display stands, pieces of fabric, mannequins, posters, or even novelty items. Adding props is my favorite part of designing a skate shop.
The use of plastic display stands, covering boxes with wrapping paper, or just draping them with shiny fabric, fabric depicting the upcoming holiday or your skating center’s theme can add dimension to your shelves. This changes up the look of your shelves so they don’t look mundane.
Posters cannot only be informative but also can make you feel good. Seeing a poster of smiling children on skates creates an emotion of happiness, which in turn makes one feel good. Posters are a great way to add some color and excitement to an otherwise dull wall. Try framing your posters or border them like they do in classrooms, as this will make the poster stand out.
Novelty items can be beads, framed pictures, and holiday-themed trinkets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me if they could take a picture of my blinged-out skeleton head, or tell me they came over to my table because something shiny caught their eye.
Using props are a fun way to add personality and character to your skate shop just don’t go overboard because otherwise it may become distracting. You want your shoppers to enjoy your props, not be overwhelmed by them.
Now it’s time to give your shop the once-over to see how your customers are going to visually perceive it when they step up to the counter or walk in.
Make sure that your shop’s walkways are clear, that you have a place for skaters to sit for a fitting, and that your check out station is in an area that’s comfortable for your customers.
And here’s a real BIGGIE: make sure you have cleaned up after yourself and that everything looks spotless. Sweep or vacuum the floors, dust the skate racks, and be sure the glass on the cases are sparkling. Your stock room is another important area to be organized and cleaned. If the door is opened and your customers catch a glimpse of a messy storeroom, they may just literally run out of your shop.
Please clean your shop weekly. I don’t know of anyone who wants to touch skates or wheels that have an inch of dust on it. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than getting dirty while shopping and this definitely won’t make your shopper “happy.”
Finally, rotate your products on your walls and in your display cases from time to time. You will be amazed at how doing this simple act will increase interest in your shop. Your customers will think you’ve brought in new product when all you’ve done is move them around.
Up-Selling and Bundling:
“Up-selling” the customer is a way to increase sales and your bottom line. You do this throughout your facility; at your snack bar a customer is asked “would you like a drink with that?” and while booking a birthday party you ask “would you like pizza served.” So why not implement up-selling in your skate shop?
There are many ways to up-sell in your skate shop. One example is to ask if the customer would like a pair of specialty laces for their new skates; another might be to ask if they would like to customize their new boots.
How about if for every set of Reds bearings you were to sell a Rollerbones bearing tool, speed cream, and a cleaning unit? All of these are necessary items for making their bearings last longer, which, saves them money in the long run. Just by selling these three items together with a set of Reds bearings 5 times a month will give you an additional $975 in profits per year. And this does not include the profit from the bearings.
You can also bundle the same items together and offer a little break in price for purchasing them all together.
How about even offering an item from your snack bar with every purchase of a set of wheels for a month? In this case you’re not giving away as much profit margin as you would by discounting your skate equipment. Everyone always likes to get something for free and why not give away a slice of pizza and a soft drink just for purchasing a set of wheels or a pair of skates? You could also give “X” amount of redemption tickets with a purchase from your skate shop. These are just a few ways of giving something away without subtracting from your profit margin on your equipment sales.
There are so many ideas to try to entice sales in your skate shop. Try a few out and let me know how they go!
One very important fact when setting up your skate shop is that “you can’t sell what you don’t have”. Make sure what style skates you bring in, you keep a size run of them in stock. When it comes to wheels and bearings make sure you have several of each of the most popular styles.
No matter which type of skate shop you have big or small make a commitment to give it the attention your customers deserve. Perhaps most importantly be patient and give your shop time to produce sales for you don’t pull the plug too soon. It may take a few months before you see a profit, but in time it will add to your overall sales numbers.