How to maximise your store’s potential

By Anne Brillet, director, Unearth Marketing

From Aladdin’s cave to a minimalist curated experience, great visual merchandising draws customers in and keeps them coming back for more. Here are our 10 top considerations to ensure your store is maximising its potential:

1. Who is your customer and what do they want?
Before thinking about what to do to remerchandise your store, ask yourself one simple question: what are your current and desired customer bases? Are you selling mostly MTB to riders who are passionate about all things suspension, are your customers all about the flat-bar family rides, or are you serving high-end road customers looking for the latest technology?

Depending on who you’re seeking to connect with, you will need to make some adjustments to ensure their needs and expectations are met. By creating a store layout and ambience that inspires your riders, you will become the destination of choice.

2. Less is more vs. more is more
There is no right or wrong answer with regards to the right quantity of stock on your shop floor but as a regular rule, the more expensive your products are, the more minimalist the shop floor should be. Some stores choose to have a lot of products on display and this is why their customers shop with them – they have a wide array of choices.

But for a more premium product and customer experience, a minimalist approach can be more suitable as it gives each product more room and puts an accent on how special each bike is. The ideal option is to have a stock room or even warehouse, where you can keep stock available, whilst keeping your shop clutter free, but we appreciate that this is not available to all retailers.

3. Create an experience
More and more regular high street retailers are focusing on making their store experiential. This is something that is particularly applicable to the cycling industry as the products we sell are intended to bring joy and fun to our customers. Music and footage is something that is an easy win and having the right tunes for your client base as well as relevant footage on your screens is key.

Adding memorabilia presented in the right way is also a good way to bring panache to your store. Having a wall with local route suggestions and group ride options can also bring the local community to life and help your customers get out there.

4. The rule of three
When merchandising your store or planning your ranges, always remember the rule of three. When your sales staff present your customers with products to meet their needs, having three options will ease the task ahead. Out of the three options there will always be one which is disliked, which leaves your team member to compare the two remaining products and avoid employing the hard sell. More options and the customer can become confused and wind up not buying anything at all!

5. Throw away old POS
Throughout our careers in the bike trade we have met countless store teams reluctant to throw away old pieces of POS. While we’d never encourage unnecessary waste, these old marketing materials are often detrimental to the store presentation and can even send mixed messages to customers. A Bianchi floor mat when you haven’t stocked them in ten years, a cardboard cutout of Contador riding Specialized, a random Gore counter signage? Throw it out! (Recycling of course)

6. Nothing belongs on the floor
We understand that sometimes storage space is tough but boxes on the floor do not give off the right impression. Helmets (particularly) and shoes in packaging do not belong on the floor where they are easily kicked around and become dog-eared. Keep stock stored neatly to ensure your customer knows that the store they’re visiting looks after its stock, and will look after them too.

7. Away with the women’s corners
Historically brands have pushed for women’s corners in stores. However, moving forward with time, they have been deemed unnecessary and can even be seen as patronising. With the major brands shying away from gendered products (rightly so in our book), women should be welcomed in the whole store and not just a token corner.

8. Do we even need tills?
Tills can quickly become a clutter-fest and more and more high street retailers are doing away with their till areas. At the very least, seats behind the desks should be removed to avoid loitering, along with cardboard, old POS, pointless stock, stickers, and hand-written signs… You know the ones!

9. Staff bikes and repair bikes
The shop floor is… a shop floor. No staff bikes or repair bikes should be on display if they are not available for purchase. This gives off the wrong message and can lead to disappointment if a customer’s dream steed isn’t for sale as it belongs to Steve in the workshop. It only takes one disappointment to irreparably damage a customer’s view of the shop, and they may not keep that opinion to themselves.

10. Would you shop here?
It’s very easy when you work somewhere to become oblivious to the look and feel of the store. So try and look at your shop floor with fresh eyes. To do so you can take a look at your competitors and visit other bike stores in the local area. A bit of competitor peeking is always a good way to get some new ideas as well as a dose of reality.

In other news...

From borrowers to buyers: How bike rentals open the door to new consumers

Consumers have more options than ever for borrowing and renting bikes –  Alex Ballinger explores the impact of bike sharing on the industry