One of the most fun and creative aspects of running a retail store is managing the visual merchandising elements within the space. This includes everything from the window display a prospective customer first sees that draws them to your store, to the signage that directs them around, and the merchandising displays that catch their eye and ultimately influence them to make a purchase.
Obviously, power equipment dealer’s things are not as pretty for us as they might be for say a Kmart or Kathmandu, but do not let this be an excuse. If you have clear business goals, a great location and an understanding of how your brand can be brought to life in the physical environment, you are ready to start tackling the tough part of bringing your merchandise in and making it come to life before you.
Street presence is a term you would typically hear real estate agents using when trying to sell or lease you a premises. They use it to describe how wide the street frontage is, how visible the shopfront is from the street, signage opportunities, passing traffic and other virtuous attributes along these lines.
As much as this is a selling tool for real estate agents, each of these factors play a huge part in how a customer perceives your business. As a power equipment dealer, it is not as simple as setting up a window; mannequins cannott tell shoppers how easy a mower is to start or how light a trimmer is, so for us, we use signage. Your store name/logo needs to be the focal point, and should be placed where you want your prospective customers to look and ensure it is the right size so that you still have a fighting chance to catch the attention of those customers on the other side of the street – or even at the next mower shop!
From here you can start playing with what is next in your hierarchy and the message you want to give. This may be what brands you stock, what services you offer, or even trading hours.
Be bold in every way.
Our attention span is shrinking to about less than a millisecond with all the multi-tasking we do these days. More and more we see people who are only paying attention to their phone.
In fact, think about it, how many people walk into your store either talking on the phone or texting? That means that you have got to pull all the stops to make sure that every customer stops and notices what you are selling.
So, how can you be bold enough to claim their attention, especially when you sell power equipment? Be bold with colours, shapes and props. When promoting products, you need to think outside the square and don’t just stick to using colours such as red. Try using more colours like pink – pink in a mower shop? Yes, because it is not expected and will catch your customers eye.
In saying that, always keep it simple. One of the biggest problems that can occur is that it is easy to get carried away and try to stuff every product or idea you have into one display.
This will only come across as a busy and unfocused display. Always keep in mind the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) and the idea that you ultimately want draw attention to your products and help the customer quickly recognise the logic in your product arrangement and why certain products are grouped with others. That also means keeping your display clutter-free and being able to justify why each component is there.
Show, don’t tell.
As a retailer and customer (we all shop!), we all know that before someone purchases something they typically want an idea of how it works and/or what it feels like. Now, there are plenty of ways to accommodate this need, and a lot of them revolve around how you set up your store displays. Creating a display that allows customers to touch and visualise the product the way they intend to use it, allows you to get one step closer to closing the sale.
For example, if you sell chainsaws, why not have one on display with accessories? Sit a chainsaw in a case or chainsaw tray; even pop on a sample loop of chain. This allows the customer to be tactile with these items and see their practicality.
Also, try to encourage people to give things a go, ask them to pick up the brush cutter to see how it feels or even reload a head so they know what they are doing once at home.
Another great way to create sales is to group like products with like products. This gives the customers additional reasons to buy more items from you, but also has a more utilitarian reasoning behind it, namely that it saves them time from looking around and trying to mix and match. A good example of this is grinding wheels with grinders or brush cutter heads with nylon line, even a mixing bottle with a bar and chain combo – any products that would be suitable to the end product.
A good sign can be your best salesman if written and presented correctly.
Ensure that your sign’s message is clear. To do this, use the five-second rule which states that if you can convey the main points in less than five seconds, you pass. Try using a headline to make your sign concise and simple all at once. Effective signs use a message hierarchy; headline, key points and a call to action. At the end of the day, these signs are advertising, and as any good advertiser will tell you, you need to get the customer to do something; that’s the call to action. A successful sign needs to have a simple goal.
Hopefully this article has helped you realise that visual merchandising can be easy and you will have the confidence to start applying what you have learnt in your own store. These tips may have also acted as a timely reminder that a simple freshen up this New Year can increase your customers’ interest and potentially generate more sales.
Do not be afraid to experiment and back yourself with some of your creative decision-making and if you are unsure then remember that the team at JAK Max are here to help whenever you need, with a range of display products available to help increase your sales and engage your customers when in store.