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Jun. 14, 2010 – Succeeding with a smaller PG&A inventory

June 14, 2010
Filed under Features

BELLEVUE, WASH. — Eastside Motosports is not unlike other dealerships that have dealt with a significant downturn in retail sales by trimming their PG&A inventory.
The multi-brand dealership, located in a suburb of Seattle, has cut the amount of investment tied into its PG&A inventory by upwards of 30 percent.
As a result, the dealership has fewer accessory and garment options dedicated to certain consumer groups. However, it retains a significant PG&A inventory for its core consumer group, sport bike riders.
Jennifer Robison, a retail merchandise specialist for Tucker Rocky, discussed ways for the dealership to ensure it reached the different subsets of consumers in that varied sport bike segment as well as maintaining some presence for other key consumer groups as well.
Robison led the Eastside Motosports management team on a walk-around of the store as part of the Training Day Contest, a Powersports Business program sponsored by Tucker Rocky and V-SEPT that brings industry trainers to dealerships at no cost to the dealer.
Robison walked the floor of the dealership, which has two levels, including a top level that features a walkway that guides consumers in a circular fashion around a showroom area featuring three brands of primarily motorcycles and a smaller PG&A section in the back.
“There’s a lot of Ducati stuff in here,” Robison said of the store, which features a significant Ducati-only portion of its building that includes jackets and other apparel, “but if I’m a Suzuki buyer, my choice is only black (in a jacket). This may not be what I had in mind.”
Robison advised the dealership to keep in mind that even though its primarily business is sport bike riders that it should keep other area motorcyclists in mind — like the numerous commuter riders who frequently brave the region’s wet weather.
Besides the possibilities of broadening its consumer appeal, Robison also provided suggestions to the store’s management on a number of potential areas that could increase PG&A profitability. They included:

Improving a “dead zone”

A small wall that sits behind the primary showroom but in front of the main parts and accessory department represents an area the dealership could improve on, says Robison. The back of the wall currently is a hodgepodge of racing photos and toward the bottom, a variety of tools and other commonly used accessory items, like bike covers and tie-downs. Consumers, Robison notes, could easily come in and out of the store without ever coming near that wall, which isn’t located on the walking path from the front door to the parts counter. “So this becomes a dead zone,” she said. “So you have to do something that draws them (consumers) here.” Robison advised placing the tools, bike covers and tie-downs somewhere that will draw more impulse sales. “Have them convenient and up front, where you can pick it up between you and the cashier.” She also said the wall needed to have a high-profile new unit and accompanying parts and accessories stored there to draw consumer interest. Robison used Ducati’s new Multistrada as a possible focus unit for this area.

Group by consumer segment

Eastside features large and separate areas for its jackets and helmets. Robison advised the dealership to group by consumer segment rather than product segment, so having an area for the hard-core sport bike rider who prefers bold graphics and colors on their helmets and then accompanying it with pants and jackets for that rider group. This move could liven up the store’s PG&A department, which has a lot of black garments that “don’t pop” or easily draw consumer interest.

Integration

Robison said the dealership could draw more interest to its dirt bike PG&A section by placing a new motorcycle there. To provide room for the new unit, she advised the parts staff combine products, such as jerseys and protection equipment, and then cut back on the number of wracks in that area. The combining of product could produce questions from consumers, like “Is the protection equipment part of the price of the jersey?” Robison noted the possibility of such questions shouldn’t deter the store from making such moves. “Anytime somebody gives you an objection,” she said, noting the possible reaction of consumers who discover the protection equipment isn’t included in the price of the jersey, “you have an opportunity to sell them. The more I talk, the more I have a chance to sell them.”

In-house marketing

Eastside’s service department is located on its lower level, which is evident outside of the building with signs but not as easily noticeable from inside the building, in the showroom area. Robison suggested the dealership create a service department marketing sign that could be placed near the stairs that lead to the service area. The sign could advertise different potential service installations, like special exhaust packages or tire specials.

Improve clearance area

The Eastside clearance section was on a back wall, but Robison noted it wasn’t clearly marked as a “clearance” area. She also suggested that much of the clearance product was so outdated that the dealership should consider giving it away to area riding clubs or to the Goodwill. She also believed the wall was too valuable a spot to place clearance items. She advised the staff to have one clearance rack and then dedicate the wall space to a specific focus, like saddlebags or something of high interest to its consumers. PSB

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