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Upsell bikes with gear for added profit

October 3, 2011
Filed under Features

Sport and standard bike
buyers gravitate toward
riding apparel

By Liz Hochstedler
Associate Editor

Maybe it’s because they ride faster, or maybe they just want to look cool, or possibly, there’s another reason. But whatever the motive, sport and standard motorcycle riders tend to seek out riding gear more often when buying additional items during their new unit purchase.

Fifty-six percent of sport bike buyers who purchase additional merchandise at the time of the unit sale buy riding gear, and 65 percent of standard riders do the same, according to the annual J.D. Power Motorcycle Competitive Information Study. This is a jump from all model motorcycle buyers, who purchase gear only 38 percent of the time.

Experts in the apparel arena say sport and standard motorcycle riders purchase garments more frequently during their unit-buying stop because of the convenience and successful store merchandising.

“Regardless of if it’s a first bike or if it is replacing or adding an existing bike, the rider or customer is in the shop and in ‘buying mode.’ Plus, tying on the gear purchase to the bike financing is a serious consumer incentive,” said Steve Blakeney, marketing director for distributor Sullivans Inc.

Sport and standard bike riders are also drawn to less leather and traditionally less expensive merchandise.

“The influx of textile garments and generally more affordable gear allows more consumers to embrace riding apparel and understand the importance of wearing protective gear,” said Michael MacGregor, product manager at Scorpion Sports.
Helmets and apparel sell best to sport and standard riders for Scorpion. Sullivans has reported success in its Joe Rocket and Power Trip jackets, but gloves are consistently the top selling product category each year.

“The common trend is that sport bike riders will typically wear bolder looking gear defined by graphic and/or color application and/or branding, while touring riders lean toward conservative gear more driven by features, especially the features that make the item cover a wider riding climate range,” Blakeney explained. “But we have seen over the years that there is plenty of crossover as sport bike riders are also looking for three-season riding features like superior ventilation, waterproof and warmth liners, making a final purchasing decision based purely on cosmetic appeal less common.”

Both say dealers can take advantage of knowing that sport and standard riders buy more gear by better positioning their store to up-sell.

“Step No. 1, have inventory. You can’t make the sale if you don’t have the product,” Blakeney said. He added, “The economy continues to be rough on everyone, but you can’t sell it if you don’t have it. There are excellent programs out there, so take advantage and have inventory on hand because the consumer has far too many purchasing alternatives for a dealer to hope the consumer will choose to wait for a special order.”

Both he and MacGregor also recommend that dealers think carefully about where they’re placing the merchandise.
“It is important for the dealer to cross-merchandise with these sport and standard units,” MacGregor said. “For example, a mannequin on one of the sport or standard units with a Scorpion helmet, jacket, pants and gloves on would help drive unit buyers to the accessories department.”

Taking these simple steps should assure some extra profit for the PG&A department following a sport or standard bike sale — no matter the rider’s reason for purchasing.

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