January '21

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74 • RV PRO • January 2021 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T Fill 'er Up Some simple merchandising strategies can make your parts department appear more full, even if you are low on certain parts and accessories. We are living in crazy times. As RV retailers, you got lucky – this pan- demic is amazingly good for business. Many of you are extra busy thanks to people being stuck at home and wanting a safe way to get the heck out of town! On the downside, it's very possible you're running low on parts and accessories. Your shelves and floorspace may look empty in places and your showroom can feel picked over. If you don't have exactly what your customers came in to buy, entice them to buy something else. Walk into your store from the front door and give yourself 30 seconds to scan the store from left to right. Write down the first five things you see. Any longer time and you'll be over-thinking it. Your first impressions are the real deal and what your customers see first. Seasonal merchandise belongs in the focal areas within sight of the front door. You need to sell it while it's useful. For example, bags of rock salt, ice melt and kitty litter (really) can be stacked up as attractively as possible with some folding shovels and price signs. An area signed "Winter Road Kit" could include any of the following cold-weather necessities: tire chains, weather-band radios, gasoline-powered generators, propane tanks, blow-dryers (defrosting pipes and tanks), emer- gency GPS system(s), solar charging panels for re-charging batteries plus some soft-goods such as: fleece blankets or (more expensive) wool blankets, warm hats and gloves that are flexible enough for someone to do necessary work on the RV while outside in freezing weather. Some packaged emergency food may also go into this area along with small, portable water filters. In the same area, but on separate fix- tures, you can feature windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze, engine block heaters and extra-long extension cords – and anything else I've missed. Creating RV Product 'Pods' If you have empty areas in your showroom due to low stock of RVs, consider creating vignettes, or "pods" of products, which inspire people to think of being on the road and out in nature. While not designed for winter RVing in the north, grills are perfect for all the snowbirds heading south. Grilling under the open sky can be delicious and a pure joy. Remind your customers of that These "before" and "after" shots at left of a display area were taken at a hot tub/swim store in early March 2020, but relate well to any shelving of merchandise on a gondola to make the merchandising appear more full. (The "before" shot is in on the left; the "after" shot is on the right.) The products are pulled forward on the shelves so they can be seen more easily. By Linda Cahan Linda Cahan is the president of Portland, Ore.-based Cahan & Co., a consulting firm that works with retailers of all sizes and categories to improve their bottom line through creative, affordable, and appropriate visual merchandising, store design and renovations. For more information, visit www.lindacahan.com PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINDA CAHAN

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