By: Ali Levy
July 21, 2014
Tips from merchandising guru, Ali Levy, email@example.com
Purchasing a new board or pair of skis or boots is not something that many snow sports enthusiasts take lightly. What customers use to get up and/or down the mountain can make them say, “I ski like a rock star on these!!” or “What a waste of money –I’m never doing this again!” Hardgoods define the consumer’s experience.
SIA’s latest Merchandising Guide: Hardgoods Addendum about hardgoods will help you help your customers make the right ski, snowboard, boot and binding purchases for their needs. That way they’ll keep coming back to the snow and your shop.
Weight, width and graphics are constantly evolving to bring consumers the best performance on the market, yet hardgoods tend to take a back seat to softgoods when it comes to merchandising. The Hardgoods Addendum offers new ways to showcase your lineup.
One example is, The Alpine Shop in South Burlington, VT, where the vibe is to feel like many small boutiques under one roof. He and his staff take the time to create “pods” of skis on the sales floor – each one specific to a ski/snowboard discipline. Not only does this technique direct the shopper towards the correct product, but also it helps tell a very clear product story.
Alpine Shop also doesn’t price skis, boards or boots since Fischer van Gulden, Alpine Shop’s Hardgoods Buyer, has noticed that big price tags cause such sticker shock that the customer is likely to pass on a ski simply because of the price.
Van Gulden said, “This way we are able to start a conversation with the customer that is based on need, not price. It’s all about making sure you are properly fitting that customer with the equipment that is a perfect fit for them and their ski/snowboard style.”
(Full disclosure: skis do have a small price tag on the base on the ski)
This also makes the look of the ski and boot wall clean and bright and, highlighting graphics and color without the distraction of price tags.
Van Gulden says experiment with hardgoods displays and “use your sales floor as a showroom for selling premium product. Don’t be afraid to show less in order to keep it looking clean.”
An additional perk of this lean display approach is that it keeps staff in tune with product and on-hand inventory. “By regularly restocking employees have a handle on what back stock looks like,” said van Gulden.
Use the SIA Merchandising Guide: Hardgoods Addendum to have more fun with your hardgoods and cross-merchandise whenever possible to get skis out of factory wrap and display them side-by-side. Think about what your hardgoods have to say about your geographic environment and where your customers are likely to ski. Most of all, remember hardgoods purchases are big investments for most customers. Use the Hardgoods Addendum to inspire yourself and your employees to help your customers have fun thinking about all the possibilities of their purchases.