How the Dealer Stole Christmas

Holiday marketing and merchandising strategies to lure customers away from the retail giants and into your dealership.

Are you maximizing your advertising efforts to bring in existing customers while attracting new customers? While you might not be advertising on a regular basis this holiday season, you know who is? Best Buy is advertising plasma screen TVs; Dick’s Sporting Goods is advertising hunting supplies; Lowe’s is advertising the latest in power tools; and Apple is touting its new iPhone 5.

What these retailers are doing is stealing your lunch and dinner. All of these retailers are selling products that we as consumers don’t really need! I don’t need a new plasma TV or a fishing rod any more than I need a motorcycle or a new jacket. As a retailer, you must create the need and turn it into an “I want” in the customer’s mind, just like the retail giants. You can compete with the big box stores by creating a dynamic promotional advertising and event calendar for the next two months.

To get a jump on the competition, you must first make a plan. There are several ways to get your message out that won’t break the bank as long as you do your homework and get everyone involved to buy into the plan. For example, are you using your co-op dollars to the fullest?

Store Review and Analysis

I’d like to ask you to take a hard look at your store. I want you to conduct a store review and analysis to see where your store stands in the eyes of your customers in terms of appearance, selection of products and depth of products. Have you ordered enough merchandise to meet customer’s expectations and demands for this holiday season? Is your store up to the customer’s standards for a clean, comfortable shopping environment both inside and out?

Plan a Holiday Calendar

Take a look at the next two months to create your holiday merchandising and sales calendar. Planning for the holidays will help prepare you and your staff to ensure the probability of a successful event. If at all possible, have something going on every week leading up to Christmas, with no fewer than two to three promotional events per month.

November To-Dos

Week 1: Set up your Christmas displays. Have a fall ATV/off-road merchandise and accessories sale.

Week 2: Have a salute to the troops Veteran’s Day Sale

Week 3: Have a customer appreciation two-day sale to get a jump on the “Black Friday” business. I had a client who held this event for three years in a row, and the sales were phenomenal.

Week 4: Plan for “Black Friday” to double your efforts for the month. If you only plan one sales event this year, this is it! You must compete with the big box and chain stores, or your customers will swipe their credit cards elsewhere! Black Friday is a great way to clear out your store of old, obsolescent or overstock merchandise. It’s also a great time to bring in manufacturer overstock merchandise at discounted pricing such as helmets, boots, bike covers and other stocking stuffer merchandise. The old adage in retail rings true during the holidays: “Stack ‘em high, watch them buy.”

December To-Dos

Week 1: Hold a Ladies Night. Bring in snacks and drinks and have an early Christmas party for the ladies. This important demographic represents 40 percent of new riders, and they make the final household decision on a whopping 70 percent of big-ticket bike, watercraft or ATV sales. Hold the event after closing and consider holding a fashion show to make a real splash. Don’t forget to have the ladies fill out wish list cards that you can keep on file. Showcase men’s and youth apparel as well as women’s gear to cash in on mom’s Christmas list. 

Week 2: Turn the tables and hold a Men’s Night event — now is when you’ll share those wish list cards with the husbands, so they’ll buy the gift their wife really wants this year!

Week 3:
Start your year-end clearance sale early to make sure you are out of 2011 merchandise so you can start fresh come  2012.

Week 4: Create an ad featuring gift items under $200, $100, $50 and $25 to capture those last-minute Christmas sales, especially on Christmas Eve.

Week 5: Continue your year-end clearance.

As you plan your Holiday calendar, keep in mind that there will be a need for adjustments and changes. Have weekly meetings with your staff to go over each week’s ad specials, even if it’s an unadvertised sale. Use a printed sales flyer as a bag stuffer for upcoming events and sales. Find the budget to run a one- or two-page ad in the Thanksgiving pre-Black Friday newspaper to get your store noticed. Offer free gift-wrapping and have coffee and doughnuts on the weekends for the early-bird shoppers. Place hand baskets throughout your store to increase impulse sales.

I hope this guide helps you as you plan your Holiday Calendar to have the best holiday selling season ever!

Jim Ramus is the president of Retail Design Associates. He conducts numerous store design and merchandising training programs and workshops for retail trade show organizations and associations throughout the United States. He has designed over 2,000 specialty retail stores throughout the United States. He Is the coauthor of Winning in Retailing, originally published in 1994 and Winning in Power Sports Retailing published in 2006. Contact Jim at [email protected].   


You May Also Like

Yamaha XTReme Terrain Challenge Conquers Loretta Lynn Ranch

The XTR Challenge put YXZ1000R and Wolverine SxS drivers and their co-pilots up against a demanding side-by-side course of natural and manmade obstacles.

The Yamaha XTReme Terrain Challenge presented by Yamalube took over Loretta Lynn Ranch this past weekend as Yamaha YXZ1000R and Wolverine SxS fans, family and friends converged for a weekend of outdoor adventures and festivities in celebration of Yamaha’s all-new off-roading event.

The XTR Challenge put YXZ1000R and Wolverine SxS drivers and their co-pilots up against a demanding side-by-side course of natural and manmade obstacles with many choosing to use Yamaha’s new Adventure Pro GPS navigation tool while navigating the rugged, technical trails. Participants and spectators enjoyed the action-packed adventure throughout the weekend with hosted food, family activities and a concert headlined by country music star, Josh Gracin.

Tucker Heads to the Beach for Roland Sands Moto Beach Classic

Roland Sands and his crew created the Moto Beach Classic with the idea to showcase the Southern California motorcycle, music and surf cultures.

Polaris and NFF to Restore Off-Road Trails in Minnesota and Florida

Through Polaris’ $108,000 donation, the NFF will improve motorized-recreation opportunities on two existing off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails in Minnesota and Florida.

Motorcycle Mechanics, Bike Fit, Industry Issues On Tap at Revved-Up Women Expo

These topics and more will be among 16 workshops offered at Revved-Up Women Texas Motorcycle Expo April 28-30, at Retama Park near San Antonio.

Harley-Davidson Appoints New Directors to Board

Harley-Davidson, Inc. has announced the appointment of Troy Alstead, most recently of Starbucks and Allan Golston of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Other Posts

Charles Attig Wins Beta Motorcycle in 2016 Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series

Charles Attig, of Newark, Del., is the winner of a Beta dual sport motorcycle, awarded to one participant in the 2016 Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series sweepstakes.

FIN Helps Sheriff’s Deputies Recover Polaris Turbo RZR

The Find It Now USA theft recovery team received notice of a stolen 2016 Polaris RZR Turbo EPS UTV. Utilizing the FIN GPS security device installed at vehicle purchase, a FIN theft recovery expert was able to relay maps and pertinent information to responding deputies.

KYMCO USA Signs ‘Official Vehicle’ Partnership Extension with American Flat Track

American Flat Track and KYMCO have announced a multi-year renewal of their existing partnership, naming KYMCO the Official Scooter, ATV and Side-by-Side of American Flat Track. KYMCO USA will provide American Flat Track’s safety and operations team with the company’s latest generation SxSs, including the KYMCO UXV 500i G with enclosed, fan-cooled 5kw generator, and the performance-oriented Super 8

Tradeshow Season Is Upon Us

2016 SEMA Show Preview [dropcap]C[/dropcap]an you believe it’s already October? The arrival of fall means many things, but for us here at MPN and Babcox Media, it means it’s tradeshow season. One of the big shows we attend is the SEMA Show out in Las Vegas, held this year from November 1 – 4 in