Let’s face it, while a lot of motorcycle shops used to be mom and pop type places, it’s just not the case any more. Also, as dealerships grow and draw in more brands (both for bikes and accessories), they’re being run more professionally, both in management style and in the way brands are being represented and products displayed.
Fox Racing’s Warren Johnson gave us a call last week, eager to show off their new newest creation, a Fox Concept Shop that they recently added inside Mission Motorsports in Irvine, CA. Mission is a huge multi-line facility with Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Suzuki will be added in the coming months. Mission had also just completed construction of their current location, which features an impressive modern design and over 40,000 square feet of retail and service space.
Warren explained a bit behind the Concept Shop, “This is the first Fox Concept Shop in the United States. It’s custom-configured for this dealership, and everything was measured and built specifically for the space that they provided to us. Michael Hurst, our Visual Merchandising Director; and Julie Salcedo, our Visual Merchandising Administrator, painstakingly come up with some merchandising and retail store fixtures that will position Fox as a premium brand that it already is in motocross gear, but also effectively gives us a foothold in all the merchandising and P.O.P. aspects within a retail operation.”
“Within the Fox Concept Shops you’ve got designated areas: kid’s products, women’s gear, and within the men’s, we even segregate it down to race gear, as well as the over-the-boot Ride gear. A consumer who has specific needs can go right to that section within the Concept Shop and find his ideal products. At the same time, he might come into the store thinking of wanting one thing, but because of the display, be drawn to something else that he didn’t know existed. A lot of sales opportunities are created with effective merchandising.”
“Then we take that one step further. We use technically driven display cards, which give you technical information on particular products. For example, a 360 pant will highlight four technical aspects of the pant, which are really easy for the consumer to understand. But when he’s standing there by himself looking at a pant trying to ascertain why he wants this pant versus maybe a 180 pant, it’ll illustrate to him the leather knees, the articulated leg shape, the flexible rear yoke panel, and the natural cuff design. All those elements which go into the Fox 360 pant.”
“This has really come to fruition because of a change in business dynamics within motorcycle dealerships. The larger dealerships cater to a broader variety of consumers, and the customers become more acclimated to one-stop shopping. Everywhere you see, you can go into a Nordstroms and buy everything you want. Wal-Marts and Costcos cater head-to-toe. So it’s about time that that mentality and methodology transitions itself into the motorcycle industry.”
“We’re lucky and very fortunate to get front and center visibility, and Fox has been one of the leading brands, if not the leading brand, for this dealership. The owner, Robin Matherson, just welcomed us with open arms. She really felt that this was part of the whole presence that her store needed.”
Don’t expect to find Concept Shops like this in just any Fox dealer that you walk into. Explaining the selection process, Warren said, “Not every store will get one, since it does require a significant dedicated area. The goal is to have Concept Shops in selected dealership by Christmas time. The five regional sales managers work with the local reps, and through a discussion of need and opportunity, develop a target list. From that target list the regional management will pick those dealerships that best fit the needs of the Concept Shop, and can provide us with that space.”;
After pointing out that the Fox Concept Shop consumed as much floor space as some of the motorcycle brands within the dealership and teasingly asking Warren if this was a real estate grab, he replied, “You know, when you first look at something like this, it’d be easy to make that assumption. But that’s not our intent. Our intent is to provide the dealer with the resources to more effectively sell their Fox products. The moment you walk into the store, you’re just captivated by the look and feel, and the visual presence that the Concept Shop has. You create the environment for the consumer to really want to wander and be delighted with what they see and overwhelmed in a positive sense with effective merchandising that it makes them want to stay and shop and makes that whole shopping experience more enjoyable.”
What kind of sales expectations would a dealer hope for by devoting space to a Concept Shop? Warren I think a dealer would actually experience and be thrilled to enjoy is anywhere from 25 to 30 percent growth because of the presence of the Concept Shop.”
The Big View
Mission Motorsports also takes advantage of some king-sized displays that help boost brand visibility on the store’s exterior¿though that didn’t come without some challenges. Warren explained, “Due to local restrictions, they’d have to include all the brands in the store name. That wouldn’t have been very practical, so they were able to get around it by doing it using the window displays.
“When the store was in its conceptual stage, and Robin had shown me illustration of the large windows, we talked about what an awesome branding opportunity it was for whichever manufacturers or brands were going to be involved. You’ve got a captive audience as they’re driving by the dealership. I immediately put my hand up and said, ‘Count me in.’ They later decided to put the motorcycle manufacturers in there. The dealership was also working on getting a Suzuki franchise at the time, so the timing was perfect. I talked with Cole Gress from Suzuki, and before they even had the franchise, we’d already worked out to where we’d be able to use a large image of Ricky Carmichael and submit for the co-op reimbursement.”
Heading For The Exits
There’s no doubt about the visual impact that the Fox Concept Shop makes on the inside of the Mission Motorsports facility, anchoring the parts and accessories department. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more manufacturers working on enhanced P.O.P. and working to create dedicated zones of their own inside dealerships. The floor space (and brand image) race is on, and bigger than ever.
Irvine, CA 92618