Cycle clothing is clearly the category most bicycle retailers struggle with the most. But all the external, global industry issues aside, you can and should be successful and profitable with your clothing sales. Indeed, it should be your top dollar generator on the accessories side of your bike business. Here’s the first 5, of my 10 simple tips for cycle clothing success this season;
- Good, Better, Best – whilst not 100% applicable, 100% of the time, the old ‘good, better, best’ adage is a simple but practical way to address your brand/supplier choices as well as the selection of garments and price points in each category. This will help you maintain purchasing and presentation focus, keep the sales conversation uncomplicated, whilst also making sure you offer enough choice.
- Commit – nothing will kill your clothing sales faster than lack of commitment to the range, size spread, stock depth or colour choice. The temptation is to keep range width and stock depth lean. The resulting offering merely screams to the customer lack of confidence or sense of choice and lack of availability. Classic customer bounce back stuff folks.
- Remember, you are not the customer – If I chose a cycle clothing range based on my own personal preferences, I would rely on all my customers being built like me, with my skin tone, my tastes, my budget, my fabric and garment preferences etc. As a result, I’d get stuck with a lot of clothing only suiting stocky, pale, middle aged, 5”9 ex-trackies. Amazingly though, this is pretty much what too many bike shop owners do when ranging bike clothing; they range what they personally like or what they think their customer should be wearing and totally ignore what’s actually right for their broader customer base, local demographics, trends, brand stories and above all, their sales. Trust the brands and the suppliers you work with and allow them to lead the way on ranging.
- Remember, you are the customer – You are your supplier’s customer and indeed that of the brand(s) they represent; and hopefully a valued one. It’s in their collective best interests for you to be successful with their products. Hence they should be investing in your store, your staff and your customers. You should expect regular servicing, staff training, merchandising support, marketing coordination and a shared responsibility for any issues that arise along the way. Don’t forget, that just like your customers, you have choices. If you don’t get the supply, support or service worthy of your hard earned dollars; threaten to take your clothing spend elsewhere. Like, immediately.
- Accessorise Darlings! – It’s often noted that cyclists spend more time musing over which gloves or socks to buy, than they do on key garment purchases such as jerseys or bibshorts. Cyclists are finicky and very particular about their choice of accessories. So give them plenty of choice and colour (ideally as much as possible from your core brands). Accessories represent the highest volume, frequency and profitability in clothing sales, for less investment. So don’t be shy when ranging your accessories offerings.
Stay tuned for the second half of my 10 tips for cycle clothing success, where I focus on the all-important details that will make or break your clothing area.
In the meantime, be sure to share your own cycle clothing tips and experience.
And if you’d like some help or feedback with your clothing strategy or presentation, drop me a line.