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Bike Store

Richardson Bike Mart Project Spotlight

Richardson Bike Mart Project Spotlight

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Richardson Bike Mart Project Spotlight
 

I’m good at running my shop, but I know my limits. When I decided to open our 4th store I knew I had a great location but I wanted this one to be an improved version of what the other 3 locations look like. The team at 3 Dots Design was great to work with. They are the pros in design and laying out the store and they allowed us to continue to focus on being the local pros at serving our customers a great experience once they’re in store. Our store looks fresh and new compared to other new retail experiences we see. Thank you to 3 Dots Design for doing such a great job in making our store more successful than we forecast.
 
Ken “Woody” Smith
~Owner

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The cash wrap in Woody's other locations is the heart of each store. It was important to him to carry of that same concept in this location but with an updated, more modern approach. The cash wrap centers around a logo sign that can be easily seen when customer enter the front door. 

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3 Dots Design Company Profile

3 Dots Design Company Profile

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Boulder Digital Arts featured 3 Dots Design in their newsletter this week. Check it out!

3 Dots Design is a strategic retail design and visual merchandising company that aligns brands with consumer needs to create exciting and enticing retail environments.

With over 50 years combined experience in the specialty run, cycling, outdoor and active apparel industries, the 3 Dots Design team consults on strategic retail design and merchandising with retailers and manufacturers in those arenas. They have also worked with clients in the yoga, coffee, college bookstores, cannabis, womens fashion channels among others.

Before starting 3 Dots Design, Holly Wiese had been well acquainted with run specialty retail by working at the iconic Playmakers running store in Michigan, her native state. After starting 3 Dots Design in 2009, she consulted in the bicycle industry where she oversaw all aspects of retail design and visual merchandising for Giant Bicycle, the world’s largest bike manufacturer.

In 2005, Holly met Andy Davis while working with Giant Bicycle and he has been the lead designer for the company since its inception. With 2 other full time employees; Ryan Wiese and Adam Batliner, and many contractors “on call” around the country, the 3 Dots Design team can easily expand or contract its workforce as needed for various projects and retail rollouts.

They find most of their projects to be located out of state, throughout the country however, they always love working local when they can. A few of their local store design projects include the iconic Neptune Mountaineering remodel, Boulder Cyclesport South, Smartwool Cherry Creek and Ramble on the West end of Pearl Street in downtown Boulder. They’ve also designed 2 of the Denver area Runners Roost stores and worked on the Go Far Smartwool partnership store on East Pearl, also in Boulder.

In addition to designing retail environments and product fixtures, they also spend a good amount of time travelling the country speaking at stores and trade show events. They recently returned from training retailers on how to improve their visual merchandising and how to sell more apparel at a bicycle retailer event in Minneapolis called Frostbike.

3 Dots Design also hosts an annual or semi-annual training workshop for all retailers called Rocky Mountain Retail Camp (www.rockymountainretailcamp.com). This event always proves to be very exciting for visiting retailers and it’s loaded with lots of training sessions and hands on merchandising practice at local stores.

If you have a moment to swing by Neptune Mountaineering, be sure to grab a coffee in their new café and take in their new digs. 3 Dots Design was proud to work with the new shop owners to bring their vision to life as well as to design their new logo, graphics, signage, fixtures and store layout.

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Here’s Why You Need To Get Serious About Your Own Retail Customer Service And Engagement

Here’s Why You Need To Get Serious About Your Own Retail Customer Service And Engagement

Article by Bob Phibbs

Brick and mortar stores have the ability to surprise and delight. So does a downtown shopping area.

The sheer serendipity of walking into a store can present you with random points of view. Couple that with a retail crew trained in the soft skills of how to engage a stranger and you’ve created an engaging shopping experience.

Jeff Bezos said it best: "We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions."

And that’s true for both online and brick and mortar retailers, right? So what’s online’s Achilles heel?

People only buy what they came to the site to buy, and if you’re an apparel retailer, half of them will be returned.

Maybe that’s because Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only going to show them a slew of things they are expecting to see. There’s no serendipity...

And serendipity leads to higher sales.

The question is, when does this become the tipping point where shoppers return to physical stores?

Humans love the random discovery of something new or unexpected. No algorithm can predict what that item will be or when you personally will be ready for it.

But that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Customer engagement is all the rage in marketing circles.

Customer engagement is a connection between a retail sales associate as a representative of the brand and a potential customer.

How you manage that retail customer service interaction makes all the difference.

Many pundits are touting how to really engage a shopper; we are to bring all of the resources of Big Data to brick and mortar retailers.

But does that mean for example that a salesperson is supposed to grab a shopper in the underwear aisle and haul them to the cookware display because Big Data shows they bought a frying pan at the same time they purchased a pair of underwear? Does the kitchenware associate grab a frying pan and run to the customer in the underwear aisle?

Further, will the salesperson who knows your browsing history charge you more like online retailers?

An article entitled, How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All states, “The price of the headphones Google recommends may depend on how budget-conscious your web history shows you to be, one study found. For shoppers, that means price—not the one offered to you right now, but the one offered to you 20 minutes from now, or the one offered to me, or to your neighbor—may become an increasingly unknowable thing.”

Right now the online shopper has the blind belief online retailers are on their side and brick and mortar aren’t to be trusted for low prices. In fact, 71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online than in stores.

But that simply isn’t so...

Checkout my recent price check of a vacuum cleaner on Amazon and the price fluctuations that one product has had over the past 30 days.

How do you compete with that?

Well first off-whenever someone states the online price is always lower - challenge them.

That said, you can’t feasibly change all your prices by week, or month, or hour nor can you charge more for the woman who drove a new BMW to your store versus the guy who rode a bike, but conceivably you could online.

Who has the time or the budget?

Oh right, online retailers have the technology that can do that in nanoseconds.  

Your poor website hasn’t got a chance if you think you can compete on price.

And in-store, the less you train your crew, the more price-driven you will become. But because you aren’t adjusting prices in nanoseconds, you’ll probably be charging less than you should.

The less profits you make, the less you can reinvest in inventory, merchandising, training and even yes, Big Data.

Retail is not dead, but brands are dying.

Scott Galloway from NYU Stern School of Business says, “Amazon has declared war — with the backing of 500 million consumers and a lot of cheap capital — on brands. And we will, using our algorithm, find you as good a product for a lesser price. Amazon will figure out in a nanosecond the best deal and most likely trade you into the highest-margin product for them which will be Amazon toothpaste." 

But customers still want and need engagement

You’d think customer engagement would be a priority in brick and mortar stores right now, right?

I was strolling Michigan Avenue in Chicago last month. While most store employees couldn’t say a word to shoppers, there were a few who tried.

At Saks, I was greeted in the men’s designer department, “How may I be of service to you?”

I thought, Get away from me, it’s not the 1800s. Customer engagement is finding a new way to get strangers to talk to me.

At Under Armour I was asked just after I walked through their door, “So, what brought you in today?”

I thought, My feet.

Yes, they were trying. I mean, at least they were using their voices.

When I went into Macy’s, I saw they were trying at customer engagement too.

They had a DJ in the men’s shirt display unit – with no one around. 

Meanwhile, I walked through all of their men’s departments and passed their leftover sale clothes, and no one approached me.

No one.

As an aside, one of my Facebook fans, Shawn Fitzpatrick, reported an experiment regarding in-store music.  Their retail bicycle store stopped playing the music staff liked to listen to and swapped it for "feel good" music like Brown Eyed Girl, Sweet Caroline, and Friends in Low Places using an online music service.  They reported a 40% increase in sales over previous week. Seems there might be something to it.

Again, it’s all about the customer experience, not what staff wants. Now back to my experience in Chicago...

While I was on the second floor of the Under Armour shop, a guy entered the golf simulator to swing a ball at a virtual course.

Alone, he tried to figure out how to use it. I watched for five minutes and he stayed alone.  

That’s the best engagement those retailers could come up with?

Customer engagement helps people feel less alone. USA Today definedloneliness as “the feeling that arises when there is a gap between social interactions you want and reality.”

The most common complaint we still see in survey after survey of shopper pet peeves is “No one said a word to me, “Not enough employees to get waited on properly” or disengaged employees who do not want to serve anyone other than their phone.

That’s because we have an army of retail workers who have become mute.

That’s why you need to give your employees training so they get their own voices back. Once they do, they can become trusted advisors to shoppers.

Because online retailers are now beginning to use technology to try to get you to trust them.

The new Amazon Echo Look will now store pictures of you in your wardrobe and make recommendations for you. The app will provide an opinion based on criteria including fit, color, styling, and current fashion trends. All of the information being collected will also be used to help in providing future purchasing suggestions.

That’s pretty close to becoming a trusted advisor. And that’s pretty close to customer engagement.

But it still doesn’t add the magic of serendipity.

And if brick and mortar retailers don’t use their advantage of unexpected purchases, what happens?

They’ll squander their one big advantage and profits will suffer.

So with all these examples, I have to ask you...

What is it going to take you to get serious about your own customer engagement that leads to serendipitous sales?

Why should a shopper put more effort into shopping than you the merchant puts into creating a memorable – and by that I meanexceptional – experience?

They shouldn’t. But you should.

See also, What Do Shoppers Value and Want When They Walk Into Retail Stores?

In Sum

The way forward in retail will be a combination of stores and online to optimize the shopping experience and retain customers.

Scores of retailers are going to close – but it doesn’t have to be you.

You have to up your service game or you’re going to lose the game of retail. Retail sales training is still uncharted territory for many retailers.

They just don’t value putting money into the one physical thing that can most juice their sales - their employees.

Because of poor customer service and engagement in stores and online shopping’s endless aisles of products, shopping has been turned into just choosing things to use. Not new and different, but more of the same.

When the experience is as bland and boring as I had on Michigan Avenue, more and more shoppers will just let an algorithm choose.

And that’s a really sorry state of the future.

Take action. Hunker down. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Do what it takes now to get it done.

If you’re serious to compete in all of this chaos, let this post alert you to the real risks in retail right now. You have to focus on what the real problem is in your stores so you can fix them, rather than trying to treat the side effects.

I have a white paper that can help you, Bricks and Mortar Retailing at Risk in the Digital Age—From Silicon Valley to Main Street.

I call it my Manifesto because it sums up everything I believe is wrong with retail today (with some more figures to back it up), and how it can be fixed.

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News Minute Makeover Series - Episode 2

Branding…we all hear this term frequently and think we know what it means, but how EXACTLY does it apply to you and your bike shop…and why is it important?

As much as we all like to think our customers are loyal to our brand, chances are that many casual shoppers don’t even know the name of your shop.  That’s right…they could be anywhere.

I often run across shop logos that were created by an employee or old buddy who wasn’t really trained to be a designer.  If this is the case, it’s WELL worth your moneyto hire a professional graphic designer to update your logo (shouldn’t be more than several hundred dollars).  Get out of the 80’s and build a strong brand personality that you can be proud of!  Your customers will remember that, and it will pay for itself in no time at all.  A designer can also go further in protecting your brand by creating a Brand Guide that sets up guidelines for the consistent use of your logo, typefaces, and colors for everything relating to your business.

Once you have your brand guide in place, it’s so important to be consistent with your brand colors, logo and presentation in all aspects of your retail environment.  This includes all interior and exterior signs, all sales materials like hang tags and pricing systems, all branded merchandise like shop kits and t-shirts, all marketing materials like business cards, event tents and mailers, and everywhere your business lives on the internet like social media, email blasts and your website.  Get the idea?  Key words: ALL. EVERY. EVERYTHING.  Branding is consistency. 

Slowly but surely, your customers start to catch on and actually remember your name when searching for something they need. 

So step back and ask yourself what kind of an impression you’re making on a new customer entering your store for the first time.   Do you have your logo prominently displayed throughout the store in a clean, professional manner?  

After you have your brand consistently applied across all media, you can look for some more creative ways to get your brand noticed, and it can pay off big-time.  Many shops have huge success hosting fun themed group rides, a bike scavenger hunt, or a community fundraiser– whatever fits your store’s personality.  And that branded water cooler or bike tool kit at the trailhead with your logo on it can help establish a powerful store-customer connection.   Just make sure they know what store you are! 

Click Here for Episode 2: Store Branding

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3 Pro Tips That Show Why Your Retail Space Needs an Effective Signage Package

Why Your Retail Space Needs an Effective Signage Package

The importance of an effective signage package cannot be overstated. According to a survey by Ketchum Research and Analytics, 76 percent of consumers have chosen to enter a store they had never visited before based purely on its signage. Perhaps more importantly, 68 percent of customers admit to having made product purchases after a sign caught their eye.

When considering the effect of signage on your retail space, it is good to remember the ABC's. Effective signage:

  • Attracts new customers
  • Brands your retail space in the minds of customers
  • Creates increased impulse sales

Attracting New Customers

First and foremost, your signage outside and inside your retail space should be designed to draw the eye of passing customers. While it may be difficult to afford a massive marketing campaign to garner customer attention, well-designed signage is both affordable and effective. Unlike other forms of advertising, signage works for you 24/7, piquing customer interest in your products and driving traffic into your store.

Branding Your Retail Space

If your company has a trademark or logo, your signage should contain its image both outside and inside the store. Repeating text and images throughout your store via signage keeps your brand in the minds of your customers. The more consistent your signage is, the better your customers will remember the uniqueness of your retail space. Use your signage to make your brand more visible, more recognizable, and more conspicuous.

Creating Impulse Sales

Studies of retail shopping behaviors indicate that 68 percent of purchases were unplanned during major shopping trips and 54 percent on smaller shopping trips. Clearly, impulse sales account for a large percentage of total sales for a retailer.

Effective signage encourages impulse purchases by drawing the consumer's attention to the areas of your store that you want them to see. An attractive sign is both memorable and enticing. According to the Ketchum study, 68 percent of customers believe that a store's signage is a reliable indicator of the company's products or services. 

What does this mean for retailers? Simply put, your signage establishes your reputation with your customers, at least partially. Customers tend to believe that a company with a poorly designed or unattractive sign is likely to offer an inferior product or unprofessional service.

Location, Location, Location

Effective signage works not only on the outside of the store to bring customers in, but also on the inside of the store as well. In-store signs introduce customers to special products, promote sales, and give customers the information they need to make a purchasing decision on the spot. In-store signage coordinates your brand message throughout the customer browsing experience.

How to Make Your Signage Stand Out

To make the most of your signage, it is important to ensure that it meets the following criteria:

  1. Quality production: The days of hand-written, misspelled signs is definitely over. Modern consumers expect quality signage.
  2. Simple color scheme: While you want your signage to catch the eye, you do not want it to assault the eye.
  3. Easy to read: If customers cannot easily decipher the text and images on your signage, it will lose its effect quickly.
  4. Simplicity of message: Your message should be short and sweet. Longer messages slow down a customer and make impulse shopping less likely.
  5. Proper placement: Your signs should be placed in the areas you want your customers to browse. However, signs should never be placed in such a way that customer traffic is impeded, or merchandise is blocked.

If you follow these general guidelines, your signage will drive traffic to your retail space and promote sales. If you would welcome additional information about how to make your retail space all it can be, please contact us. We will be glad to work with you to promote your store in the best way possible.

3 Reasons Why Using Mannequins in Retail Increases Sales Between 10-35 Percent

3 Reasons Why Using Mannequins in Retail Increases Sales Between 10-35 Percent

Mannequins in Marketing: Major Money-Makers for Merchandisers

In the world of fashion merchandising, the number one rule is: The better it is displayed, the better it will sell.

Nowhere is this more obvious than with the use of mannequins in your retail store. Research indicates that apparel sales increase with the use of mannequins by anywhere from 10 to 35 percent, making mannequins one of the best investments you can make for your store.

But why do mannequins work so well? The answers are many, but consider just a few:

1) Mannequins offer your customers a three-dimensional view.

Many customers may have trouble visualizing how an article of clothing will look in real life if it is simply displayed on a hanger. This is particularly true in the case of clothing for women. For instance, mannequins offer an easily relatable view of the positioning of necklines and hemlines.

2) Mannequins create eye appeal and visual interest.

Because clothing displayed on a mannequin stands out from a rack of similarly fashioned apparel, it triggers an emotional purchase response. Some fashion merchandising experts believe this response occurs in as little as seven seconds. At its best, merchandising aims to evoke such an emotional response. When customers engage on an emotional level, sales increase exponentially.

3) Mannequins promote easy upselling opportunities.

Mannequins make it easy to demonstrate entire outfits rather than simply single items of clothing. Adding accessories like jewelry, belts, shoes, and handbags encourages shoppers to make additional purchases. If you’re in the sportswear world, adding things such as gloves, hats, reflective pieces or water bottles would be a great way to increase your add on sales. Combining multiple store items in this way allows a customer to envision more clearly a completed outfit. Even mannequins included on wall displays can work for this purpose if apparel is layered or accessorized properly.

The Bottom Line

Mannequins are unique in their ability to engage customers. They provide strong visual appeal, and trigger an emotional purchase response. Increasing sales by as much as 35 percent, they are an investment worth every penny.