We all know that retailers in the fashion world are notoriously meticulous when it comes to visual displays—in fact, high-end boutiques even have regulations on exactly how far apart hangers should be spaced on the rack! While there’s no need to lose sleep over minutiae, bike shops could definitely steal these some best practices from apparel retailers to drive sales and develop a unique visual style for your brand.
An asymmetrical display always draws the eye and keeps the viewer’s attention for longer, whereas symmetry stops eye movement. Science has proven that the brain finds symmetry comforting and pleasant on the eye but equally, an individual’s gaze moves away quickly from symmetry because it is deemed as ‘normal’. In contrast, unbalanced, asymmetrical displays are ‘abnormal’ and thus more interesting on the eye. The same principle applies to store displays—so when arranging your window scene, remember that a three bikes is better than two, and layer on the variation!
Bike shops serve as both a showcase for goods and a workspace for technicians—and while it is understandable that owners are proud of all the excellent options stocked, a bit of minimalism can actually do a lot of good. “High product density results in visual chaos and the shopper is undoubtedly going to be overwhelmed,” explains visual merchandising specialist Jo Varley. So to create a welcoming, relaxed shop environment, limit the number of SKUs on the floor. Instead, displays should highlight the most attractive or most popular bikes in each range. Additional models can be brought out once the customer’s specific needs are determined.
In Soho boutiques, each rack of merchandise is called a “story”—they’ve been carefully curated to fit under one theme so the customer browsing can picture themselves wearing each piece in their daily lives. Likewise, bike shop windows should aim to draw customers in by creating an appealing scene from everyday life. An attractive bike at the center props suggestive of beach, a picnic, or a city commute engages the passerby’s imagination, suggesting that a great bike can make their lives just that much better.
In an ever-competitive dealer environment, how your goods are displayed determines both who comes through the door and how much time they spend there. As Paco Underhill, retail expert and author of Why We Buy put it, "Good visual merchandising is a mix of art, inspiration and science. While great visual can sell lousy product, poor visuals can do nothing for great merchandise."
In short, don’t sell your bikes short--put them in a setting worthy of their greatness!