Current Running and Bike Shop Retail Design Trends
Don’t be fooled by the merchandising layouts of some big-chain department stores—according to current running and bike shop retail design trends, specialty athletic shops might well avoid such models due to their clientele’s very specific needs.
Retail chain stores have a plethora of departments which may contain crossover items—that is, the same item might be displayed in multiple departments depending on the different situations in which that item might be used. This project-based rather than product-based merchandising is why the next time you’re walking in circles in that big discount store searching for superglue, it might help to start thinking in terms of how it’s used rather than what it is—and which is why you might find different brands and types of it not only with the craft supplies, but also with the office supplies and in the hardware department.
The philosophy behind this tactic is obvious—merchandising according to how an item is used rather than what it is could lead to increased sales if a customer is both delayed in the store and reminded of something else they need for their project or activity.
Of course finding things this way takes time, and according to Anne L., an independent contractor who installs fixtures and does weekly apparel merchandising for several of the major players in the sports apparel industry, and who also happens to be an avid cyclist, this sort of merchandising would backfire in a specialty running and bike shop. “When I walk into a bike shop,” she says, “I know exactly what it is I need.”
“Before I even take another step inside, I look for signage, for the area I need. My favorite bike shops ever have been amazingly organized. And it works—with the extra time I save, I can shop. Instead of walking around getting lost and frustrated, in a well-organized bike shop I can find the $8 water bottle I need and then use the extra time to look around and maybe buy that $100 jersey—it’s actually happened! I’ve done that!” she says.
Anne notes that, in her experience, the fundamental areas in a bike shop are what she calls apparel and non-apparel—and within the apparel area there are two subcategories: clothing and shoes/socks. Incidentally, one of her organizational pet peeves is when the men’s and women’s apparel is co-mingled in one area without adequate signage—she says she’s even seen it together on one rack.
“The more clear-cut the layout is, the more I’m likely to buy,” she says, noting that, “Since merchandising is my career, I’m better able to pinpoint how and why I shop, especially when it involves cycling, which is my passion.”
“The people who walk in these shops, cyclists and runners, they’ve done their homework. Some of them are ready to lay down ten grand for a bike,” she says, adding that her own bicycle cost over $8000. “Nobody’s doing anybody any favors by trying to confuse or trick these people into buying more. Cyclists and runners, they’re not here to mess around—they know what they want.” She continues, “The best stores are the ones where I can see all the areas the minute I walk in the door. I walk in, I’m excited, my head turns to the right, I think, ‘Ok, there are the bikes, gotta check that out,’ then I see the signage for women’s apparel and think, ‘Can’t forget that,’ then my head swivels to the left, and I think, ‘There’s the energy wall, wanna be sure to get some gels,’ then, ‘Ok, shoes are back there, wanna see what shoes they have....’ And remember, I haven’t even taken a step yet. I just walked in and haven’t taken a step inside the store, and I’m already shopping, I’m already buying!”