3 Dots Blog
America's Coolest Running Shoe Walls

We're excited and honored to have several shoe walls we've designed featured in the article below, titled "America's Coolest Running Shoe Walls", from Running Insight.


Good Merchandising Will Help You Sell Product

The Impact Good Merchandising Has On Your Sales May Surprise You

Have you ever walked into a hardware store or an auto parts store and stood scratching your head, wondering which direction to go to find that one tiny part or piece you need? Maybe you have found yourself in a retail or sporting goods store, trying to figure out where on earth to find golf balls or spikes & poles to set up a volleyball net for your July 4th bash. We have all probably found ourselves in situations similar to the ones listed above or other equally daunting tasks at one time or another.

What is the one thing in all the above circumstances that could make finding that 'needle in a haystack', so to speak, a little less frustrating? The answer is MERCHANDISING! When you walk into a large store, finding something you need or finding a salesman to help you out are difficult tasks. However, with effective usage of signage throughout an establishment, store navigation and satisfied consumers could be as simple as color coding or placement.

Another effective way to merchandise products in a way that may encourage customer purchases is through proper presentation of apparel, household items, sporting goods, etc. on well-designed, merchandise-friendly racks and fixtures. A well-placed wall fixture or specialized product rack, coupled with colorful, eye-catching signage promoting price points and other pertinent information could be the difference between a buyer and a browser!

With so many retail options and different product types being thrown at us through media representation, whether in commercial form, print ads, or internet sales & promotions, sales establishments need to present their best face through well-thought-out merchandising and advertising techniques and budgets. The impact good merchandising has on your sales will not only surprise you, it will make your customers happier, therefore increasing the likelihood of high sales retention and customer loyalty.


2015 TRE Re-Cap

Another TRE in the books…

We jumped so quickly in to the holidays after this year’s TRE, I didn’t get to post my thoughts on the event. Here’s a quick re-cap…

The Running Event has come to be one of our most important industry events of the year for our business and along the way, we’ve made a whole lot of good friends as well.

It was exciting to unveil the positive results of the first annual Great Store Makeover to the whole industry on day one of the seminar sessions.   We shared some behind the scenes insights about how the transformation actually took place, all while the winning store, Independence Run & Hike, stayed open for business!   During the Q & A session with the store owner and manager after my presentation, Brion After (store owner), shared that much to his pleasant surprise, not only were his customers patient with the construction mess in the store, many of them didn’t even seem to notice as they hopped over piles of sawdust and equipment throughout the store to get to their favorite shoes or apparel in the midst of the chaos!


The Big Reveal video is posted below so you can see for yourself what an impact we had on the store during this transformation.


In addition to making this presentation at the show, I got a chance to hear podcast guru and public speaker, Scott Stratten.   He spoke much about how the single most important thing driving your success in business is your relationships. Period. And, Scott, I have to agree with you on that one.   At the end of the day, if a client doesn’t like you, they’re really not motivated to do business with you.   I look forward to listening to more of Scott’s point of view in his regular podcast ; “Unpodcast”

I also gathered lots of insight from running industry veterans during a roundtable session I participated in about “The Store of the The Future”. This was an open forum discussion where store owners shared ideas of how they are working in their stores to drive retail traffic, keep people in their space longer and getting them to continue coming back.


Of course walking through the trade show and seeing new product is always inspiring, as is catching up with old friends along the way and sampling the endless culinary options in Austin’s restaurant scene right out the front door of the Convention Center.   Our favorite hole in the wall finds this trip included Stubb’s BBQ and Koriente, a virtual goldmine Asian rice bowl establishment that certainly delivered to all the 5 star ratings it had online.

We left Austin feeling exhausted, inspired, invigorated and ready to dive in to the many specialty store remodel leads we had in our notebooks. Right after we take a nap, that is…

Looking forward to doing it all over again in 2016 in the new venue of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.  Hope to see you there!

Silent Salespeople: Effective Retail Signage

Silent Salespeople: Effective Retail Signage


An effective signage package can not only bring customers into your store, but it can tell them where to find what they are looking for, alert them to bargains, and introduce them to new items. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your retail signage.  

1. Outdoor Signage:  The first thing potential customers see is the outside of your retail space.  Keep your store signs clean and maintained to give customers the best first impression of your business.  Their expectations will be based on what they see first.  

2. Department Signage: Large departmental signs placed high above the floor lead customers to the area they are looking for.  Listing a sampling of products in each department helps take your signage one step further to help customers that are seeking particular items.  

3. Directional Signs:  Use these signs to direct customers to the restroom location, and to give directions to the registers.  

4. Service Signs: Tell customers about special services that are offered by your business, such as white glove delivery or special orders.

5. Color and Readability: The most visible colors for text are black, white, and red on backgrounds that are the opposite.  Make sure that letters are large enough for customers to be able to read.  We suggest 1 inch for every 10 feet of viewing distance.

6. Maintenance:  Make sure to care for signage, as tattered, worn, and unclean signs can drive customers away.  Your signs represent your business.  Handwritten signs are mostly useful in instances where there is a special for that day only, as they offer a sense of urgency to shoppers.  

Use these tips to create the best signage package for your business, and you will drive in new customers and draw more attention to your retail space.  



Current Running and Bike Shop Retail Design Trends

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!”

Six Merchandising Tips to Create Maximum Sales Impact

Creating Maximum Sales Impact Through Good Merchandising

While online shopping has made major inroads in the retail industry, brick and mortar stores can still generate impressive sales by utilizing good merchandising techniques. In fact, the impact good merchandising has on your sales cannot be overstated. Why is that the case?

How We Shop

Impulse purchasing accounts for a large percentage of consumer spending. Good merchandising prompts impulse spending in a variety of ways. Experimental psychologist Red Rui Tela confirmed through experiments that 94 percent of processed human information comes from a combination of sight and hearing, with 83 percent coming from visual cues and 11 percent coming from aural cues.

In most cases, a merchandising strategy includes elements that appeal to both of these senses, as well as possibly the sense of touch. Researcher Russell Mueller found that well-arranged displays can increase sales by a surprising 540 percent. Sales signage coupled with rolling racks can increase sales by over 134 percent. These statistics well illustrate the power of good merchandising.

How to Make an Impact

Understanding the impact that merchandising can make is key to creating the kind of sales growth you want for your business. However, an intellectual understanding will do little to help if you do not have a good plan in place. Here are some tips to get you started with a merchandising plan:

1) Analyze your space.

Remember that merchandising is about impact. Consider your retail space carefully before adding fixtures, displays, and signage. Too much clutter in too little space will negatively impact sales. On the other hand, sparse design elements will not engage potential customers. Find the balance by looking at your space as a customer would. Walk the aisles, check for bottleneck areas, and consider the logical flow of your floor plan.

2) Use displays to group similar items.

Mannequins and tabled displays help your customers imagine how items work together. Visually appealing groupings encourage impulse purchasing. Providing a personal vision for your customers will prompt more sales. Remember, the easier it is for your customer to imagine using the products, the more likely that customer is to buy right away.

3) Use racks and bins to suggest price value.

Because many stores use racks and bins to display discount items, customer perception may be that items contained in bins and on racks have reduced prices. Consider using that perception to your advantage by placing regularly priced items in these areas as well.

4) Use special spaces for special promotions.

Tables set up in central store locations are a great way to draw customers to your largest promotions. Using endcaps wisely also makes the most of small store areas for maximum impact. Pay special attention to your window display, as it works for you even before a customer enters your store. Be sure to also include small displays of hot items close to your checkout area, to encourage impulse buying for customers as they wait in line.

5) Change displays regularly.

Keeping a constantly fresh, rotating series of displays throughout your store encourages shoppers to visit often, and promotes the idea that your merchandise is always new and exciting. Never let dust settle on a display.

6) Watch your signage.

For maximum impact, ensure that your signage is informational, as well as entertaining. Catch and hold your customer's attention with consistent branding throughout the store. Include urgent wording in your signs to prompt quick purchase.

When you follow these simple guidelines, you will reap the benefits of impactful merchandising in the form of increased sales. For information about fixtures and more merchandising tips, please contact us. We look forward to working with you to make your store profitable.



Great Trends For Revitalizing Your Retail Bike Shop Design
  • Bike Shop Retail Design Trends

When it comes to remodeling, bike shops around the world are pushing the envelope and bringing great design ideas to retail shop design. If you want your bike shop to look cutting edge and updated, here are 3 major bike shop retail design trends.

  1. Mix of natural with the industrial. When it comes to shop remodeling trends, stores are mixing natural woods with clean lines from concrete floors and brick walls with metal fixtures. With bikes standing out against warm wood tones while blending with industrial metal accents, sellers are able to present the dual nature of bikes as mechanical yet connected to the outdoors. Handsome Cyclesis a good example of this blend of natural colors with an industrial twist.
  1. Feature bikes on walls.  In addition to the necessary racks of bike inventory, the trend is to pull unique bikes out and feature them in a highlighted display on the wall. This is a great way to break up a group of bike racks and also a good way to engage your customer with a clearer presentation of the features on the highlighted bike. The Factory Five Boutiqueexercises this trend in a great way, showcasing the fixed gear frames for visitors on their walls and hanging from the ceilings. Not only does it draw color to the walls, but visitors can get a good look at every part of the frame without moving the bike. And given its position on the wall, the frame looks as light as it is, making riders more susceptible to seeing the advantage of the frame.
  1. Bright and bold colors for visibility. As more and more people want bikes for commuting, bike shops are displaying their wares with a mix of bright and bold accents that bring bikes and accessories to the forefront. Displaying bright products--such as reflective materials, neon-colored clothing, and colorful helmets or handlebars--gives consumers a sense of safety, visibility, and forward-thinking when looking at bikes in shop. Playing with these bold colors can add great interest to your shop.

For more design ideas and inspiration as well as versatile fixtures for displaying your product be sure to check out our website.


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.