Merchandising Shortlines

Talk to most landscapers, or even everyday consumers, and they’ll refer to their friendly neighborhood power equipment dealer as the “such and such mower dealer,” or the “such and such chainsaw dealer.” Unfortunately, shortlines such as wheeled blowers, chippers and aerators often take a back seat. One Missouri-based manufacturer is taking steps to hopefully change that.

THE THREE-BAY SYSTEM
• Standard three-bay aisle system can be separated into three separate sections
• Holds six products
• 3’ x 9’ footprint
• Durable electric-stat powder coat finish
• Simple roll-out back
• Quick assembly with pictogram
• Two full-length, color-graphic side panels feature three sales seasons
• Wrap-around front and back-top graphics
• Wheel chocks included
• Three literature racks
• Expanded metal top lets dust and light through
• Front logos define “Clean-Up” space

Billy Goat recently began rolling out its new Merchandiser Program through its nationwide distributor network. Ideal for dealers blessed with ample square footage, the displays are also well-suited for smaller dealerships where show floor space is at a premium.

Branded with the theme, “Clean Up Your World – In All Seasons,” the three-bay, steel-frame displays allow dealers to make use of vertical merchandising space by stacking one product on top of another. Six shortline products—from walk blowers and lawn vacs to aerators and overseeders—can be displayed in a 27-square-foot area, which is smaller than the footprint required to display the average 60” mid-mount zero-turn mower. The display can also be split into three separate sections if the dealer so chooses.

I DIDN'T KNOW YOU SOLD THAT

Billy Goat says there are several benefits to the new display system, not the least of which is increasing sales for certain product categories that tend to be overshadowed by big commercial mowers and the handheld product that typically blankets a dealership.

A second benefit is that the display helps the dealer put forth a coherent selling and merchandising strategy for the entire year. For example, a dealer could merchandise some combination of the following product:
• Spring: aerator, power rake/overseeder, sod cutter
• Summer: brushcutter, sod cutter, blower, vac
• Fall: blower, vac, aerator, loader

Billy Goat research indicated that dealerships often overlook leveraging their shortlines because they tend to be seasonal items that are not merchandised. As a result, dealers indicated that they often carry multiple lines, which takes up too much floor space and often leads to missed sales and margin opportunity, not to mention product carry-over.

“In today’s environment with higher flooring rates, dealers understand the importance of displaying and turning seasonal stock in a smaller, dedicated merchandiser space, along with leveraging purchasing power, co-op funds, distributor pricing and manufacturing ad campaigns,” says Pierre Pereira, vice president of sales and marketing for Billy Goat.

“Shortline sales are hard to predict, because they’re very dependent on the weather,” says Dave Wood of Smitty’s Lawn & Garden in Olathe, KS. “Even when it comes to leaf and debris pickup, the window of opportunity for contractors is getting smaller and smaller. Having the right products in stock and the right time is key for us. This new merchandising system is really going to help in that regard.”

WHAT YOU SEE YOU CAN MANAGE

Selling more product is just one benefit of having a more effective merchandising strategy. Billy Goat says their new display system will also make inventory management easy and help drive cash flow.

“Replenishing seasonally sold items as a partner with one distributor vs. overstocking multiple lines cuts inventory, improves turns, opens floor space for additional sales, and leverages purchasing power and marketing,” Pereira points out. “Since it is visual, dedicated space, products and literature missing from the show floor becomes a non-issue. The display provides a well-branded space with literature so customers can easily educate themselves and find what they need, which drives incremental sales for the store. And, because the majority of the cost is subsidized by the manufacturer and distributor, the cost of the merchandiser itself is a great value for the dealer.”

While spring, summer and fall cleanup remains a dirty, seasonal activity for landscapers and homeowners alike, it doesn’t have to be that way for equipment dealers. So take your shortlines to center stage and begin to do some “cleaning up” of your own—in the way of increased sales and profits.

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